The Impulse to Move

Before Benjamin and I ventured “on the road,” I had the opportunity to participate in one of New World Performance Laboratory’s Performance Ecology Workshops (PEW).  The universe, it seems, is always providing clues to your true ‘self,’ only by opening your awareness do these clues become visible.  The workshop helped reveal my innermost impulse – the impulse to move.

For three days I worked with an open heart and open mind, learning technical names for concepts I had begun to explore through my training with Heads Up. During the PEW, I experienced the true power of this work on both a personal and spiritual level.   My awareness was being fine tuned, my subconscious slowly revealed.

We were taught the power of the flow – the ability to be completely in tune with your impulses.  We were challenged to connect with our personal flow and explore it using the path of least resistance.  There was no thinking involved – simply action.  A flow cannot be turned on or off and, much like the current of a river, will continuously transform.  I found myself playing with different tempos, rhythms, and durations based on my internal ebb and flow as well as the ebb and flow of the others.  The current of one affects the current of all.

While each individual will discover their own process, there are a number of ways to connect with one’s internal flow using the body and voice as a channel. Through deep breathing and meditation an individual is able to listen more closely. Physical work, including yoga and freeform dancing, helps to unveil oneself.  Vocal work, including group chanting and singing, leads to the voice hidden beneath the surface.

As I am only an apprentice, I cannot claim to have mastered the revelation of my innermost impulses.  However, I have slowly begun to recognize those true moments of openness. While bouldering a mountain in Colorado, I realized the similarities between the flow of the subconscious and the movement of a freeform climber. As I ascended, I was in tune with my personal flow.  What, if not taking real life action, such as climbing a mountain, are we being prepared for with actor training?

“A steep route up the west side, a steeper route up the east side.”  It’s easy to analyze your way into inaction.  When bouldering a mountain, there is no time for planning.  One must act in the moment; one must act on impulse.  Analysis is active – as one step is occurring the next three are being worked out.

I was bold. I followed my gut.  I listened to my body. Once the climb began the flow followed; the key was to continue moving.  My movement was precise and strong, even without active thought. As I climbed, my internal tempo and rhythm adjusted to the difficulty of the current moment.  The climb was no more than an acrobatic dance from one stone to the next.

Like a good dancer, slipping does not end a climber’s adventure. Even experienced climbers can slip on a wet rock or misjudge the stability of a handhold.  Being present in the moment, your body will be conscious of the crisis and make the necessary adjustments to avert danger.  The actor who trusts their body – who listens to their flow – will always have the advantage.  These moments of crisis are often the most fun.   The momentary lack of balance allows an individual in tune to his impulses the opportunity to discover something new about himself. During a crisis, a person often performs in a way he never thought possible. A daring jump or improbable sidestep creates trust and stability in one’s body.

You discover “what you are made of” by testing your limits; the trick is to find your flow and follow it.

-TJ Jozsa
Artistic Director


  1. In the words of a young climber who is also a poet: “The mystique of climbing is climbing; you get to the top of a rock glad it’ s over but really wish it could go on forever. The justification of climbing is climbing, like the justification of poetry is writing; you don’t conquer anything except things in yourself… The act of writing justifies poetry. Climbing is the same: recognizing that you are a flow. The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow. It is not a moving up but a continuous flowing; you move up only to keep the flow going. There is no possible reason for climbing except the climbing itself; it is self-communication.”


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