“Robert told us you can’t hang dance on a wall because it disappears after you do it. We showed Robert our dance diaries and a few photos. We practiced all the dances we’ve learned so far.” Tillman
Monday marked the start of the school’s “Kindness Week”, which meant morning assembly was a bit longer than usual so our session was a bit shorter. Ms. Cummins and I also discussed looking at the “Dance Diaries” that the students have been keeping as part of this project, and to look at the blog, with a view to putting some of the students’ diary reflections into the blog. Briefly I spoke about the unique nature of dance in that it only exists when it’s being danced, it’s not like a painting that you can hang and look at again and again. It disappears as it’s being performed.
To keep things concise, we danced through the warm-up, and straight into the stretch series. But to get a different perspective on space, Ms. Cummins suggested everyone stand in a different place than usual, and then we decided to change our facing as well, so the front of the room was what had been the back, and everyone took a different place in the room relative to that!
We did a quick review of the Fiesta dance. The part that they have to skip to another location and connect with a partner is always worth going over, because in that moment we go from unison to everyone individually finding their own way through a moving “crowd” without bumping into anyone. It’s a group improv on weaving and timing, getting to your new place and partner in just the right time, i.e. 8 counts, do the 8 count hand shake phrase with your partner, and then return to your original place, again weaving as a group…with finesse…in time to resume a unison phrase.
There is also a part that each person makes four quick shapes, and I talked about making the shapes contrast each other. Our eyes and brains are built to recognise contrast, we are attracted to change, we get bored if things stay the same. Red is a great colour, but if everything is red, it’s all the same. Black and red together are dynamic, they contrast each other. In shapes, contrast can be achieved with E.g. a big shape then small, a low shape, then high, a wide shape then narrow. It doesn’t need to be opposite, but making a change in size, facing, or level (or a combination of these) makes for contrast.
We also discussed volume of movement, asking them to improvise at the start of the dance with movement that grew from small to very big. Like turning up the volume on the music, only turning up the volume on their movement.
We then danced the “low level” dance we had started on Friday.
The end of the session we turned to the blog and “Dance Diaries”. We had trouble logging into the draft blogs I had prepared, so we changed tack and asked the students to read some of their diary reflections and Nicola put them into a word document as they read. I was impressed with what they had chosen to highlight, and their cataloguing of the key words I had used so far; contrast, volume, space, time, energy, kinesphere, pivot, profile, to name a few that they had in their dance dictionaries.