Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
Third day back at school after the (long) Easter break, it seems ages since we were together. Getting going was not so easy…returning with a familiar warm-up exercise called for adding in some new steps in the mix. The slower stretch sequence raised questions about being able to do the splits, which in turn brought us down to floor level. Students recalled the Elephant pose, balancing on two hands with knees on elbows, which I had introduced in an earlier lesson, so we spent a moment revisiting this.
From there we went on to exploring other types of poses at a low level, using various combinations of hands feet, head, elbows, knees…e.g. two hands and one foot only, or two feet and one hand only, one hand one foot, a bit more challenging…
This becomes part of a short dance, all at low level, that involves a short unison phrase, and parts for the students to move in their own way, “animal – like”, at a low level, and then strike their own pose, to hold for 4 beats…and repeat the travel and pose. This is to a piece of film sound-track by Thomas Newman, from “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. After all that energetic moving and posing, the “starfish” pose is welcomed!
So…”Watch Me Nae Nae” poses another opportunity to get everyone up and dancing. It is so popular with all the students. We examined each movement with a bit more eye for detail, and identified a part – the “watch me, watch me” lyric – where everyone would do their own movement. We’ll continue to try and nail the unison bits (with personal styling variations) and get some great moves from each individual.
Since music has been topical, I introduced a piece of classical music, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of the most popular (still). When I played it and asked did anyone know this song, many students responded – Ballet. They know this connection between music and dance. The cool-down we did to this piece starts and ends with some simple arm movements – ports des bras – and it was interesting to note their concentration through this. When asked how they felt about dancing to the classical piece, one student replied, “it felt lighter”.
Speaking of lighter…part way through the class the sky opened with a furious hail shower…and the ground was momentarily bouncing with crystal white balls of ice.