In 2013, Louise started a research/performance project called The NICE Institute (The Non-Institute for Choreographic Enlightenment) – it is a fictional institute, which tries to unpick what ’choreographic enlightenment’ might mean. The NICE Institute creates performance events, installations and text, and is visualised as a piece of choreography.
The NICE Institute is developing a MA Choreospiritual Practice – a research project in the shape and in the name of a Masters course. Louise created this as a structure for herself to exist within as a solo artist. The various activities that form part of the MA, whether performative, research-based or creating devices to connect more widely with other people – are all intended to develop a choreographic practice which integrates alternative healing methods.
The MA is divided into four parts (modules). Each module is shaped – whilst doing it:
> Introducing a Master
The module started with a residency at The Work Room (Glasgow) to develop the overall structure of the MA and to develop NICE Opening Ceremony. Local artists were invited into the studio for conversations around spirituality and enlightenment and how this might relate to performance practice and audience engagement. An official opening of the institute (NICE Opening Ceremony) was presented as a performance at The Arches. The NICE Institute was asked to take a student on placement from the Contemporary Performance Practice course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Louise asked the student (Gabriel Spector) to be her supervisor over this first module. Gabriel took part in the various activities between Sep-Dec 2013. Louise received funding for Professional Development activities through Creative Scotland to travel to Sydney, Australia. Louise took part in Mette Edvardsen’s workshop ‘Doing Things’, and also presented work as part of Critical Path’s symposium SEAM 2013. The funding also supported The NICE Institute to present NICE Growl at the BELLYFLOP Cue Positions Symposium in London.
> Enlightened Practice
Louise studies healing and presents NICE Healing at BUZZCUT Festival, Glasgow. Creative Scotland awards Louise funding to research shamanism through their Professional Development strand. Louise attends workshops with Shaman Hiah Park in Austria and at Lendrick Lodge, Scotland.
> Performing Choreospirituality
(Jan-Jun 2015) The final performance project of the MA formed the making of Holy Smoke. Holy Smoke is Louise’s first large-scale work involving multiple performers. It was co-produced by Tramway and developed in partnership with The Work Room, Beacon Arts Centre and Theaterhaus Berlin Mitte. Again, with the kind support from Creative Scotland.
> NICE Thesis
(Jul 2015 - in progress) NICE Thesis will be a publication covering the activities of The NICE Institute and its MA so far.
> NICE opening ceremony
As part of preparing to be a Master in Choreospiritual Practice, Louise has been training to run a marathon. NICE Opening Ceremony was an installation and durational performance in which a marathon was accomplished – inside The Arches (Glasgow). When the marathon finished there was a short choreographic ceremony to illuminate the official opening of The NICE Institute.
HERE is an edited video of NICE Opening Ceremony
Developed with the support of The Arches and The Work Room.
Created and devised by: Louise Ahl
Performed by: Gabriel Spector, Alexander Horowitz and Louise Ahl
Music by: Alexander Horowitz
> NICE growl
As a representative of The NICE Institute, Louise (a gorilla) presents a 10-minute growl lecture. In complete darkness, the gorilla growls through all the reasons to why The NICE Institute is being set up and why initiatives alike are important for a healthy arts ecology. Performance also includes a mini-drum kit played and destroyed by the gorilla as well as a pre-show day-long interaction through a symposium setting.
Developed for Cue Positions – a symposium by BELLYFLOP Magazine.
> NICE healing
NICE Healing is a customised performance experience for one audience member at a time. The receiver will choose between a ‘Basic Fake Healing Session’ or a ‘Negativity Extraction Ceremony’ and will spend 30 minutes with chakra tuning/crystal healing/Swedish Whisper Spells/Egg White Reading/Chants/Hands-on Healing/Individual Aroma-therapy Blends/Gorilla Guidance/Sage Cleansing – all depending on individual needs.
Developed for BUZZCUT Festival 2014.