The starting point of the training is a robust investigation into what it means to be a human being, and more particularly, what it means to be oneself; we are all wonderfully unique and therefore will all bring our own idiosyncracies and experiences to the creative and artistic explorations we will undertake as performers. Self awareness and mindful consciousness of who we are will inform the way we each approach the roles we’ll tackle as actors, but this can only be from the starting point of knowing and embracing who we are as individuals.
The emphasis of the first year’s training is on the student’s personal and creative exploration. Through improvisational acting exercises, text work, and physical training, the student’s sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling in a dramatic context are honed and nurtured. During the year, a number of showings of the work are arranged for the rest of the school.
The 1st year at CISPA is very demanding and the students are challenged to question habitual thinking and encouraged to grow into the most courageous, inventive and liberated version of themselves under the careful and experienced guidance of the teaching staff, and without the pressure of public performances. On a regular basis, each student has the opportunity to discuss their personal and artistic development with the teachers.
We work on opening up and freeing the voice as organic resonance, rather than a beautified singing tool.
We focus on expanding the vocal qualities and registers of each student in order that the singing voice and the content of a given song be rooted in the individual. We explore and interpret the content of different songs, aiming to steer clear of cliché and imitating possible musical idols. Conversely, we strive to implement the same principles of authentic expressivity applying to acting technique and the physical training. Furthermore, we examine the correlation between voice and bodily movement, corresponding with core elements of the Movement Psychology classes.
The acoustics of the voice and speaking are an organic extension of our individual personalities.
We focus on the breathing, posture and bodily support, thereby anchoring the speaking voice in the body. Having become confident with the free flow of the voice from the body, the actor gradually enables him/herself to inhabit a character both in terms of voice qualities and articulation
The Dance classes are taught by choreographer and dancer Henriette Lange. They consist of both Classical Ballet, Contemporary Technique and Improvisation. The aim of the class is to give a strong technical base and body awareness, and to experience the body-mind connection through dance. Henriette Lange has developed her own dance training methods, and specialised them for actors. They’re inspired by various techniques, in particular Horton, Cunningham, Gaga and Classical Ballet. The class has a high focus on the individual, working on weaknesses and strengths, and unlocking the unique movement potential of each students at whatever level he/she is at.
All classes incorporate bar and floor work, exercises through the space, and rehearsing specific choreographies. Later on in the training we work with improvisation, partner exercises, and dramatic storytelling. We always focus on relating to music, including the music of the body.
MOVEMENT PSYCHOLOGY builds on the groundbreaking work of Rudolf Laban and Yat Malmgren, which analyses the correlation between subconscious states and expressive movement. How these subconscious states manifest themselves in expressive movement and, conversely, how bodily movement may awaken and affect subconscious states.
MOVEMENT PSYCHOLOGY – basis runs parallel with MOVEMENT classes, and lays the foundation for MOVEMENT PSYCHOLOGY 1 and 2.
We build a fundamental contact with and consciousness about our own body, develop the bodily and mental presence, and a basic understanding of how our sensory, cogitative, intuitive and emotional participations and states manifest themselves in expressive movement. In addition, we train the ability to reflect upon and articulate these experiences.
Among other aspects, we work with warm–up and –down, breathing, posture, grounding, centering, the axes of the body, and the 4 factors that define all movement: weight, space, time and flow.
A vital part of the CISPA training focuses on adapting the methodic acting work to the film and TV media.
The fundamental training is stage based, but the students go through several courses exploring camera technique and dealing with the specific acting issues associated with this medium. The methodological acting approach equals that of the stage work, with a similar focus on the creative state of mind, but the organic expression needs adapting to e.g. the changing positions of the camera and the all-revealing close-up.
We work with scenes from different films and TV series, and within different genres.
Inspired by the work of Uta Hagen and the American school, the Object Exercisesare designed for the student to explore in an artistic context being private in public, using first the student’s own life creatively to experience organic stage behaviour and action under the actor’s self-imagined ‘given circumstances’.
The work progresses systematically towards the actor’s transformation into other dramatic characters, creating the world of a specific character and exploring his/her essential characteristics. In the 2nd Year, these character scenarios become important tools in working with the characters in specific plays/scenes.
The MOVEMENT classes at CISPA are closely linked to the MOVEMENT PSYCHOLOGY classes (Laban/Malmgren technique). Mainly, we train our core strength, stamina, honing the senses, quality of movement and undergo a systematic training of the the actor’s expressivity within the different spatial dimensions. A training of physical scales, equivalent of the bar work of the ballet dancer, or the piano scales of the pianist.
The THEATRE HISTORY class is both analytical and practical in its approach.
We research and work with all theatre historical periods from Greek Tragedy to Modernism. With historical factuality as the starting point, we constantly put our research into perspectives relating to what it means to us as actors and artists today. In addition, we work with dramatic scenes from all periods and genres, aiming to make all tuition practically applicable and inspiring for the actor.
In the SCENE STUDY class we establish the fundamental components of the dramatic scene: affecting your scene partner and being affected in return.
We work with different examples of written scenes, in which the characters have clear objectives that we practice determining and identifying with. This class lays the foundation in terms of character and script analysis, which we study extensively during the 2nd Year.
Many of the most exciting and successful companies of recent years use devising technique in the process of creating their shows.
Just to name a few: Needcompany, Théâtre de Complicité, Forced Entertainment, The Wooster Group, Frantic Assembly and in Denmark: Cantabile 2 and Mute Comp. Although very different in artistic expression, they have many other aspects in common than the devising-process: they are all ensembles comprised of various nationalities, and they are all renowned for their originality and their cross-disciplinary approach to theatre. At CISPA we capacitate our students to enter into this kind of artistic context.
Devising places the responsibility for the creative process on the ensemble (including a director), as the performers themselves create the original material, out of which the show is moulded. Mainly through improvisations that may be character-based, and may take as their starting point specific themes, unusual spaces, specific props, choreographic components, music and so on. Often, several such elements are combined into a coherent expression.
The aim, from a training point of view, is for the student to practice taking artistic and creative responsibility, rather than passively adapting to a given director’s vision and directions.
The substance of every performance should be the actor’s organic creativity. But this substance needs a specific artistic form. The word, the lines, the structure of a given text and the conscious delivery of that text are examples of specific form. In other words: oratorical skills – or rhetoric – are important tools for the actor.
Like a brilliant politician, priest, solicitor, or dictator seducing their audiences, the actor, through his/her character, attempts to influence and seduce the other characters (and his/her audience). One of the most important means of seduction (though not the only!) is rhetoric.
We start out with speeches written by the students themselves, and practice different rhetorical principles and means. Subsequently, we apply this knowledge to dramatic characters and scenes, especially from classical drama by Shakespeare and Molière.
This is an interactive, practice-based class taught by Rita Sebestyèn, which orientates students among theories and forms of arts and culture, with a special focus on contemporary art and performative practices, and their relation to recent, globalizing and fluid societies.
Reading Art means approaching, investigating, and engaging in a dialogue with works of art and the analytical texts on them. For this purpose we will select texts and art pieces generally ranging from the dawn of modernism to the most recent movements, engage in a dialogue with them, and create our own performative events inspired from them.
The class oscillates between theory and practice, as a group we come to learn and further develop methods of reading, presentation, debate and creation through action-research, Socratic debates and circles, and creation of narratives for performative events.
Emotional Awareness is a course aiming to develop our emotionallity and acquire tools to let it be expressed truthfully and authentically. The class is an invitation to play with body, emotion and mind in order to realize what is flowing freely and what is hidden, and therefore to acquire more authenticity and truthfulness on stage, and in doing so, establish a stronger connection with the audience.
Theatre is a big game, and so games are the main frame of this class. Games that turn into different improvisations that allow the actor to develop a physical, emotional and mental awareness of his different emotions and how they are channeled through movement and action.
The rules of the game: listening, tension, attention, intuition, action and reaction, the need to express, and imagination are some of the pillars that sustain the Emotional Awareness work.
Ritual forms and archetypes work as inspirations for the improvising dynamics. They allow us to move from common concepts to the particularities of our ways of expression and of telling a story.
The class is taught by Eva Pérez, whose research is inspired by an extensive theatre practice and the personal process, and also specifically by the collaboration with the international theatre company Teatro de los Sentidos with whom she keeps developing her research around sensorial language and all the existent bridges between art and anthropology.