Lead & Follow

Lead & Follow

Goal - Essential question

A first meeting with contemporary dance on the theme of Lead & Follow.

The participants will through this theme discover different principles and variations of contemporary dance individually and in interaction with another body.

Practical setup

Two leaders and preferably two helpers/assistants – one of them is managing the music of the workshop.
Sometimes we provide another option or a variation of the same exercise.
The room has been prepared and on all four walls there is a colored  paper that can be referred to rather than left, right, front, back.
In the estimated duration of the workshop the explanation is included.

Hi & welcome | Estimated time: 4 min

• Gather in a circle introducing the leaders & helpers.
• Quick presentation of the facilities, toilets and choice of clothes.
• Presenting the theme of the workshop, the basic structure of the workshop.
• Good to mention that is ok to go to the toilet at any time, remember to take care and that there is No. right or wrong. This workshop welcomes everyone and we will together make sure we all are able to take part.
• Introduction of the leaders & helpers.

If there are participants with visual impairments in the class, it is a good idea at this point to take a tour through the room of the workshop using touch – a touch tour.

1. Name + movement

The purpose of this exercise is a first attempt to get to know everybody, to know their names verbally and with a movement in a fun and easy way.

In a circle.
No music.
Estimated length: 8 min

Everybody starts with saying their name and inventing their own spontaneous movement.
Once one person presented their choice everybody say that person´s name out loud and does the movement. Then the next person in the circle continues until everybody has presented themselves.

One variation is that for every new person the next person will try to remember all the previous names with help from everybody. The last person will then have all the names to remember. This could be made as a fun game. Allow giving clues and allow for other participants to help. Everybody will then repeat and remember the names together.

If a person with visual impairment is participating, one option can be to make imaginary name for every movement or a sound so the person can use that to create a movement (Eg. Peder with “the explosion flower with two dots”). Another option is to make the person feel the different movements from the other participants moving.

If a person with hearing impairment is participating one option can be to use the exercise Sign name as explained below.

Sign name

The purpose of this exercise is to get to know everybody´s names with a sign name as used in deaf culture time. Just as personal as your name, but easy and accessible for persons with hearing impairment. This creates an easy- to-remember name, everyone doesn´t need to know sign language and it saves time.

Gathered in a circle.
No music.
Estimated length: 15 min

The leader presents the idea of sign name. A personal name created from personal qualities, actions, habits or interests. Help and suggestions might come from everyone but have to be agreed upon from the user. The leader shows his or her sign name with a movement and lipmimicking. Next person in the circle repeats the leaders sign name and then the process of finding a sign name for that person starts. Once agreed upon this continues to the next person until everybody has a sign name.

Second part:
To get the sign name settled you can start with the leader saying his or her sign name and then the next person in the circle repeats the leaders sign name and says his or her the sign name. The next person repeats the sign name of the previous person and says his or her the sign name. This goes on until everybody´s the sign name has been said out loud.

Variation on the second part:
To get the sign names settled after assigning the sign names you can start again with the leader saying his or her name and then the next person in the circle repeats the leaders name and says his or her sign name.
Next person repeats the sign name of the leader and says his or her name.
Next person repeats the sign name of the leader, the sign name of the previous person and says his or her name. Every person repeats all the names from the beginning and add his or hers in the end. This goes on until everybody´s name has been said out loud.

2. Skin, muscles, bones - waking up the body in three depths

The purpose of the exercise is to wake up the different layers of the body from the outside as well as introduce three depths of touch- starting with your skin, moving into muscles and then bones. All this with the breath actively engaged.

Continuing in a circle.
Music of your choice -maybe some nice floating background music.
Estimated length: 4 min

Breath in and breath out. Rub your hands together to create heat. Start with the outer layer of the body – the skin. Use one hand in a swiftly and energetic way waking up the skin on the other hand, working yourself through the arm on all sides, shoulders, back of shoulders, neck, and chest. Remember to use your breath. Change hand over to the other shoulder and the other arm. The two hands are No. w activated. Work from the chest down toward the stomach, side of your body, try to reach the back parts your body. Moving on to pelvis back and front, one leg at a time all the way down to your feet.

Going back up and start with layer two – a slightly deeper grip acknowledging the muscles, feeling the tension and the texture. Work yourself through the body in the same way as above.

Third time you are going for the bones, feel your bones and how the skeleton of your body feels and is constructed.

Finish of by breathing in – stretch your arms up and use the hands starting on your head showering down on the body swiftly through the skin – all the way down. Repeat three the last shower three times.

3. Oiling up your joints

The purpose of this exercise is to warm up the joints individually while using the imagination and move with a certain kind of movement quality. Ending with the whole body moving.

Continuing in a circle.
Music of your choice – maybe something warm and not too peppy.
Estimated length: 4 min

Imagine a kind of liquid. Decide for yourself – it can also change. Maybe it´s a kind of oil or honey – something gooey or at least heavier than water! This gooey liquid will Now be poured into your hand. Feel it. Is it warm? Balance the liquid in your palm – warming up your joints in your hand and fingers. This liquid will now enter through your hands into one of your wrists. Make circles with the wrist – oil up the wrist with a light feeling of action – Not too much force. Travel through the lower arm oil up the elbow, upper arm, spend some time in the shoulder, chest into the other shoulder, upper arm, elbow, lower arm wrist and the joints of the hand and fingers. Then travel halfway back into your chest. Oil up your chest, ribs, stomach, back, lower back, pelvis. The oil enters in of the hip joints down through the thigh, the knee, take care of the knee, lower leg, add in your ankle, foot, all the joints in the feet, toes, under the foot. Swiftly up the leg and down in the other hip joint. Work yourself down the same way to the foot and then swiftly up again.
Now let us focus on the spine. Feel the pelvis again, lower back, stomach, ribs, chest , collarbones and let the liquid float into your neck. All the way up to the top of your spine. Fell the connection between the spine and the head. Move your head, test the joint. Maybe try the oil in your jaw joint.
Your whole body is now oiled up, made of liquid, warm, soft, moving and fluid. How do you feel when your whole body is moving as one liquid thing.

One option is to poor the liquid into one wrist and one ankle at the same time – then the other wrist and the other ankle. Let the liquid continue in to elbows and knees after that into shoulders and hips. And then continue in the chest or pelvis as described above.

Bridging over smoothly to the next part of this exercise:

4. Body parts leading you in space.

The purpose of this exercise is to introduce body parts and the idea of them leading the body through space (Connecting to the theme Lead & follow).

Open the circle slightly bigger and around yourself and open more of the room halfway through the exercise.
Music of your choice – different from the previous one – more active music, maybe some rhythm.
Estimated length: 4 min

Choose one body part and draw a circle with it in space. The leader can suggest body parts but the participants are free to choose themselves. Maybe an elbow? The leader can also ask the participants for suggestions on body parts to start interacting with the group. After some circles the leader may introduce lines as well and a third option can be to let the body part lead the way of the whole body.
Follow the body part with the rest of your body – where does the elbow take you? Where does it travel? If there is time left more spatial tools can be introduced – such as levels of the room (low, middle, high) or tempo/speed (fast, middle, slow) and maybe pause (different lengths of pauses).

5. Your “moves” from the corner

The purpose of this exercise is to break the ice, have fun in a spontaneous, creative and personal way. We use the personal movements that was created in the first exercise. These movements can be transformed, we see each other and the participants can watch their movement become transformed by the rest of the group – all at the same time.

Gather in the corner and opposite diagonal corner.
Music of your choice – fun, energetic, uplifting, peppy.
Estimated length: 8 min

Everybody gathers in one corner.
One volunteer places him or herself in the opposite diagonal corner. That person is asked to show the movement previously done in the first exercise (Name + movement) and say their name out loud.
The whole group will dance/travel and transform that person´s movement in their own way towards the other corner. (high, low, other body parts, your way, the quality) The person standing in the corner can see their own movement being danced and transformed by the whole group.

Then ask for next volunteer to the new opposite corner.
If somebody is shy or if you need to save time there can be two persons showing their movements/saying their name at the same time. The participants in the group can choose to dance both movements or just one of them.

If a person with visual or hearing impairment is participating remember the option you chose for the first exercise. Maybe you chose sounds, descriptive movements or you made the person feel the different movements from the other participants.

Make sure in this case that everybody is teamed up with a partner, in contact with each other or in a kind of proximity that works to be able to feel safe when traveling and avoid collisions. If “the corner person” is a person with visual or hearing impairment this person will be in the middle of the group feeling the different movements on the other participants instead.

Bridging over smoothly to the first instruction of the next exercise:

6. Improvisation

The purpose of this exercise is to get moving in space, acknowledging the group, see each other, make decisions together while connecting to the theme lead & follow.

Let the group spread in the room
Music of your choice.
Estimated length: 5 min

Participants are asked to mingle among each other in the space. Move around each other. No. tice the others movement in the room. Take eye contact with a person and say hello to that person while moving. Keep going and try to meet everyone. Play with directions of your moving; forward, backwards, sideways. No. w try to always pass between two people for as long as it is energized. Then move on to make sound and make No. sound whilst moving. The last instruction could be to stop and start as a group. When somebody stops everyone should stop and when somebody starts everyone should start.

The instruction mingle or mingeling – can be used in between the instructions if you need a neutral way of moving between new instructions.

If a person with visual impairment is taking part the exercise will be done with a helper guiding through the room and the start and stop section will be done with a connection to another body to be able to feel and the “saying hallo part” can be done with the instruction of making a physical connection when saying hallo. Another option for a participant with hearing impairment is to say hallo with a gesture when saying hallo.

7. Moving across the room

The purpose of these exercise is to get moving in space with a sense of direction connecting to the theme of lead & follow. Introducing physical contact and listening to anotherbody.

Gather on one side of the room (No. te the wall color)
Music of your choice.
Estimated length: 8 min

Moving across the room from one side of the wall to the other in different ways.

Body part
Choose one body part and move across the room. The body part is leading.
Do this three times with different body parts.

If there is time left more spatial tools can be introduced – such as levels of the room (low, middle, high) or tempo/speed (fast, middle, slow) and maybe pause (different lengths of pauses).

The Glue
Take out your tube of glue and put on the upper arm from your shoulder to your elbow on your body and glue yourself to anotherperson´s upper arm. Then move across the floor. Next time – choose a different body part and they can be different on the two bodies.

If a person with visual impairment is participating make sure everybody feels comfortable and are watched whilst moving across the room (No. ticing that moving freely across a room individually can be valuable as a feeling of individuality). Some of the exercises can be done in pairs with a connection point between two bodies in the couples for everybody or teamed up in a kind of proximity that works.

8. Sculptures in Paris

The purpose of this exercise is to introduce touch/contact to another body in a fun way that is not necessarily focusing too much on just that.

Divide the group in smaller groups – we suggest four by four.
Music of your choice – maybe a few different ones to influence choices differently.
Eg Jazz, House, Classical….
Estimated length: 10 min

Two creators and two sculptures.
The two selected creators are starting to construct sculptures by manipulating the others. Make a choice if you would like to steer the choices or set the participants free. There might be one goal to achieve (a picture, a situation, a posture) or just the sensation of manipulating anotherbody that is constantly changing its position.
Make sure that the constructors get some perspective on the picture by stepping out and look at it.
Then swop over.

Make the constructors build with other body parts than their hands.

9. The Mirror or The Sensor

We suggest choosing one of the two choices in exercise No. 9 to save time and depending on your group.  The time estimated for the workshop calculated with only one of these exercises. Notice that physical touch is a part of exercise No. 9b – The Sensor.



9a. The Mirror

The purpose of this exercise is to practice the perception of anotherbody and apply it on your own and at the same time practice the listening between the two participants. We will also practice lead and follow.

Two by two
Music of your choice – something calm and surrounding to create focus.
Suggestion: Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt
Estimated length: 8 min

One is leading by moving his or her body – the other one follows. Start slow and keep it slow – the aim is to be together exactly at the same time and experiencing the thick air between each other. Look in the eyes of each other and this is done during complete silence to be able to feel the concentration in the room. Start moving on place and later play with the distance between each other and levels in the room.
Swop leader after a while.
Maybe stop and have a chat in between.
Try again and this time you will not decide a leader. After a while it might be fun to see if any of the two can take leadership at any time.
One observation from couples can be that that they at some periods didn´t know if they were following or leading.

No time for showoff or tricks but small challenges are welcome as we get skilled. Clarify the mirror rule: When somebody is moving towards you – you should move towards that person as well.

9b. The Sensor

The purpose of this exercise is to continue introducing touch/contact to another body on another level of mutual listening and to create a personal journey in couples. We will also practice lead and follow.

Two by two

Music suggestion: Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Estimated length: 8 min

Start by introducing/explaining the sensor of your body– one hand (or any other body part).

Two by two you will connect the sensors –  fingertips together, both start tuning in the sensor/listening with eyes closed. First maybe No. tice just a kind of light pressure – just eNo. ugh to have contact, the heat, the fingers, the skin. There might be tiny movements – follow or lead slightly. No.  rights or wrongs here… A couple´s unique journey… explore gently, try, follow, say yes inside your head. If you face some difficulties – slow down, tune in your sensor and listen again.

This can go on for quite a while –  a good 4-5 min if you feel that the group is up for it.

Manage the ending by giving soft instruction to slow down the speed, slow down even more, even more, even more until you stop. Feel the heat, the pressure, the skin. A journey. Slowly, slowly, slowly disconnect your hands little by little and just stay on your own for a while. Slowly open your eyes.

This exercise can bring quite an elaborate conversation so if you like to control the time you might suggest keeping the experience for yourself until later for sharing amongst us.


10. Lead & follow

The purpose of this exercise is to investigate and practice to manipulate another body by movement (to lead) and to investigate and practice response in your body to given movement directions. All this without other verbal communication if possible.

Two by two
Music of your choice
Estimated length: 10 min

One leader, one follower.
Introducing the wrist again. The wrist is a good choice since it is a joint with many possibilities of directions and actions. The leader offers one of his/her wrists to the follower as a connection point.
The follower place the palm of the hand on the wrist and close the eyes. The leader starts to investigate this connection point by moving slowly in different directions and see how the follower is affected. The follower is just following and responding to what is given. What are the possibilities of this connection point – investigate. Start on place and later move out in the room.

11. Group choreography with different elements from earlier in the class.

The purpose of this exercise is to use several elements from earlier in the class in anothercontext and to see what it becomes when put together. To experience a larger group dancing together as well as watching each other dance.

Two or more groups

Music of your choice
Estimated length: 15 min

• Divide the group in two or three bigger groups with 5-10 dancers in each group.

• The awaiting groups are standing watching/waiting in the middle back part of the space (No. 0 in the map below).

• The first group starting are gathering in the back corner of stage left (No. 1 in the map).
The group starts moving to the next front corner clockwise (No. 2 on the map) by always moving in between two people (from of exercise No. 6).

Once arrived become a sculpture on your own, in a position, while waiting for everybody.
When everybody arrives – play Start and stop (from exercise No. 6) all the way over to the opposite front corner and make a last stop together (No. 3 on the map).
Find a connection two by two with the imaginary glue (from exercise No. 8) and travel to the middle (No. 4 on the map). The couples will glue to each other when they arrive and soon we will have a large clump of glued pairs.

One by one (no set order) moves to the front stage left corner (No. 5 on the map) with a liquid quality (from exercise No. 3). The oily dancers arrive one by one as low as they can and becomes a large puddle of oil.

Use your personal name move/sound to take you back to the middle (No. 6 on the map) one by one, any level (from exercise No. 7) – no set order. The first person arriving is the first part of the new sculpture.
Once everybody arrived they all become a huge sculpture (exercise No. 8).

If there is time the next awaiting group can No. w rebuild the sculpture from the first group. When finished – step out and admire your creation. The building group starts from beginning of this exercise and the others will watch.

If there is No. time to rebuild – use the initial end sculpture from group one instead of rebuilding it.
It could be nice with a large three-dimensional sculpture so the other group waiting at No. 0 can move through, under and around to investigate this sculpture on the way to gather at No. 1.
If a person with visual impairment is participating in this exercise please adjust where it is needed for example with a connection to anotherbody when travelling through space.
(eg in part A when everybody could be in couples and one couple always move in between two couples and also with variations in part B, D and E).

12. Warm down

The purpose is to gather the energy, the focus in the room and among the participants. From focusing out – just a moment for yourself and your body.

In a circle
Music of your choice
Estimated length: 4 min

Gather in a circle or just choose a place in the room. Choose your base, grounded in your feet, in your chair or lying on the floor.
We will take three breaths in and out. For every breathe out we will relax more and more.
Close your eyes.
In, out, in, out, in, out No. w tense all the muscles in your body for five counts… and 5,4,3,2,1 release. Again… and 5,4,3,2,1 release breathe in, out release, breathe in, out release, breathe in, out release.

13. Gathering/reflection/goodbye

The purpose is to create a time and a moment for reflection and if something else needs to be addressed, shared or reflected upon …

In a circle
No. music
Estimated length: 4 min

Gather in a circle and maybe ask the participants to share if they would like with a movement or minimum one word and maximum three words. If participants want to talk to their partners from the Sensor exercise – now is the time.