Terry Talks: In Conversation with Movement Director Nathan Flower

Movement Director Nathan Flower and Terry Knickerbocker talk about Movement for Actors and how the performance aspect of the curriculum supports the students’ growth.

Terry Knickerbocker: Well I’m Terry Knickerbocker and I’m so excited here to be talking to my
colleague. Why don’t you introduce yourself?

Nate Flower: Hi I’m Nate Flower and I’m head of the movement program here at the Terry
Knickerbocker Studio.

Terry Knickerbocker: So, there are a couple of new initiatives this year, that I’d like to… I’d just
like to talk about, cause they’re really exciting to me at the studio. One is what you did in the,
the movement four class and one are these public sharing that you’ve been doing. So just riff
on those and how they fit into the program, and how you see it even evolving beyond.

Nate Flower: Yeah.

Terry Knickerbocker: Those ideas.

Nate Flower: This summer we have done four performance… Movement installation in the
courtyard’s here at industry city, where I have curated, directed, umm, actors from many
different places that I’ve worked with… some at NYU, some from this studio… and umm, we
are doing hour long performances. Totally improvised, in this courtyards to a public audience.
And, ah, You know the most amazing thing people say when they watch these, they’ll say,
“You know, how much of it is choreographed?” And I’ll say, “well none of it.” And they say’
“well, how do they know what to do? How do they know what to do?” And that’s, they don’t
know it, but they are paying the, the performers and myself a huge compliment because that
means that, that ensemble, that company of actors, share a language, a vocabulary, and a
artistic, kind of kinesthetic artistic sense of how to create spontaneous improvised physical
performance. The level four class is a semester devoted to the ensemble being led to develop
their own physical performance. So these are actors who have never choreographed anything,
they’ve never really done physical performance, and through series of prompts and ways of
sourcing ideas through music, and poetry and text and even dreams, these actors are
collaboratively developing a movement performance. A physical performance.

Terry Knickerbocker: When you say performance, you mean actually shared…with people.

Nate Flower: Absolutely. And if you ask an actor to move abstractly, how much they will also
wanna act while they do it. I mean, you know, they start demonstrating psychology. They start
showing intensity, and these sort of funny faces. You know. And asking that actor to let go of
that, and just use their body, can be a huge challenge. And then it can also be terrifically
illuminating cause they really have to use their bodies, they can’t hide.