Sunday, April 17, 2011

Halfway Through our After School Program Already!

We're halfway through our ten-week residency at Muscota New School! The classes are practically spilling over the edges of the stage, with 22 students in the first class and 19 in the second. We're happy with the turnout and it's nice to see the returning students taking leadership to help those who are new to dance class this year.

Our time together has been full of discovering and exploring the use of our different body parts to create directionality in space, making diagonals, circles, straight lines, and curves with our pathways, focus, and actions.

The students create movements individually and in groups, working together to try everyone's ideas and put them together in an order that shows a clear beginning, middle, and conclusion. Two weeks ago the children worked in small groups to make "spiderweb" dances, using photographs of spiderwebs to organize the pathways and actions of their dances. In our last class, the children took turns drawing one another's dances and then dancing one another's drawings. We were amazed by how involved the students were with their discussions about their drawings of one another's dances.
We've also been laying a technical foundation in order to keep our bodies safe and to better express our creative ideas. For this we've been working a lot on using our focus (we wear a focus knob in the middle of our foreheads and tune them throughout the class as needed), and on articulate use of the feet (ask your child to show you goodbye toes, or where the barbie position happens during a jump!). We work on isolating different body parts by dancing up high and down low with our elbows, knees, spines, and heads. And it's very important to always move through the room in search of a perfect spot! A perfect spot is a place in the room where you have space to dance without running into any one else's body. It's inspiring to see the children take ownership and initiative---we look forward to more! In the meantime, have a wonderful spring break and we'll see you again soon!

Things to try at home:
*Pick a song you and your child both like, and have your child dance to it while you draw their dance. (Draw the lines and pathways, not their figure.) Switch roles, and have fun!
*Look at an object together and talk about its qualities. Then make a dance together using those qualities. Be creative!

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