Have a question you’d like me to address? Post it here.
I am was planning to choreograph dances from Swan Lake for my ensemble group of dancers ages 8-13. After reading your thoughs I would like to make it more student centered. Is there a way to do this, have the kids involved more even with a clasical ballet?
What a great question! Yes, I think this can be done regardless of genre of dance.
Without knowing if you are seeking a more student centered experience in the crafting of the choreography or the coaching (or both), I offer this:
If it is in the selection of and assembly of movement-
1. Have students “map” the music. Identify where they feel the small/large movement should fit. (Perhaps do the same for technical/gestural movement, nuanced/codified, stationary/locomotor, etc.) and discuss how to build to and recover from these moments.
2. Considering their movement vocabulary, have them provide examples of movement that could be included based on their observations of the above criteria. (Would a jump best represent “big”, or a series of jumps? Does the music seem to evoke a turning quality here or there? What kind of turn should that be- pirouettes in place, piques that travel,….)
3. Show them video samples. Compare/contrast how their decisions to placement and structure of movement relates to the “standard” versions, or the one you create.
4. Or, teach them “their” variation and have them create a “simplified” version for lesser experienced dancers. Where can a turn be a balance, a jump be a suspension, etc.? Perhaps do the same for a more advanced version that they can talk through, even if they do not yet have the skills to perform.
If you are seeking to coach them in a non-traditional way, perhaps focus on dynamics.
1. Identify shapes versus positions. What kinds of lines being presented. Would would you draw if you had to trace the dancer’s silhouettes through the piece. Where are the straight lines, the curves, the arcs, the angles,….
2. Identify quality. Should arms ripple? What kinds of things (other than wings) flap? Ripple? Can they bring in props to demonstrate the flow of movement that mimics wings? Does the ripple occur in the same intensity as it travels down the arm? How might rippled fabric move, and how can it be re-created. Can they visualize their breath following that ripple, and have that breath travel through the body to provide the rippling action?
3. Write, write, write!!! I think the writing process is so important in helping students navigate their thoughts, put words to the observations, identify deeper questions, and more. Perhaps they can respond to the movement, the imagery, the process, the anticipation of performance, etc. Maybe they “map” the quality changes in movement on paper as they listen to the music. Where should they be sharper, more subtle,…where are they human and where are they bird-like.
I hope this helps. I am happy to offer feedback if you want to talk more specifically. Feel free to contact me further here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of follow-up comments via email.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 64 other followers
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.