Thursday, November 25, 2010

Playing with Constrast

In the dance class with my older girls this week, I expanded on the theme of opposites by introducing them to contrast. In the previous class, we explored opposites in language and literacy, and explored the language in movement. This week we took that a little further. After we did all our warm up exercises, I introduced a movement game. This exercise was originally inspired the drama exercise "Projectiles." I don't know where that game originated, I learned it from a fellow Emerson student while we were teaching together for a youth theatre summer camp many years ago. The structure of the exercise can be found in various drama and movement games. There are also hints of Laban in the version I used in class.

Structured Improvisational Movement:

Prep -I wrote opposite pairs on index cards. The deck included:

soft/hard, open/close, loud/quiet, big/small, hot/cold, heavy/light, on/off 

The Exercise - Each student had a turn to draw a card. As a group, we traveled across the floor (stage cross style), to a marked end point, moving/embodying the first word on the card. When we reached that point, we turned and traveled back to the start moving/embodying the contrasting word. This is a very structured, contained, and low-risk exercise; these kinds of exercises invite a lot of freedom to individuals who may be new to the medium.

My girls had a great time with this exercise. 

We ended class with a performance score. I had three students by this point. I kept two in the performance space and one in the audience, and kept alternating performers. I used one piece of music. In each new duet, they took a moment to whisper to each other, then gave me the music cue. Their improvisational dance score was to show joining/mirroring and contrasting movement. They also needed to show both axial and locomotor movement.

They had a great time and so did I. I left class that night feeling energized and excited to design the final two weeks of the program.

Inspiration: elements

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