“Trusting the unknown”: Ellen Cohen on Continuum & Creativity

ElaineContinuum & Creativity Interview Series

Through the practice of Continuum, improvisational dancer Ellen Cohen learned to trust in the unknown. From the Watermark Arts Continuum & Creativity series.

“I had learned in my dance training with Erick Hawkins that moving the way our bodies naturally function is not only safer, but could be beautiful. In Continuum, however, my body was the choreographer as well as the dancer! This intrinsic artistry is what inspires me to this day.” – Ellen Cohen  

“Trusting the unknown,” Ellen Cohen on Continuum & Creativity from Watermark Arts. from Watermark Arts on Vimeo.

Continuum & Creativity interview with Ellen Cohen (video transcript):

Essentially Continuum has taught me, and continues to teach me, to sense what it is my body is wanting to express, how it wants to move. It has also taught me to ride the fluid movement. that’s natural to any body. Riding the movement is feeling it as it’s happening, as a continual movement as opposed to a moment. I guess the image that comes to my mind is it’s like riding a wave, even though I don’t surf. When I see a movie about surfing that’s what it feels like when I’m riding my own movement.

I went to a weekend workshop with Emilie in Boston in 1994 and that was it! I found that what she was doing in the weekend was my favorite part of dance classes, which was the warm up and the warm down. It’s like the whole workshop was warming up and warming down. In other words, getting in touch, feeling my body and doing what my body wanted to do.

I am listening to my body from moment to moment and allowing it to express in a more amplified way that projects – as a dancer who will be performing – whatever it wants to do in the context of the particular dance. Part of what I learned in Continuum is not to be lazy. If it’s going to the right and just say, “ho-hum, I’m going to the right.” [Instead,] just to stay present from moment to moment because things change.

By practicing, staying present from moment to moment in so many Continuum dives, I know that it’s safe, I can trust the process, and that not knowing is not a scary and dangerous thing for me at all. I’m working with the unknown all the time in my dance creation and presentation and also in my bodywork and psychotherapy practice. Trust in the unknown is a that quality that broadcasts.