March 28, 2018
PREPARING TO DEVELOP YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS
For months, we have been solely focused on preparing for our works-in-progress showing that just took place on March 18th. Consequently, we only have 2 rehearsals – today and April 11th – to determine the program details for our choreographic children’s workshop called “Watch, Do and Make Dance!” Designed in collaboration with the Westchester Children’s Museum, this special event will premiere on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at the museum.
Before discussing program content, the dancers consider their clothing options for the workshop. They ultimately decide that they will wear the clothes they usually use for teaching their dance and Pilates classes.
Jonathan then offers ideas for a verbal introduction to kick off the workshop. Mandy and Lorena think that Jonathan should be the speaker at the event. They agree with Jonathan that his initial remarks should include an explanation of Second Story’s purpose and unique environment and a summary of the elements of the choreographic program.
Jonathan suggests that the workshop begin with a teacher-facilitated warm up with the children. The dancers believe 10 minutes would probably be the longest amount of time they could devote to this segment while retaining the kids’ interest. The team agrees that one dancer will lead the warm up while the other 2 dancers spread out among the children so they can follow the instructor more easily.
To determine the contents of this segment, Jonathan, Mandy and Lorena simultaneously offer ideas and demonstrate their execution. The sequence of exercises they select will touch on nearly every body part, going from head to toe. The warm up will feature movements at different speeds, different height levels and in different directions…weight transfers…balancing on one leg and on tip toes…stepping out wide, then together…marching/running/jumping in place…rudimentary phrases such as grapevines…basic rotations/twists. The dancers practice teaching the warm up movements, keeping the age of their audience in mind.
Mandy suggests that the dancers conclude the warm up with a game segment in which the kids are asked to make a variety of shapes with their bodies, based on Mandy’s prompts. She proposes using cues tied to shapes, different height levels, and character imagery. This way, the children gain some experience with creating material early in the program that will facilitate the generation of choreographic ideas later.
The team agrees with Jonathan’s outline of the rest of the program:
Time to choose the phrases to perform and teach:
Lorena, Mandy and Jonathan then practice “teaching” the phrases to one another and coming up with verbal and physical cues that will help the kids generate new material.
Next, the dancers imagine working with the children to combine all 3 new sections of material. They realize how this process will be a great lesson in learning about choreographic structure/geometry.
Interspersed throughout rehearsal today, the dancers suggest and play on their phones a number of pieces by Phillip Glass, So Percussion, Mickey Hart, and Hang Massive that could be used for the warm up and creation of original work. Lorena volunteers to make the final selections from these options and create a CD for the workshop.
Meanwhile, Sebastian has been largely absorbed in watching videos, racing toy cars around the room, and joining the dancers as they test out Lorena’s aerobically exciting choreography. Nevertheless, Lorena repeatedly transitions between creating and caregiving to attend to a variety of Sebastian’s needs.
The dancers make a lot of progress today. With one more session to practice each element of the program, they will be ready to launch this exciting new choreographic workshop!
Sherri Muroff Kalt, founder of Process Portraits, LLC and author of Portrait of an Artistic Journey: The Creative Process in Real Life Context, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in psychology. She began her career in marketing and sales in New York City with L’Oréal, Monet Jewelers, and Givenchy. READ MORE