Friday, September 12, 2014

Next move should be a mystery

An interview with CiM founder Jasper Dzuki Jelen
Conducted by Blaž Branc 

What place does CiM take in relation to modern dance? What place does it take in relation to psycho-therapeutical disciplines, namely choice theory?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen:
CiM (Choice in motion) applies movement principles which have their roots in martial arts and contemporary dance practices. CiM taps into some of the energizing properties of those practices in such a way that they become available, simple and enjoyable for any person, no matter their age, fitness or skill.
Choice Theory (CT) is the psychological frame work behind 'reality therapy', which supports people in making more effective/satisfying choices in their lives. CT's common approach is defining goals & behavior towards those goals, evaluating attainability and progress and making a plan out of that.
CiM purposes activity and experience first and thinking, analyzing and giving meaning after.
This releases us from the highly energy expensive cycle of 'I don't know what to do, so I have to think/analyse more' and replace it with 'I have been doing and felt/understood what was right, let’s think from here and then move on, exploring further'

Photo: Jasper Dzuki Jelen
Source: personal archive
Is it fair enough to say, that CiM is 'just' a mixture of Choice theory and Contact improvisation?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: No, in its development these existing practices function as reference points for both the physical and psychological processes that take place. Yet, CiM is based on doing and experiencing. Its own development is the same as what it teaches. After every next doing (motion), new understanding arises and next steps follow. Both the practitioner and the practice are in that sense, ever evolving.
But sure, it’s not all new, I have learned a great deal from the founders and practitioners of both methods, since they give high importance to healthy relationships and dealing with situations in the present moment.

What does one gain by engaging with CiM?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: A deeper understanding of how you 1) qualifiy your personal succes, 2) attain and stay in touch with this (contagious) energy in yourself and 3) how motion can support more effective thinking and problem solving.
On a side note, CiM offers a sense of joy and connection; for some this is a relaxing experience and for others an energizing one.

Can you tell us about the early days of CiM? Why have you developed it in the first place? What was the drive to come up with something like that?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: With an initial background in sports and martial arts my understanding of dance has always been pragmatic, down to earth and highly dependent on well tuned teams. I have dedicated myself to the development of work methods that enhance trust, physical agility and dynamics between internal and external awareness.
I realized that touch, a sense of connection and having a space to do whatever, without having to know beforehand what the outcomes would be, were among the highest scoring stimuli for participants and dancers alike. With all the ongoing digitalization in our age, I feel a strong necessity to develop strategies that enhance movement, doing and experiencing in all layers of society. So, in my pedagogic and artistic work I seek 'the simple,' to get to the core actions and thoughts that give birth to our feelings and physical states, thus enabling the space from which the treasured phenomena occurs, such as inspiration and intuition. CI and CT serve in this process as reference points, which help me to relate and articulate my approach in relation to existing methods and common sense.

Has since CiM been developing or have you found a stable release?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: CiM has currently its first stable form, but its essence is to be ever evolving, in motion.

Where within CiM do you sense future development?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: I see CiM like an app that you can integrate into your existing understanding of achieving success, creating healthy relations and doing business. It will improve your energy, activity and thinking, thus strengthening overall performance and well-being.

Currently I am developing a series of movement researches and experiences that challenge my personal paradigm of what CiM is. Over the past years I have worked rather intuitive and it was only last year that the method got the name Choice in Motion. On that point I looked at the work and realized that I have come to solid basics. My gut feeling says that further development lays in hacking into the existing rules that surround these basics and challenge them. The rules served to create clarity and acceptable safety risks during development. In touch with professionals from diverse fields I will see what happens if we physically and mentally move these safety check points. Where that leads is yet a mystery, in the spirit of CiM I am not eager to jump to conclusions, but rather let them reveal themselves.

What is CiM anyway? How would you describe it layman-style?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: It's like riding a bike, if you only think about it, you will never be able do it by yourself. But once you get on the seat, keep the pedals in motion and have someone else for a while to support, you will experience how you can create the situation that is necessary for successful cycling. Do you remember the sensations and excitement you had when you started to learn bicycling? And how you felt when you could do it by yourself? This organic learning produces a sense of achievement, an energy of joy, expanded freedom and seeing new possibilities.

Photo: Choice in motion paradigm (model)
Source: Jasper Dzuki Jelen


CiM stimulates new possibilities, thinking and energy in a similar way. It offers its practitioners situations that establish physical contact with oneself and the surrounding, in such a way that one can not pre-think the next movement. One creates solutions while doing, playing and experiencing. For example: some people lean easily onto another person and trust that they can move together without falling. For others this is a challenge. For some it’s easy to do something that at first seems purposeless, while others struggle. Some people can come up with many solutions, some with none or only a few. It doesn't matter. It’s the engagement with motion and others that generates experiences that get their meaning-fullness only after doing. By physicalizing trust, dependency and change/movement the practitioners get naturally familiar and at ease with situations that require intuition, innovative behavior and firm decision making. The direct contact with ones own doing, leaves each individual also the freedom to decide the level of intensity of their experience. The trainer will offer clear suggestions about this to the group and individuals, but will not apply any external force to push practitioner where they don't want to go yet.

That's what I can say about it. Usually when I’m asked to explain CiM, I simply get up and invite you for some experiencing.

Jasper, you are preparing a workshop in September for InCo movement and Slovenian-Dutch business platform members. We're talking about explorers and business men here. What role could CiM play for them?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: Whether you run a business or look to improve yourself and your relationships to others – a sense of success creates the crucial energy to do so. CiM offers physical, game-like learning experiences that stimulate the energy and awareness of personal success. By bringing it into the present, one develops more effective doing and relating. Thus opening the door to fresh thoughts, perceiving new possibilities and balanced professional/personal well-being. Instead of employing all energy to a far away and very hard to reach image.

To attend CiM workshop, do I have to be a dancer? Or recognize some personal problem that needs treatment?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: No, to both. CiM exactly starts from a point of motion, of not knowing yet. CiM springs the natural (even intuitive) building up of under-standing. In fact too much technical training in dance techniques or fixed ideas of 'what's the problem' might even be an obstacle. The understanding comes from the work that happens in the room, when you are there, doing, in motion.
That motion is based on what we do daily without really taking notice. The choices one makes  directs the energy towards organic and newly found being with solutions. 

Is there anything else you would like to say to the participants before you meet them?
Jasper Dzuki Jelen: The workshop on 18 september 2014 will be an introduction to the overall CiM experience. One will go home with fresh energy, new experiences and perspectives. Yet, a regular training is between 2-5 days and can be more specifically focused on professional or private life, with themes such as decision making, intuition, creativity or self expression.
Further more I'd like to say, from years of experience, that it’s up to the participants themselves to get in motion. I can offer stimulating and influencing information, but can't make anybody do or think something that they don't want. And I am currently also not interested in that discussion. So come prepared for movement, learning, some challenge and fun!

Practical note: Wear clothes that don't restrict your movement to much and without any sharp/metal zippers or buttons. The average t-shirt and training trouser will do perfectly.