I had the opportunity to teach two unarmed stage combat workshops at the KC-ACTF Region 5 conference, just days after we performed the scene from Eurydice. I was placed in a ballroom with a 150 person capacity and I didn’t want to be flooded by many of the hundreds of students who attend the conference each year, so I made sure to limit the number of participants for both of my workshops to 40. The first workshop focused on the principle of escalation in fight choreography. When watching violence onstage, too many times the characters either explode into violence from a calm scene or all the energy from contentious argument is diffused in the first slow, cautious moves of what was supposed to be a slugfest. By organically building moments of increasing aggression onstage, I attempted to show how a scene can organically flow into moments of violence while still being safe for the actors.
The second workshop drew about 14 students. The class built towards creating a few moments of violence on film. I emphasized the role of the defender in responding to an attack by blocking, redirecting, avoiding, and/or bracing. Each student left the class with a short video of themselves performing some unarmed moves and some basic knowledge of how to shoot combat on film.