Body in Motion

Body in Motion

Solo Choreography

Goal - Essential question

The aim of this lesson is to understand the body’s limits, understanding the way bodies in contact with each other react.


Understanding the range of body mobility aiming at the elimination of the fear of body exposure and at greater body confidence.


change of level, pauses, change of speed, the movement starts from…, stretching, relaxing, falling, restarting.

Introduction – warm-up (30 minutes)

At the beginning of each lesson, for the first 30′ our main goal is to mobilize the body. We start the warm-up moving around, starting our movements from our limbs. We ask participants to use the whole range of the movement in every direction with variations in the speed and the quality of the movement. We can ask for a change in the range of the movement, from very wide to very narrow, or to ask for movements with a varying degree of difficulty e.g. to move as if they are going against a strong wind, as if they are in the water, as if they can’t move one or more body parts, in slow motion or fast or both, from all levels, with pauses etc. In these instructions we can include those that concern feelings, asking the participants to imagine situations in which they are scared, happy, angry etc. This process helps us observe how each instruction fuels the imagination and encourage the participants to think what generates any movement.

 If dance classes take place regularly with a frequency of 2 to 3 times a week, during warm-up it would be useful to include strengthening exercises that would improve the good form of the participants. We have observed that a more intensive engagement with dance can contribute to the change of our mobility skills, to the improvement of our good form and to a feeling of completeness and wellbeing. These physical changes are not necessarily linked to whether we approach, through the learning process, an acceptable model of movement but it depends on the changes that occur to our physical skills through a more regular engagement with dance.

 It is important for every participant to understand that even a simple sequence of movements can be performed in various different ways e.g. we can ask them to go from a low level to the medium level, to move very slow, very fast, with variations in speed, with joy, with anger, with indifference, without the help of a body part, or starting the movement from a different part of the body etc.

 Such simple instructions in essence aim at familiarizing the amateur dancer with the process of performing a dance action and at helping them realize that elaborate technical training is not necessary in order to achieve a worthwhile dance result. Moreover, this process helps amateur as well as professional dancers overcome the fear of exposure. The technically trained dancers, professional or amateur, seem less likely to limit themselves in simplistic movements because it is easier for them to overcome (in comparison to the untrained dancers) the fear of exposure, unfolding their kinesiological vocabulary during improvisation. For amateur dancers a kinesiologicaly limited instruction intensifies the fear of exposure because they think that this way some of their (supposed) body and movement imperfections are revealed.

 The aim is for every participant to feel comfortable with their movements on every level and in every way.

When we give instructions about the way each participant will mobilize their body we choose movements that are not familiar to each person’s kinesiological material for example if we give an instruction that the movement starts from the nose or the ear, it is not a movement we come across in our everyday life compared to a movement that starts from the hand or the foot. The same happens also if we add to all this the parameter of changing standing levels. With this switch of levels we achieve the development of our kinesiological material in unfamiliar body situations. We must note that an instruction that might at first appear to restrict the mobility possibilities in theory, by creating obstacles or parameters, in fact contributes to the realization of unfamiliar mobility skills and, in the end, to the expansion of those skills on the whole (both familiar and unfamiliar).

 It is known from our experience so far that for example the users of wheelchairs avoid the lowest level because it entails the gradual removal from the wheelchair. Contact with the floor is not considered a pleasant experience for those unfamiliar with contemporary dance. The floor for many is thought of as an unclean surface the contact with which will get their clothes and body parts dirty. Most times we emphasize that we “clean” the floor in order to combat the intensity of that thought that can be restraining for the production of kinetic material. Moreover, moving on the floor is not something we come across in the daily life of adults, so it is considered an abnormal body movement for an adult and performing it brings body and movement imperfections to the surface.

 Another kind of unfamiliar movement that concerns all participants is moving using mobility aids. This process is unfamiliar not only to the dancers without impairments but also to those with impairments who do not use aids or use a different aid from the ones we offer in class, like canes, wheelchairs, crutches, walkers. The participants are often encouraged to use one or more aids, as they please.

1st Activity | (50 minutes)

For the next 50′, keeping in mind all the above, we ask the participants to create a sequence of movements, anywhere they like, taking into account a series of the above instructions concerning the starting point, the quality, the speed, the supposed emotional state, and the potential imaginary obstacles. This process happens in two stages. During the first 15′ we give the instructions we want and we observe how the kinetic material of each participant develops. Then, we gather in a circle and we discuss the experience of this process, mentioning the easy parts and the difficulties each person came across. This is the best moment to mention our comments on a general or personal level and to suggest ways of dealing with each difficulty or ways of expanding the kinetic material they are producing.

For the next 15′ we repeat this process asking the participants to include the conclusions of this discussion in the kinetic material they are producing.

For the next 10′ we repeat the discussion mentioning how the new elements affected the kinetic material produced.

2nd Activity | (30 minutes)

For the next 30′ we ask the participants to gather in a circle where in turns, one of them will decide to enter in the middle to present their kinetic material, while the rest will try to convey with their bodies, using subtle movements, what they are watching. This process aims at two things 1) to eliminate the dancers’ fear of exposure as they are in the middle and feel everyone’s eyes on them and 2) through this observation, for the audience to interpret and reproduce with their bodies what they see the dancer in the middle do. It has been observed that the dancers who don’t feel confident about the material they have produced avoid entering the middle of the circle and do it only after the educators encourage them. It is important to encourage each and every one separately to take part in this whole process.

Final Discussion (10 minutes)

For the next 10′ the group discusses this day’s lesson. During every discussion we encourage the participants to share their thoughts. Exactly as they should not be afraid of exposing their bodies within the group, they should not be afraid of exposing their thoughts.