ritual and repetition

In memory of Leah Bartal z"l. Thanks for her teaching, warmth, wisdom and inspiration.
Her methods will forever influence my work.

Leah Bartal

This truly inspiring and educational pioneer was at the forefront of Dance Therapy. Leah was a senior dance movement therapist and used movement awareness and creative arts as her form of mentoring. Her sources include Dance, Feldenkrais, T'aiChi Chuan, Chi Kung and BMC: Body - Mind – Centering & Authentic Movement. With 35 years experience in the fields of movement, dance, dance therapy, drama and art, this international leader co-authored two books: “Movement Awareness and Creativity,” and
“The Metaphoric Body.”
Leah drew on the holding form of myths, fairy tales and archetypal figures to facilitate personal change & to enrich creativity. Thus, leading people to have more fulfilled lives through increased confidence and self-expression. Particularly, “The Metaphoric Body” is a conductive guidebook and resource offering suggestions, ideas, exercises and a way of working towards an increased understanding of the transformational potential of the body through movement.


"Opening up to playing in a meaningful way we enter into an exploration of the Biblical & Archetypal World, experiencing he body as our sacred vessel. Our journey will include movement derived from Tai Ch’I Chaun, Feldenkrais, inner visualisation, drawing, writing and group interaction.

Free movement workshop, using the body to improvise and feel free through creative play. Standing, sitting, walking, jumping, the dot, the straight line, the curve, materials to change the shape and character of the body.

We will be moving with our bodies the shapes of our names: finding open, closed, angular or spiral shapes. Remember your childhood names, pet/formal names, and language derived. What is your relationship to your own name? Or the memories of different voices calling you? The roots of your names and its meaning through movement is our quest.

Inspired by the theme of Genesis I 14-19.
The making of the two great lights, the greater to rule the day, the lesser to rule the night.
We will discover opposites in the body- large and small up and down in space, light and shadow in relationship to other people. We will play with straight and curved lines, radiating and receiving light in a symbolic sense. Using inner visualisation we will find a symbolic image for our personal experience; drawing the vision and/or writing about it. We will share in the group before re-entering into everyday life.

For older students.
This workshop is based on the Biblical legend of the Goat that was sent to carry the sins of the community into the wilderness. In it we identify personal traumas and guilt; their recognition, replay, dramatising and allowing the body to ask for what it needs, brings about transformation and healing. Exploring the Mythological Scapegoat Archetype enables us to focus on our own feelings of being victimized - What secrets did we bury in silence? What did we take on that is not ours to bear? How do we carry our own shadow and project it onto others? We aim to create a more integrated Self Image by transforming negative qualities into positive ones, discovering joy, peace and ecstasy.

Wood gives birth to fire, Fire gives birth to earth, Earth gives birth to metal, Metal gives birth to water, Water gives birth to wood.
These Elements are described as the “Cheng” or “Creation” cycle, known in oriental medicine as the “Mother- Son” relationship, according to which:
Wood burns to make Fire whose ashes decompose into the Earth where are born and mined
Metals which smelted become Water (liquids) which nourish trees and plants
Movement introduction focuses on moving on the floor, discovering mobility and flow of different parts of the body: the extremities, the central binds of the skeleton, paying attention to the flow of the breath. The next step suggests to flow as a small brook, a large river, an ocean, a lake in the forest, nourishing trees in the dark, light waters and inviting suggestions of different kinds of water by members of the group. We move in spirals, with one, two or three limbs until we go on our feet, where movement happens with one or two partners and in small groups.

If you would like a workshop run for your group please do not hesitate to get in contact.


Below are some notes from previous projects and the underlying philosophy that fuses movement, ritual and art. Many of the ideas derive from theories around tribalism.



Elliott Tucker has been exploring the following themes:


Film and art are the primal metaphors of reality. As Tarkovsky notes:

‘The idea of infinity cannot be expressed in words or described, but it can be apprehended through art, which makes infinity tangible.’

What we are looking to produce is a spiritual and mystical meditation on Jewish identity, ritual, time, space and history in the main synagogue. This will be done through actors, dancers, projected film/sound and lights.

The feel is an ambient and ethereal vibe. The films screened will be installation type pieces of old Jewish archive, decayed, frayed and worn (similar to the experimental film Decasia if you are familiar or it will have a old effect look with scratches, faults and melted images) with other symbolic dream type footage - decaying fruit and flowers, flashes of light, figures in water, silhoette figures, chanting in Hebrew.

The installation will also include:

Tephillin being wound and unwound.
Close up of text, moving, morphing, blurring as wipes.
Archive of Jewish celebrations – weddings, barmitzvahs, circumcision. People dancing in circles at an event. Close ups of their faces.
Sacred objects forming, moving, changing in time (stop motion animation).
A series of moving images portraying figures bathing under water (a ritual bath), behind glass, under the earth, in darkness, a plant's roots pushing out of cement/pots.

The aim is to achieve a global expression of ritual in art - the use of space and time. How things move, orbit, repeat and regress over time. How art mimics life and the cycles of life. How art resembles this through repetition of archetypes. This is all work and ideas originating from the experimental filmmaker and dancer Maya Deren:

"In the film dance which I have made, the dancer begins a large movement – the lowering of his extended leg – in a forest. This shot is interrupted at the moment when the leg has reached waist-level and is immediately followed by a close up shot of the leg in a continuation of its movement with the location now the interior of a house. The integrity of the time element – the fact that the shots are, in editing, spliced to follow one another without interruption – holds together spatial areas which are not, in reality, so related. Instead of being destructive to a dramatic integrity, the mobility of the camera and the interruption and resumption of action, here creates an integrity as compelling as that of theatre, but of a totally different quality."

The continuity of time has integrated spaces that were not, in reality, in such immediate relationship; time and space are inversely related.

Deren is talking about the power of editing in manipulating either temporal or spatial relationships.

The ultimate effect will be a haunting and thought provoking meditation on Jewishness and a sense of mystical connection…seeing the macro processes of life, religious experience and the movement of a living through space & time.

The installation will have 4 layers representing time and space:

1. Time segments of the installation in accordance with year time
(scaled down ratios ie. one day of the exhibition will equal a lifetime)
2. The representation of the human life cycle on screen.
3. A time and space mise en scene. eg. time lapse, slowdown, movement in around camera.
4. The location and space of the synagogue building.

The entire installation continues in ordered time of the life cycle:

Birth Circumcision Growth Development Partnership Social

Marriage Work Career Maturity Creation Home Family Community

Winding down Retirement Passing on memories Death

This should all occur in 3 units – to represent the 3 daily prayers (combined with the sun rising and setting). Moving to 7 days, then Shabbat…then the weeks, months (moon cycle), years etc.

The work uses similar ideas to Pier Paolo Pasolini in ‘Theorem’ where the central cuts in the edit will be allotted to time ratios and patterns – days, weeks months etc.

Time & Space Mise En Scene

"To refer again to my own experience, I must say that a prodigious amount of work went into editing Mirror. There were some twenty or more variants. I don’t just mean changes in the order of certain shots, but major alterations in the actual structure, in the sequence of the episodes. At moments it looked as if the film could not be edited. The film didn’t hold together, it wouldn’t stand up, it had no unity, no necessary inner connection, no logic. And then one fine day, when we somehow managed to devise one last, desperate rearrangement – there was the film. The material came to life; the parts started to function reciprocally, as if linked by a bloodstream; and as that last, despairing attempt was projected onto the screen, the film was born before our very eyes. For a long time I still couldn’t believe the miracle – the film held together.
Time itself, running through the shots, had met and linked together." Andrei Tarkovsky.

The Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky repeatedly talks about film as ‘sculpting in time.’

Other examples of his work are the use of elliptical motion of an object that loops in and out of shot, which represents the existential space in and around the camera eye. This gives a sense of ‘what else is out there’ but cannot be seen by the eye.

Key words: repetition, cycle, motion, regression, creation, birth, death, growth, decay, evolution, transformation.

The performers can represent concepts within Jewish tradition. Their dance is a dance inside…the text…the mind…the soul, a struggle for meaning, truths born out through tension and the alternative poles of interpretation that construct the basis of argument. Their interconnected movements allow their bodies to become ritualised expressions of sacred archetypes in time and space.


Corsica Studios. October 2006.

Director: Elliott Tucker. Assistant Director: Sky Neal

Assael Romanelli, Candice Smith,
Patricia Adler, Carlos Morales, Judit Somlai