Monday, Mar 27th 2023

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2. Artistic Zero

Everything that happens at Le Centre du Silence is done to bring about radical changes in our ways of thinking. Many people think in words, but few think in movement and vision. Learn to think in images as well as words. Every moment is a new moment. We cannot hold onto the thought or image of a moment ago because this is a brand new moment.

Nothing that happens at Le Centre du Silence is accidental. This is true in terms of both what is said and done and the way in which it takes place. A teacher is a reminder. If he speaks harshly, there is a purpose for it. He must hint, but he shouldn't point the way. Otherwise, he stifles the imagination. A true teacher provides a nourishing environment in which the imagination may flourish.

Each of us comes to Le Centre du Silence ready to learn about the integration of words and images. We eat the creative food that is offered according to our hunger.

When people come together they carry with them thoughts, fears and personal histories. A person shouldn't write on paper that already has writing on it. The paper must first be erased. There is much that we must unlearn. On a blank, fresh sheet, a person can write anew.

The body will not often listen to what it is told to do. Comfortable, secure habits keep us from giving time and space to something new. What makes you resist receiving? "I'm used to it," you say. If you are heading for a fall and your ego gets involved in trying to stop you, you will get hurt. If you relax in stead, the body will take care of itself. Sometimes, the ego is out of place. Keep the ego from getting involved when it is not needed.

The body can be occupied with only one thing at a time. Any thought distracts. For example, the thought of panic causes the body to panic. Without that thought, the body would simply obey other commands. We are always afraid of breaking our bones or hurting our egos. By not trusting our bodies, we allow fear to be in us. When there is no thought of fear, there is no fear. When you find out what you are afraid of, fear can be released.

There is a plumb line that passes through the top of the skull, down the spine, through the just-kissing heels, and on down into the center of the earth. In "artistic zero," we stand sensing this imaginary line, breathing normally, eyes focused beyond the horizon. The caravan of thoughts goes by, but we pay no attention to it. In "artistic zero," we do nothing at all. It is a standing meditation and the origin of all movement the place of still, empty listening.

Even when standing still and empty in zero, there is always movement in the body. If you let this movement take your weight in any direction, you will reach a point beyond which you will fall. This is an important place. It is your limit, your edge.

Each and every person is limited in many ways. Only when you know your limits will you know what it means to go beyond them. When you go beyond your limits, you can discover the unlimited. Limitations are doors to the unknown. Learn to know them intimately.

Stand in "artistic zero" and lean until you reach your edge. Now lean further still ... Discover what is beyond the limit ... A single step! That's all! That step stops the fall. The step is the beginning of something new the next movement.

Beyond the limit is the land of the unknown. Don't be afraid of it; fear is just a limit like any other. When you go beyond fear, there is a sudden calm. When you go into the unknown, it disappears because you have filled it. Before taking the next step always find "artistic zero," even if it's only for an instant. That which has an end is subject to gravity. That which has no end is not. The unknown is endless, but there will always be a step, an image, or an idea to stop the fall if we trust "artistic zero."

The way you ask a question determines how you find the answer. Learn to ask the question with your whole body. See with your pelvis. Smell with your eyes. Swallow with your nose. To perceive the ideas that lie in the world outside our minds, we must seek total lucidity.

Life is a study of illusions. Mime seeks to insert some truth into the illusions by reflecting them. When you are in the land of the unknown and an image comes to you, let it occupy you completely. The image must be clear in every detail before the body can reflect it. It is not enough if it is just a feeling. Behind every movement there must be a clarity. Then, expression occurs.

The right time to begin anything is when there is silence. The right time to act, move or speak is when there is silence. We must place ourselves in a receptive state. If we forget, the teacher is there to remind us. The intention is to release fear. We are working for total lucidity and for freedom of the imagination.

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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Le Centre Du Silence
P.O. Box 745
Lafayette, CO 80026

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.