BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance

Blog: Week 5 at the Ross, with Jess!

July 31, 2018

What an inspiring week teaching at Ross with BodyStories! We were delighted to have 7 campers join our dance major. Madison, 10-year-old Maya, 7-year-old Maya, Soraya, Sienna, Summer, and Chenoa. Monday’s class began with a dancing name game to get our bodies moving and our names memorized. Then, we wrote down all of our hopes for the week: what things we wanted to accomplish and types of dance we hoped to do. Some examples include “ballet” from 7-year-old Maya, Ella wrote “music video”, and Summer wrote “fun”.

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We then jumped into our upbeat cardio hip-hop style warm up. The dancers started off a little shy, but the more we warmed up, the more their personalities shined through. The campers were especially excited when we did across the floor as they wanted to have a back sliding competition on the floor. A few things we learned are tempo, grapevines, lunges, the importance of breathing, changes of facing, hip-hop’s hard-hitting arms, and a little bit of attitude. 😉 I taught them choreography to the song: “It Feels Like Home” by Sigala, Fuse ODG & Sean Paul. They did a great job catching on to the movement and were great listeners.

We then moved on to creating our own dances. The girls were really excited about making their own solos and 3 of the girls a trio. Most worked independently on their creations, coming up with their own moves, formations, picking songs, and playing with props such as chairs.

The younger ones needed a bit more guidance on what movements to include, and they were creative in their concept and performed spectacularly. The trio and solos performed for one another and encouraged each other. I was very impressed with each movers’ great imaginations, hard work ethic, and passionate performances.

We had so much fun again on Tuesday! We started with teaching the whole camp our hip hop dance in our Tuesday flash mob. All of my 7 dancers were fearless and joined me up front and center to help me. It was fun getting everyone to move their bodies early in the morning!

In the dance studio, we began by asking the question, “What is contemporary dance?” We discovered that it is a fusion of ballet, hip hop, jazz, and more. Dancer Sienna said, “it’s more fluid than hip hop”. We then played the game “freeze and dance” where dancer 1, for example, is in the center and improvises and dancer 2 yells “freeze” and they embody the dancer 1’s frozen pose and improvise from there. We then played with space – we walked around, noticed, and vocalized what was in the studio. A fan, buScreen Shot 2018-07-31 at 7.07.05 PMshes, exit signs, a piano, a spec on the floor, stickers, lights, etc. We discovered large low spaces such as the floor and small high spaces such as the exit sign. We then jumped right into warming up our body toe to head. We played with tendus, plies, curves of the spine, arm circles or “airplanes” as I like to call them. We “flew” to London, Carribean, Disney World, Harry Potter World, and more. We pranced, jumped and chaseed across the floor where we ended our warm up in a requested back sliding competition. 🙂 We paused for snack time and chatted about our favorite ice cream and candy stores and learned a bit about food from our dancer Maya who hopes to be a “chef who changes how the world sees food!” Back in the studio we continued talking about our dreams, Chenoa wants to be a “doctor and dancer,” and Soraya wants to be a “singer and dancer.” Our dreams were incorporated in our contemporary choreography during the lyrics “I was dreaming of bigger things” in our song “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. They worked really hard getting all of this choreography down. From gestures to passee chasees to clapping there was a lot to learn and they did a fantastic job retaining all the material.

We then reviewed our Hip Hop dance and solos and trio. We remembered, refined, added to and expanded our creations.

We played with dancing to the music in 7-year-old Maya’s solo, with space in Chenoa’s solo, with organizing formations in the trio, and 10-year-old Maya created even more material for her chair solo. Overall we learned about space, observing our surroundings, the contrast between fluid and bound movement, listening and dancing to the music, and our dreams. What a fun day!

Wednesday was ballet day! We began with a little history of ballet and where it comes from, learning briefly about France, Catherine de Medici, and Louis the 14th…how ballets were an escape from reality Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 7.11.10 PMwhere people would go to watch something magical. Our magic began with a little group game that allowed us to use our imaginations, creating “machines” with each of our bodies. Each dancer was one part of a car for example. It allowed us to visualize how we can create images and formations with our bodies. We then went to the barre and learned about plies, tendus, degagés, rond de jambes, and grande battements. We saute in first and second and learned how to spot in chainés. The dancers worked really hard with their ballet movements. Some had taken ballet before, and for some, it was their first time. I was very impressed with how quickly they got the concepts. After snack, we wrote down our dreams on our long paper and enjoyed dreaming and laughing together. We then learned our ballet dance for our Friday performance to the song, “Born to be Yours” by Kygo & Imagine Dragons. Playing with the music and formations, we entered the space one at a time giving each dancer a moment to shine. They did a great job figuring out how they wanted to enter the space and came together in a group pose using our “machine game” concept.

After creating our ballet dance, we rehearsed our solos/trio, as well as our Hip Hop and Contemporary dances. One of my favorite parts about today was the girls encouraging one another during their solos, as well as, giving each other ideas when asked for help. Their camaraderie brought me so much joy. I had such a great time with these incredible movers, creators, dreamers, and thinkers!

On Thursday, we focused on cleaning, organizing, and spicing up our dances and solos for our show on Friday.

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 7.11.29 PMI had an incredible time with each of these wonderful dancers and creators this week. Seeing their hard work, dedication, and talent shine in Friday’s performance was incredibly fulfilling. I was so proud of their boldness and bravery performing for our large audience, as well as, seeing them work together as a team to make each group dance a success. I hope this week sparked their imaginations, furthered their dance vocabulary, and encouraged them to fulfill each of their dreams. They’ve definitely inspired me to fulfill mine.