The METNs 6th Class Fourth Dance Session – Deforestation Dance

dlr Primary Arts Blog, 4th Dance Class, (5th Session) 30 April 2014
Monkstown Educate Together NS 6th Class
Artists: Robert Connor & Loretta Yurick, Dance Theatre of Ireland

When we walked into the hall we all described what we did in our outside nature experience. After that, we studied a sheet learning that the Rainforests are being cut down at an alarming rate. Approximately 1.5 acres are cut down from the rainforest every second.

The first activity in Robert and Loretta’s Dance Workshop session was a warm-up. It was like your ordinary warm-up except with a slight twist. All the things you would do in a warm-up were put into a dance. This made the warm-up more fun. After the warm-up we were all awake and ready to do some harder stuff.

The next thing we did was a lot of smallish movements that we would string together into a dance. Some of the movements were punches, kicks and fist jabs. This way of making a whole dance was helpful since we didn’t have to remember the whole dance instantly, rather than remember small movements and putting them together.

Then we started making our own dances using improvisation and then putting that at the end of the dance. The last activity with partners. One partner would do a random dance move that he/she thought of on the spot, and the other partner would copy that dance move, and then vice versa . This was called mirror dancing. This was a pretty fun activity because you had to be quick on your feet.

– Conor (METNS student)

Our session in dance on Wednesday was exhausting, but fun. We started off by telling Loretta and Robert about the time we spent by ourselves in peace in nature and about our poems/paragraphs we wrote, but we were all too shy to read them out loud. After knowing some of the people in the room from three to seven years, we wouldn’t exactly be willing to tell them our style of writing, especially not poems.

Once we finished with that we spread out around the room and did our hip-hop warm-up. For a warm-up it’s very fast paced and energetic, but we’ve been doing it for a few sessions so we’re not as sloppy about it as we once were. Afterward we did a slower warm-up, with stretches and some yoga moves-such as downward-facing-dog- included. Though it is a slower warm-up it is a lot more tiring. We had a minute rest after that before we moved onto a tree-chopping based dance.

The dance had 16 beats which were repeated twice to a creepy/thrilling sort of music, and it was very hard to get right as almost every beat had a move included. We started with our backs facing the ‘audience’, and by the time we had finished the first 16 steps we were facing the audience head on, and we repeated the 16 moves again so that our backs were turned by the end of it. We did this twice, then (to the same music) we did random chopping movements to imitate tree-chopping but more chaotic as it was improvised.

Once we had finished with that we moved onto the next project. In this, we had to pair up with someone else and mark each other as either ‘A’ or ‘B’. I paired up with my friend who was ‘A’ and I was ‘B’. Robert then explained to us the difference between copying and reflecting (mirroring). If you were simply copying your partner, you would repeat their moves, e.g.; your partner raises their left hand, you raise your left or right hand. If you had to reflect, when they’d raise their left hand, you’d raise your right, so it’s symmetrical. ‘A’ would start, and ‘B’ would reflect. Then, after four beats, you’d switch. After we had gotten used to this Robert and Loretta changed posing to moving, and instead of switching after four beats you’d switch after eight. I had lots of fun making my partner do weird dances and vice versa. I am enjoying our dance lessons and am excited for the next session.

– Saoirse (METNS student)

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