Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey
Tenth Dance Session, 15 May – Counterbalance
Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
An iconic song by Michael Jackson encourages us to find ways to be strong, be vibrant and virile, even tough, without resorting to violence. “Beat It” is an anthem speaking against gang violence and a great platform to explore strength and interdependence in movement.
The ‘fight scene’, borrowing from the “Beat It” video, provides a context for working in pairs with “counterbalance”, a fundamental principal in contact partnering. Each pair finds ways to “lean in” with solid grips so that both are fully committing their weight into one another, and then to “lean out”, again so that if either of them were to let go, they both would collapse. Trust, timing and cooperation are essential to making it work. Once each pair had found their “in” and “out” we practiced these in an alternating rhythm. When done all together , it creates the image of a rumble, ironically only through working with, not against each other.
As well as the pairs work, I taught some of the “Beat It” moves; strong punches into the air, push-pull of the arms with side-shifting weight, quick turns and a body wave with circling arms. First in half time, to map the neuro-muscular pathways, then at exhilarating full tempo. As an intro, two groups face-off and circle menacingly, the “rumble” erupts, and then they melt into one group and spread out for the chorus dance.
The great thing about these guys is they will have a go with anything…improvising, learning movement, working in pairs or in groups. They just put themselves into it all the way. Engaged and grateful.