Katye Coe and Matthias Sperling in No-How Generator, photos by Camilla Greenwell

Back-and-forthing is a choreographic material that forms a core part of No-How Generator. This material emerged through a process of learning-through-moving and is itself a form that hosts the ongoing process of learning-through-moving within the performance of the choreographic score.

Back-and-forthing takes the form of a rhythmic yet changeable rocking motion, holding in relationship an aerated combination of regularity and mutability. While the rhythmic rocking of weight remains a constant, the specific form of the movement is always evolving and adapting in relation to the perceptual feedback that I and my co-performer Katye Coe each experience from our moving body and the environment around us.

Back-and-forthing defines itself through a shifting back and forth of weight in space, between body parts and/or spatial locations that emerge as ‘what lights up’ in the performer’s kinaesthetic-sensorial perception from moment to moment. Rather than focusing primarily on a regularity defined by the shape of movement, back-and-forthing focuses on the regularity and continuity of the variable pendulum shift of momentum between a back and a forth, a rhythmic behaviour of weight which remains present in space regardless of changes in the shape of the movement. Degrees of change that occur can be smaller or (at defined times) larger, always in response to ‘what lights up’ in the ‘reading’.

Back-and-forthing is further articulated in numerous ways as it unfolds in the choreographic score of No-How Generator, usually over a duration of approximately 30 minutes, forming the first half to two-thirds of the full duration of the work. This includes articulations where the performers move individually and articulations where the performers move together in contact. Throughout these articulations, back-and-forthing sustains the presence of a clear form or process over time, performing the crucial function of shaping an unfolding choreographic event that both performer and audience can perceive and travel together with.

Through the lightly-held looseness of the definition of its edges, back-and-forthing opens up room not only for choreographic form, but also for choreographic thinking to emerge by ’taking a reading’ of what is perceptually present in the operational field of the performance in each passing moment. The flexibility of the form allows it to become a means of noticing, learning and discovering during/as performance, rather than being a mere representation of such processes.

WATCH back-and-forthing in full-length performance documentation of No-How Generator

READ the written choreographic score of No-How Generator

READ MORE in Section 4 of my written thesis on Back-and-forthing: a granular exegesis of a choreographic material