Bringing Words to Life in the Body

One of the best aspects of the young dancers workshop is the focus the program puts on individual creativity. Yesterday, dancers were given an opportunity to think, talk, write, create and play, in a choreography workshop led by their counselors.

We started out by talking about our choreographic processes. What are some methods you have used in the past to make work, or what were some of the ways you have seen others make work? The dancers noted times that they were given set phrases then asked to abstract them, given words and asked to assemble from them, or find inspiration from writings, drawings or body references. When asked, who had ever created work to be shown on stage, almost all of the dancers raised their hands. We have a lot of creative dancers here!

And what a treat it was to watch them create. Dancers were asked to write on a short prompt, synthesize movement from the verbs they wrote and bring all this information into a group work. Breaking into groups of 5 or 6 they collaborated to make mini-dances, incorporating their favorite themes and ideas from their individual movement. The counselors pushed them to think of the different principles of speed, proximity, timing and space by giving them “new rules” every 5 minutes. These rules pushed the dancers to approach their dance differently.

Writing on the prompt, "I remember..."

Writing on the prompt, “I remember…”

We then took the time to watch each group both individually and next to another group in the space. After each group performed we reflected on three “sparkly moments.” These can be moments that were so strong they are still left lingering behind your eyelids, happenings that surprised you or even just an enjoyable quality. We also reflected on what “cravings” we might have. What did you wish would happen? What feedback could you give to elicit that change?

Dancers find a moment of pause.

Dancers find a moment of pause in their phrase.

The reflections the students offered were succinct but often heady. We talked about mood and quality changes being linked to timing and tempo. We discussed how audience perspective can change the way you see group dynamics. How proximity between dancers changes the meaning of the piece.

Dancers look on as their peers perform.

Watching each other perform.

As a group, we were fasciated by the wide array of movement that cropped up. What interesting dances were created in such a short amount of time. One of the dancers shared how interesting it was to her that we started with just a few verbs but a whole set of new words and meaning bloomed out of those through our bodies.

The dancers will be able to use the tools and methods they learned during this time to create works during the festival. They will then be able to share these works during a student showing at the end of the three weeks. You’ll have to check back with us to see what they create!

-Posted by Caroline Barna. Caroline is BDF’s Social Media Intern for the 2013 summer.

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