Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey
Eleventh Dance Session, 18 May – DTI Studio Session
Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
Dance requires space. To get a bigger sense of moving in space we met for our penultimate session at the DTI Centre for Dance, a purpose-built dance studio.
We continued to build on the “Beat It” choreography, with an additional sequence devised by each individual. Using a process of “accumulation” each person created a phrase based on the strong energy of “punch” – fast, sharp, direct – using different parts of the body, and including 1) a level change, 2) a jump and 3) a turn. We did this together by all starting with a first move, repeating it several times to memorize it, then going on to the second. Then first, second ,third. Once those three were set we added another, and another; setting the sequence before adding the next, until each person had 8 big staccato movement gestures.
These were added into the choreography, so the whole sequence went something like this: two gangs face off, taunting and circling menacingly, then they engage in the rumble with the counterbalance pairs, they then formed one group and spread out in the space, performed their own big “punch gestures”, followed by a couple repetitions of the MJ choreography. The finalé was their own improvising back to centre for a final group freeze/shape.
They practiced the whole short dance several times; each time perfecting the various elements of rhythm, drama, and spatial tension of the start, the counterbalanced strength of the pairs work, spacing changes from small groups moving in close pairs, to a large group then spreading out to individual space, and finally to coalesce as a single group. They were especially enthusiastic as they engaged with the sense of being able to put their “aggressive” energy into a form that was ultimately a play with movement.
Before finishing we had a discussion about the final session…They had been asking about making a performance. Did they want to and for whom…and what would they show? It wasn’t required of them, but they seemed keen to share their dancing with the rest of the school. These guys like to dance and want to show it. So a plan was made to use the school yard and invite the other classes. And to dance the three pieces they had worked on…Fiesta, It’s Like That, and Beat It.
Finally we took a group shot before going, thanks to Ms. O’Carroll, who has been involved in every session, helping with photo captures, organization and enthusiastic support.