Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey
Second Dance Session, 23 March – Meeting in Space and Rhythm!
Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
This week is starting and ending with dance. For today’s session, we re-visited last week’s lesson with a quick recall of what the students remembered, what stood out for them. Then we did our “scales”, including a general warm-up to Moby “Honey” and a stretch to “Rushing” by the same artist. We also tackled “in and out” rotation of the legs, moving toes, heels, toes (both feet at the same time) from parallel to 2nd position. This wouldn’t sound like a tough one to get, but since humans normally move one leg after the other – as in walking or running – moving both feet at the same time symmetrically opposite, is a new coordination for most. Which brought up another new big word – neuromuscular pathways. Hmmm? Every new learned movement maps new pathways of the nervous system’s connection to our muscles, which is how we are able to move. We learn new co-ordinations slowly to map the right path and add speed once the path is mapped.
But hey lets dance! Next we played a “space game” based on the colours of the boys’ shoes – some students moving as quickly as possible in, around, through the spaces between other students who were standing still. Focus on the open spaces; avoid other movers; be ready for quick changes of direction; precision in your own pathway. As the number of those moving increased, (yellow and pink, not so many, blue, black and white quite a few) the more diligence to open spaces and reflexive changes of direction were required.
This led us to the next part of the “La Fiesta” dance. Skipping for 8 beats, (everyone at once going anywhere in the room) finding a partner and performing a series of hand contact and body movements in rhythm together – shake hands, bump hips, join elbow and skip round – then skip again for 8, find a new partner and perform a “hand jive” of claps, slaps, turns and a jump high 10. Can you get through the room where everyone is also moving without colliding; find the same partner in the same place at the right time? and all pairs do the shake shake, bump bump, clap, slap rhythm in time together? Yes! (with practice)
Then there is listening and silence…sensing rhythm though there isn’t a beat to hear. Can you time a stunning jump in the silence to land in a dynamic shape exactly when the beat first hits? Yes! (with practice)
“La Fiesta” is a dance journey in space, rhythm and texture which these boys are embracing in full measure. See for yourself! >>