Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
Rhythm, texture changes and space comprise essential elements to making, learning and performing dance. A 90’s R&B classic by Run DMC and Jason Nevins, gives the basis for a sequence that exemplifies all three, and includes elements for improvised floor movements and group improvisation or “free-styling”.
I introduced the new choreography phrase to further the ideas of changing texture, in movement. At the start, each student assumes an “attitude” pose facing backwards. A big jump to face front and pulse “free-style” for 12 beats – their own movement showing the beat – then three sharp “punches” straight up into the air. This is followed by four robotic steps in a square, very heavy body texture, angular arms, locking on each step and a sharp pivot quarter turn. Then changing to a loose bounce with some cool loose hand gestures, a sharp point and slice and a side-side hip swing…“It’s Like That, and That’s the Way it Is”.
For the next part I introduced floor-level movement and directed the students to explore ways of supporting their weight using combinations of hands and feet; using 4, 3 and even 2 points of support in different poses/shapes. This included the “Elephant Pose” where the hands become the main point of support. Each student could find their own way to strike a pose using only 2 hands and 1 foot, or one hand and two feet, or one hand, one foot. This floor work is physically tiring, as the people generally aren’t accustomed to bearing weight on their arms. so to finish this part we put the “robot” phrase together with the floor movement. so their improv choice for the floor movement become part of the choreography to the song.
To finish we revisit the dance of Whip Whip Nae Nae.