Goal - Essential question
Our workshop’s main objective is to contribute to the creation of an artistic identity by the participants through dance improvisation. More specifically, its aim is to develop the students’ capacity for self-action and free expression, enhance their communication with others and lead them to understand some fundamental conventions that define dance exercises or scenes, while at the same time expanding their kinetic skills.
The lesson’s objective is to enter a process of total concentration (as conscious as possible) with everyday movements-forms of contact like a hug, a kiss, a look and a handshake. We will try to find the motive making our body enter one of these 4 circumstances as well as the mechanics necessary in order to realize them. Eg. a handshake happens with our torso sanding or sitting? How do we turn our look and what is the position of the head?
Group warm up (15 minutes)
We form a standing circle and we close our eyes to concentrate better Imagine that we are holding a Christmas ball full of light in our hands. We examine it and try to feel its light go through our hands and our whole body. We open our eyes (while still holding the imaginary ball) and now we move the ball from one hand to the other, saying out loud a wish while we pass it along. After that we send it to someone opposite of us and they, in turn, pass it on to the next person. This process becomes faster, so that no one is left without a ball for a long time. . Then each of us takes its own ball in their hands, we focus on it for a while and we send it with a controlled, conscious movement to the centre of the circle where we create a large bright star. Each dancer approaches it in his own way making a quiet, internal wish.
Transition (20 minutes)
We walk around freely in 5 speeds, starting from number 1 that is very slow walking and reaching 5 which is fast running. In between there are pauses that are ordered by the educator at random times, as are the alternations between speeds 1 and 5. We continue to walk freely, giving a big hug to the person who leads us our way ahead. We stay hugged for a while and then we leave the hug as calm as we entered it, and keep filling the space with our walk (going in every direction). After we have hugged at least one person, we move on to the next phase which is repeating … [this time aloud] … the wish we made as we approached the circle’s star. Then, we say the name of a city on earth where one of our loved ones is and who we would really like to say hello to, to kiss, to look deep into their eyes, which we do in our minds. This way we are in our imaginary world where we are trying to communicate and travel to whichever country we want. All this happens without interrupting the movement. When we meet with the person we want…(always in our mind)… we say out loud their name and we stay paused in a still position depending on the meeting we are having (e.g. hugging, kissing, looking at each other, shaking hands) closing our eyes.
1st Activity | in pairs (15 minutes)
We divide in pairs and go anywhere in the room we feel more comfortable. One of the two dancers takes the role of the imaginary person we worked with in the previous exercise. So, one person becomes active and the other becomes the recipient, placing great importance to the movement that will emerge, in order to have the desired result (a look, a handshake, a hug, a kiss). We have to state the intention (of each one of these 4 circumstances) from the beginning of the flowing movement and it has to be completed by the end of it. Simply put, what we are aiming at is a consciousness of what it means and how our bodyies can support each of these 4 stages of a meeting (look, handshake, hug, kiss).
We repeat the same exercise with a switch of roles.
2nd Activity | in groups of three (or four) (20 minutes)
We divide in groups of three or four in which one person offers their body as a geographical map on which the other 2 or 3 will realize their meetings. The person who will take on the role of the map (that is of the city in which the other members of the group will meet) must take a stable position-posture so that the other 2 or 3 can put their weight on them, slide, roll. The people who will move around and on the body-map will go through the stages hug-kiss-look-handshake in their own pace and way, making pauses to ensure the safety of the position and the ability to breathe normally every time. The reference point remains always the central body-map. All the members of the group go through this position. We give the instruction (in case the body-map is near the sea) for this to be taken into account and for the others to find ways to use it.
Discussion (10 minutes)
We ask the students to tell us what they felt as they were holding, in the beginning of the lesson, this imaginary ball of light. How they felt with the hugging, if they really missed a loved one, if they wanted to stay in the embrace for longer or to leave it sooner, if the position of the map posed a difficulty to them and if they felt the sea crushing them, refreshing them.
3rd Activity | improvisation in 4 groups (20 minutes)
We divide in 4 groups (the educator divides the groups so as to have the right balance). The groups are given 5 minutes in order to prepare something relevant with the things that have been worked on until now, that is the wishes, the imaginary balls, the looking, the handshake, the hug and the kiss and the maps so that they can present it to us.
Each group takes its space to work and after that the space empties and each time one group enters at a time. They make their presentation and as soon as they are done the next group enters (without having arranged the order and without any pause). After all 4 groups have made their presentation the educator makes a few comments on what worked and what didn’t in each group’s improvisation.
4th Activity | improvisation in a group(15 minutes)
During group improvisation we give students the instruction to use material from today’s lesson as well as from all the previous lessons so far and of course we emphasize that there is no right and wrong and they are free to experiment and enjoy the process.
Warm down (5 minutes)
We form a closed sitting circle and we look at everyone staying for 2” on each person. Then we place our right hand on the back of the person sitting next to us offering a small gift-touch-massage listening to their needs. From where we are we go towards the middle of the circle where we create a big hug in the shape of a tree. We stay put [keeping the image we are trying to imagine] we inhale deeply, we exhale…this is repeated 5 times and…with a strong exhale we move away from the tree.
Common form of lessons
Since we are two educators at this particular class we wanted to have a common form as a base for all lessons, so as for the workshop to be consistent. For this reason, every lesson will be permeated or governed by one word, one theme or one object. Also, it will include at least one exercise that works on an individual level, one exercise in pairs or in small groups, and one for large groups or for all the participants as a whole. Before each lesson we will discuss what one of us has planned, we will suggest changes or alternatives and we will make sure there is continuity between this lesson and the one before it. During the lesson the second educator will participate either as a student or will undertake an assisting role intervening when needed.