Real-time composition

Bradley Teal Ellis and Eryn Rosenthal in 60% OFF ALL CUSTOM FRAMING. Isabel Río, costumes;
Rob Sanchez, producer. (Photo: Natalia López Muñoz)


What is Real-Time Composition? For me, it’s thinking of improvisation as composing in real time, with a rigorous compositional, contextual focus and attention to the artistic and psychological tools that you need to deal with that.  How can I develop and allow a “thing” to take shape in time, space, and movement? How do things change when an audience is present? How can I be aware of my experience and reactions to that and use it?  Real-Time Composition is about how to stay tuned to the composition you’re making with other people, elements, or things, and stay connected to that composition as something larger than you and your experience–how to listen, be aware of and be ready for what’s already going on, and how to canalize and have fun with that.

These workshops are a personal, interdisciplinary distillation that builds on my work and studies with dancemakers from South Africa, Europe, and the US such as Sello Pesa, Rui Nunes, Elena Córdoba, Chris Aiken, Reggie Wilson, Nancy Stark Smith, Kirstie Simson, Ray Chung, and KT Niehoff, among others; also influential have been my playwriting and poetry studies with Marco Antonio de la Parra, Tina Satter and Elizabeth Alexander, and visual arts training with Sarah Flohr, Robert Reed, and JoAnn Marsh, among others. While this creation workshop is grounded in the immediacy of the body, I often reference frameworks and compositional elements from visual arts, theater, and poetry. I consider the body both a subject and canvas for questions often asked in the visual arts, as well as a maker and marker of playwriting and poetic text (“text” understood as written on a page or imprinted in present, physical performance).

Real-time composition is one of the most thrilling things in the world to me. I lead workshops and regular classes with both trained actors, dancers and musicians as well as creators and explorers from other backgrounds. In addition to drawing from my experience in dance, theater, poetry and visual arts, my conceptualization of composition continues to be informed by my study of politics and film, as well.


© Eryn Rosenthal, 2011, 2016. Please cite with link to this page, and please contact me if you are interested in a workshop or seminar.