Obstruction technique

This is how I train the personal dancer

By Palle Granhøj


The method

My method is the starting point of every production. Let me give you some examples of the work with the obstruction technique: In a defined phrase of movements the dancer is held back by another person by holding his/her hand and must at the same time carry out as much of the original phrase as possible. By doing so a new phrase is created which again could be obstructed. And so on.


Making material

In this way the dancer finds the basis of the original movement and will finally reach a very compressed expression, which is exactly that place and that core, where the inner energy of the dance emerges. The obstruction technique supports and encourages the dancer´s attention and the dancer develops a higher degree of presence and authenticity.


This is how I train the personal dancer. I employ the obstruction technique for creating a collective expression from dancers trained widely different as well. By picking off the outer strata (through the reduction) the inner becomes visible - the dancer must represent the restricted, hampered, reduced movement and make it probable to the audience.


To find the core of the dance

The obstruction technique is a way to find the core of the dance. What is dance and what is the dancer`s role in the dance? To obstruct is at the same time to destroy and to reconstruct the movement. It is at the same time disintegrating and constructing and can be called deconstructive dance. The end is the beginning. The dance doesn't end. The dance continues ultimately.


A system of my own

I was introduced to the technique during my work with the choreographer/director Nancy Spanier (Colorado) in the rehearsals of a theatrical performance. She employed the method for her work with the actor. For instance in text rehearsals she trained the actor through exercises which simultaneously exposed him to different physical actions (obstructions). I became interested in the technique and I have used it in my work with the dancer since and in that way developed and constructed my own system of principles. In every performance you will see several examples off the work with the technique shown for the audience.


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