Individual Movement Vocabulary Research & Development

Individual Movement Vocabulary Research & Development

Goal - Essential question

To give dancers time to research and gain a better understanding of their individual movement vocabulary. For each dancer the goal is to work for themselves to their own level, while challenging themselves.

Opening improvisation (10 minutes)

Lead a gentle opening improvisation, using open instructions. Suggested movements to explore could include focus on breath, stretching, yawning, circling, twisting, and shaking. Encourage dancers to work through different body parts and different speeds.
Outcome: To start to warm up the body and explore individual movement vocabulary.

Open language spine awakening (10 minutes)

Build up a spine awakening sequence using open language. An example of open language could be “3 curves”, but without specifying which body part or direction the curves would be. Each dancer chooses their own interpretation of the instruction, which might involve using different body parts, directions, or levels. They can interpret the instructions differently each time. You might like to accumulate different sections together to make a longer sequence.
Outcome: To think creatively and independently about following instructions instead of following by
watching and copying.

An example of this can be found in the iDance Learning Corner, Digital Material under Spine Awakening with Hannah by Stopgap Dance Company.

Exploration of qualities in relation to Articulation/Detail exercise (15 minutes)

Choose three or four words to explore. These should relate to different qualities that give the opportunity to focus on detailed and precise movement. For example – circle, rotate, lengthen, press, place, ripple, unfold, and transfer. Spend time improvising around each word. As you repeat through the different words, encourage the dancers to be aware of their movement choices. This way they can start to repeat the ones that are particularly useful to them and try to remember and set these moves.
Progressions: Share moves between dancers. Find development of moves.
Outcome: Dancers build up their own individual movement vocabulary.

Articulation sequence (15 minutes)

Give the dancers a structure in which they have to put their individual movement vocabulary they created in the previous task. Give specific timing for the structure, but it is the dancer’s choice how many times/what speed they do their movement within the set timeframe.
For example:
Small presses – 4 counts
Big presses – 4 counts
Rotate open and close – 8 counts
Lengthen x 3 different sizes
Journey out of final lengthen into ripples.
Dancers set up their sequence in a way that the same is repeatable each time.

Outcome: Using individual movement in a set structure.

Melt and Float exploration – Streaming (25 minutes)

Using the structure of “Streaming” to explore and build up a sequence. For Streaming, the group starts at one end of the studio. Then, a few at a time, they dance down the length of the room using the given instruction or stimuli. The next dancers start their journey once the group in front has left enough space for them – this could be once they reach the middle of the room (depending on the size of the room). When the dancers get to the end of the room, they then travel back down the side of the room to join the top of the stream again. Each instruction can be repeated if necessary. If you have dancers with mobility impairments, you might decide to collect all at one end, then travel back with the next instruction to reduce the about of travelling required. Here is a suggested progression to work through:
● Explore the idea of melting and floating: Thinking about different body parts, as well as whole body movement. Think about the journey through the body. Can different body parts melt and float in opposition to each other? Play with using your focus to extend the melt/float. Play with different speeds.
● Explore finding different bases to work from: Plant your base down, and then melt into that base. Then while keeping the base still, explore swaying your weight/centre side to side or forward and back etc. See how far you can push your centre away from its centre point, while keeping your base still firmly planted. Then float up and shift forward in the direction of the stream before repeating. Work through exploring different kinds of bases – they could be symmetrical or asymmetrical, different point of the wheelchair wheels or frame, different points of contact with the floor, including hands or other body parts.
● Find a base, melt into it, then choose a specific body part to pull you up and into a spiral. Then shift forward in the direction of the stream before repeating.
● Transfer weight away from and back into centre, this time allowing your base to move. Find moments of balance with an easy floating quality before shifting forward in the direction of the stream and repeating.
While waiting for the others, be sure to watch their moves to start to understand the way they move and get inspiration for your own moves.
Outcome: Time for the dancers to research their individual movement vocabulary relating to melting and floating with different bases.

You can see examples of this accumulation taught in the iDance Learning Corner, Digital Material under Fold and Float by Laura by Stopgap Dance Company

Melt and float accumulation (10mins)

Accumulate the last three steps into a sequence.
● Plant your base down
● Melt
● Sway your weight, slow then fast
● A sustained float, changing your focus
● Quickly melt, then a body part pulls you into a spiral
● Transfer weight away from centre 3 times, the last time comes into a floating balance.
Outcome: Putting the research into a more formal sequence.

Change game (5 minutes)

Dancers start dancing however they would like. Keep calling out “Change” each time the dancers have to change their movement. This may be changing the size, level, quality, speed, body part, shape. Encourage them to be varied and challenging with their movement choices. Increase the pace at which “change” is called.
Outcome: Building up the pace and encourage quick thinking of movement choices.

Open language phrase (25 minutes)

Use some of the same words that you have been working on during the session to build up an open language phrase where each person has their own interpretation of each word. Challenge the dancers to remember their movement choices, so their phrase is the same each time. You can be specific with counts and challenge them by making it quick.
Progression: Put dancers near each other and look for interaction or moment where they can share moves.
Outcome: Dancers learn to create a challenging phrase that is individual to them.

Cool down (5 minutes)

Repeat the open language spine awakening from the start of the session, but at a slower pace. Find group stretches and awareness of breath.