“Today we learned to make music by clapping and stomping. It is called Body Percussion. We all did our own signature dance. Mine was the splits.” Jessica
At the start of the class I introduced “Body Percussion”, in a “call and response” format. Using stomps and clapping, I made a 4 beat rhythm, and the students repeated it after me. I repeated each rhythm 4 times and then changed to another rhythm. It has an amazing unifying effect, as repeating the beat requires listening…it’s very apparent when we are together…or not.
Warm up. We started the day with a warm-up sequence, building up 2-steps, grapevine, tendu’s, high marches and long side stretches and finishing with a moment of improvising an a big pose on the final note of the music. This will become part of each day, an opening “practice” designed to energise and bring each student into their own body, building awareness, melding movement, breathing and music together. We follow this with a series of circling movements, of shoulders, arms, in circles and full-body swings; as well as balances and deep stretches.
Unison / Individual. We review the La Fiesta phrase, and add to it with choreography for the “intro” section at the start of the dance. This involves listening through a pause in the music, and timing an amazing jump from facing back to the front, and landing on the beat at low level. They Improv/freestyle from small to large, as though turning up the volume. The dance includes doing the whole phrase twice, four shapes, 8 beats skipping to another location, meeting your partner, hand shake, bump, skip around in partners, and skip back to your original place. Each student must memorize your new place in space, who you are with, getting there in just the right amount of time, dance together on the beat, and return to original place.
Original / Copy. Signature. Circle improv. Each person moves their own way, in an individual way, much as each person’s signature is very unique to themselves. Dancing for 8 beats, others copy trying to be as accurate as possible. Emphasised original movement, not “off the shelf” i.e that had been learned from internet; e.g. the floss. goes from one person to the next without dropping a beat. Many did movement that went to the floor. Jumps, turns, gestures.
Movement / Stillness. Across the floor. Skipping on the beat, any arms, lots of different arms, changing facing – then added hold a shape for 4 beats.