dlr Primary Arts, 5th Class Scoil Cholmcille, Ballybrack 11th Dance Session, 18th May – Improvisation across the floor, originals and copying

Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland

Following in the structure of previous sessions, we start with a dance warm-up, to “How Deep is Your Love”, including big, deep breaths and full body stretches, two-steps and grapevines, and more.

Since there’s been a week’s break, I decide to revisit some things we did on the very first session, 10 weeks ago.  At that time we had done some improvisations across the floor, each moving in their own way, starting with any sort of walk on the beat, adding skips with their own variations for the arms.

It was remarkable to note the increased engagement with the exercise, more exuberance and experimentation from more of the students.  More confidence amongst each other to “try something” where the premise is not to pre-plan what you will do, but to allow an impulse to move you.

We added copying to the score, so in pairs, one person was the “original” and the other copied them in real time, the idea is for the original to be as free in their choices as they like and for the copyist to follow with as much detail as possible.  This exercise gives affirmation to the original’s movement, introduces the validity of peer-generated movement, and the “copyist” picks up movement that they might not otherwise do themselves.  it also exercises the capacity to see, translate, process and produce a movement.  It’s generally a fun game, and a kind of sharing, so the engagement in it is quite full.  In fact, they asked could we do it next week.

On closing Ms. Keenan and I both took the opportunity to give feedback to the students, to affirm their full response to the improvisation, and how much they had learned, changed, grown in their dance since starting 10 weeks ago.

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