Michael Dias and Movement Theatre
From very early in life, society teaches us to act and behave in certain ways, and to repress impulses and actions that are not deemed “acceptable” based on one’s gender, race, status or other limiting labels we are given. This hinders our day-to-day ability to engage with the world authentically and it dampens our ability to be expressive and tell the wide range of stories that we are asked to tell as performers. We build these protective barriers because somewhere along the way we encounter trauma that teaches us to bury certain impulses. Getting out of our own way is a delicate and personal process, and it is one that I am still working on after more than 25 years of performance. I approach this challenge with patience and sensitivity as I encourage my students to do the same.
The two most important components of theater education are teaching students to attune themselves to the present moment, and to facilitate them gaining the tools to master their participation in the present moment; to make their mark on it. What this looks like in training is to engage in exercises that increase a theater practitioner’s ability to notice and see what’s actually going on in front of them, and in turn, to increase their ability to respond with a full and rich emotional and physical life and increase their range of expression. As a tool to build both of these general skills (awareness and expression), I employ training in neutrality, the Viewpoints, mask work, mime and clowning. I also borrow many exercises from my experiences in Suzuki, martial arts, pilates, body-mind centering, Bartenieff, developmental patterning, Theater of the Oppressed and other sources.