The METNs 6th Class Sixth Dance Session – Rain, Passage and Animal Totems

dlr Primary Arts Blog, 6th Dance Class, (8th Session) 23rd  May 2014
Monkstown Educate Together NS 6th Class
Artists: Robert Connor & Loretta Yurick, Dance Theatre of Ireland

Today we started with something new for the students, a dance adaptation of the famous musical song, “Singing in the Rain” – an apt day on which to do it with stormy clouds and drizzle coming down.  Now on their sixth dance session, we noted how much more adept the students are at picking up the movement and rhythms.  Their sense of sequencing and spacing has developed over the time and we were able to work with more detail of line and direction and focus.

We moved on to revisiting a sequence related to the students’ transition, of finishing Primary school and moving toward Secondary school, evoking the sense of “passage”.  The students formed two narrow “corridors”, standing shoulder to shoulder in parallel lines facing each other.  A student in each corridor walked forward in between the walls, and the students making up the walls peeled off from the back and ran to the front of the corridor, so that it sequentially moved forward in space, until the two corridors “delivered” the two walkers to the front of the room.  In this sequence the movement itself is quite simple, walking or running.  But the emphasis is on working together as a group, on spacing and on timing.

We also referred to ancient traditions of passage and described the importance of animal totems in these traditions.  Spreading out in one long line, the students were then asked to consider and choose an animal with which they feel a resonance.  We then worked with the idea of creating a pose or shape of their chosen animal.  In contrast to the “passage” sequence, which is formal and communal, this is a moment to show individuality in creating a striking pose.

Finally we again revised the “crab dance”, a dance that takes place close to the floor. Today we focused particularly on ways to travel along the floor, rolling and sliding.  Then in dancing the phrase, students explore these and other ways of travelling, moving in different ways at a low level and striking individual poses.

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