For Day 1, we started by watching a video that featured the top 10 movie dances of all time. The dancers really seemed to enjoy Grease’s “Hand Jive,” thus we decided to make our own rendition throughout the week. As a movement exercise, we played “Shrinking Room” where the dancers had to walk, crawl, jump, and change directions throughout the space. The parameters became smaller and smaller forcing the dancers to be creative while being cognizant of others. Lastly, we finished the day by playing Musical (dancing) Chairs – the dancers had to learn choreography as they navigated the space and find a seat before the music stopped.
For Day 2, the students mentioned that they LOVED Disney, Mulan being one of their favorite characters. Thus, we decided to create a warrior dance using pool noodles set to “Make a Man Out of You.” We explored various formation options designed for five people. After setting some choreography, we played “Crazy Golf” in which the dancers had to make structures connecting body parts as one person crawled through the creations. We finished the day by watching video clips of Baryshnikov, Sylvie Guillem, and Michaela DePrince.
Day 3 was all about partnering. We did a mirroring exercise, played with counterbalance, and even introduced a bit of social dancing. The dancers then traced their initials with various bodies parts – first standing, then playing with levels and various directions. Once we practiced our two dances, we then turned to the Rockettes for some unison inspiration. We attempted a kick-line, but the various height differences were a bit of a challenge.
We kicked off Day 4 by describing an adjective + animal through movements. The students had to draw a piece of paper out of a hat, act it out, and have the other students guess. We had hungry hippos, excited puppies, sad snakes, and angry birds. We then explored musicality and various time signatures. The students learned the difference between 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 time signatures. Lastly, we learned a bit of dance history and recreated Pina Bausch’s “Cafe Mueller.” In lieu of chairs, the students placed pool noodles and pillows around the space. One dancer had to close his or her eyes and walk briskly around the space as the others cleared a pathway to keep the blind dancer safe.
For our last day, we reviewed the Hand Jive and Mulan, in addition to learning a bit more dance history. The dancers learned codified movement from Bob Fosse, Martha Graham, Nijinsky, and Jerome Robbins. They also learned a Luigi arm sequence, a box step, and basic salsa steps. All off these elements were rehearsed and performed for the parents at the showing.