BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance

Blog: Week 3 at the Ross, with Andrea!

July 31, 2018


It was a creative week with Mila. We found fun ways to make dances and play games that included the body interacting with props, drawing, and video.

On Monday we made a Hip-Hop dance with some Breakdancing floor work, such as the salsa, kick-outs, and then a hinge-up to standing. At the end of the dance, I followed Mila on the ‘party train’ where I had to follow her in space and with my arm movements. Then we did 9 poses, again I was following her lead. In one of her poses, she jumped into center splits – I tried my best to follow…


For our creative exercise, we planned and shot scenes for a music video we made to Katy Perry’s song ‘Roar’ (Mila’s favourite song). We wrote our different scenes (ie/ Mila wanted to shoot a ‘jewel’ scene and make something that would look like ‘the eye of the tiger’). We included animal movements, and a jungle scene using the plants in the studio.

On Tuesday we started out with the Flash Mob to ‘Let Me Clear My Throat’ by DJ Kool. I made it slightly more complex than the previous week, but everyone did a great job picking up the details. I had some help from Nygel, Stefano and Rachel as backup dancers which was a great help.


In the studio, Mila and I worked on a ballet piece from Swan Lake (the dance of the petit cygnets). We did a full ballet barre and stretches, and then used the techniques we had just practiced in our dance, such as relevés in first position, cou de pieds devant, tendus and chassés. We also worked on chaîné turns, and spotting while turning, keeping our eyes on a pink pylon as we moved. It helped to have a bright target.


Lastly, we finished editing the Roar music video. Mila helped me put the scenes in order, and make selections to fit the song.


On Wednesday we worked on contemporary dance, starting out with a fun game called Switch (from Ruth Zaporah’s Action Theatre) where you do a repeating movement at either a low, mid, or high level. When one of us calls ‘SWITCH’ you change your repeating movement and pick a different level. It’s a great way to open up the improvisation channels and create surprising options.

Our contemporary dance was to a song in a ¾ time signature, so we clapped it out and felt the difference. We learned bounces and high lifts, relating to ocean waves and gathering the sunshine. The dance continued in the ocean theme with mermaid sections, a fishy bourré traveling step, and ended with a slow-motion seaweed garden.

For our creative exercise, we played a game with the pylons where we had to stay on the floor, not use our hands, and push the pylon across the room. It made for lots of weird rolls, slithering and new inventions.

We then got some craft paper and took inspiration from dancing and drawing. With the paper rolled out across the room, we each took a section, and several markers, and danced along the paper leaving a trace as we went along. This was a fun way to talk about, and make, dance notation.
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On Thursday we reviewed our dances for the Friday showing. I thought it was very brave of Mila to want to do a show as she was the only student in the class that week.

We warmed up with a game of connecting eye focus to movements, where you move a body part, then look at it with your gaze. Then reverse, starting with moving your gaze, then playing a body part in line with your gaze. It’s a great improv warm-up that challenges focal co-ordination.

Then we went down to the basketball gym to teach the players a breakdancing routine. Mila commented that she realized how hard dancing really is, which she noticed as we were teaching the movements to people for their first time. What came easily to Mila was difficult for the basketball players.

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 9.08.54 PMIn our creative exercise, we continued with our dance notation/drawings on paper. We tried to follow our drawings like reading a book, and we translated the images into a dance. It was very fun to try to re-interpret our own notations.

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On Friday we started the day with a showing for Mila’s parents and the gymnastics class. Here’s the video of our presentation:


Afterward, the gymnastics class requested that we teach them our hip-hop dance, so we went over there and played and danced together. (Andjela took a video of that). They taught us a few things too, like back walkovers, and a game called ships and sailors, and then we played freeze dance altogether.

We finished our day with some games using dice and pylons, dancing between the pylons cased on the number we rolled.

I was delighted to have worked with Mila this week. She was very inventive and willing to try lots of new things, including new ways to use dance to create and communicate.