Week 10: Improvisation and Technique Class

Welcome to Week 10! Whoa! Time is flying, isn’t it? Well, some of you have improvisation class with me already but some do not. It will be interesting to see how improvisation can play a part in our technical practice. I will introduce some strategies to get juices flowing that also aims at awakening the intuition. We’ll see how it goes. On Wednesday, Christina Briggs Winslow will teach for me.

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7 thoughts on “Week 10: Improvisation and Technique Class

  1. I truly enjoyed class today and felt that it was extremely beneficial towards my education. I was able to use all parts of my body, especially focusing on bones, muscles, and the skin. Being able to improvise gave me a chance to use the modern technique we have been learning thus far in class, but express the technique in the way that my body wanted it to. If I didn’t like a movement I was executing, I would find a new way to move and build off of that. I thought it was beneficial that Gerald had us dance like we were in an audition. I was able to notice other people come out of their shell and really start to express the way they like to dance by following rules we were given. In an audition you have to give it all you have and make sure you stand out by taking risks. The exercises we learned today in class were a good way to practice audition skills and being put on the spot. My favorite exercise was using Forsythe skills leading with the arms. I was able to explore different ways to initiate body movements just by leading with the arms and letting the body follow. Learning improve technique is beneficial to any dancer.

  2. I agree with Brooke about today feeling extremely beneficial. I left feeling like I could go into an audition with more ideas of how to move. I really liked Gerald’s idea about seeing something you like on someone else and applying it to your own movement… kind of stealing it in a way. I found that actually really worked for me. So many times I feel like I’m just “throwing up” movement, like what I’m used to, or know looks good. It’s good to get out of your shell and manipulate the style that is your own. Plus I like that we got to dance using the technique we’ve been talking about all semester but to really focus on where the movement was originating from like the spine, muscle, skin, or bone I noticed really makes a difference in someones movement and overall it just felt really good to move!

  3. Today’s class was appreciated and unexpected. I really enjoyed the group exercises towards the end of class. It really made everyone work together and unify as a group. One task in particular that was really refreshing was the bird exercise done in groups. It was fun and unlike anything I ever experienced before.It was cool to observe the other groups work together and to see certain people take the lead and successfully complete the exercise beautifully. One task that my group had trouble with was the group lifts. We had issues executing the lift from start to finish. It was very choppy or no one was lifted at all. Overall the improvisation techniques used in modern class today were very resourceful and beneficial to help especially in auditions in our future dancing career.

  4. I was really glad we got to do more Improv and see the difference in teaching styles & exercises between Gerald and Elizabeth. I think even though there’s been so many changes in our schedule for Modern there was a modern overload. I noticed when we were dancing by ourselves I found myself trying new movements and almost trying to surprise the others around me. When I tried the copying exercise it just didn’t feel right. When we worked in groups I think there’s the moment of no one wants to be the leader, then 5 people at once try taking it and we flop. My biggest challenge will be to not always take things so literal and try to use the music in different ways than just dancing within it. In African class we’re told to dance inside the music and use the beats for queues to body movement, but I need to be able to forget all that when the topic is Modern and focus on broadening my range.

  5. Practicing improvisation in a large class was a good experience. The question, “How are you going to be who you are through your authentic movement when you are in a large group at an audition?” made me reconsider my approach to my own movement and improvisation. Was I using the rules given to explore my own impulses and range of motion or was I trying to achieve a pre-determined goal? I was particularly inspired by the rule we were given to initiate our movement with our spine and allow the limbs to follow and allow ourselves to be influenced by somebody elses movement. When I shifted my focus externally to other dancers, I felt more alert, like approaching movement from a different perspective. This was also more fun and interactive, I felt like we were inspireing eachother and there was less pressure to be “creative”. I also think that this idea will be important when we audition because we should be interested in learning from and supporting eachother in an audition setting, it is important to understand how to work together.
    We explored the rotation of our ball and socket joints in our upper and lower limbs and how the rest of our body kinesthetically responded to this rotation today in Christina’s class. I did not realize the profound effect that the rotation of the arms has on the upper body and how subtle and large these changes in alignment can be. When I rotated my arms from the ball and socket joint of my shoulder I felt a pull and stretch in the muscles all the way down my arms to my wrists that I hadn’t before. It was painful, in a good way, and when we released the spiral my arms felt heavy like bricks.

  6. Going off of what Chloe said, I agree with what Gerald said about how you, as a dancer among many other dancers, have to be noticed in an audition. The room can be filled with many dancers, but how do you show yourself through your dancing in a limited amount of time? This particular question kept running through my head the whole class on Monday. I wanted to figure out a way where I could be noticed but also stay true to myself and my dancing. I found this challenging and had to constantly remind myself to make myself stand out among all the people. This class helped me to become more comfortable with going into an audition and being asked to do all different kinds of improvisational tasks.

    In Christina’s class on Wednesday, one of the things we did was lie on the ground and to feel our weight and get rid of all our extra tension. From the beginning of the semester, Gerald has been telling us to release any excess tension we are holding. Since then, I have been trying to figure out where I hold all my tension in my body and had been having no luck finding where it is held. Finally, the lightbulb clicked in class on Wednesday and I found out that I hold most of my excess tension in my jaw. I am not sure why I do this, but now I am more informed and have been working on releasing this tension in everything I do. The main idea of the class was to focus on rotating our arms both externally and internally the whole class time. I never realized how much this helped me perform certain dance moves. This class was very interesting and I took in a lot in one day!

  7. This class was very interesting in that it got us to take a second and really look at our interaction with others. I believe that people really concentrate only on what they are doing in a technique class. Which I think is a big part of it, but I think being aware of you surroundings and working with others can help to improve how you approach a technique class. I certainly makes me more comfortable to take class with people that I have interacted with. My mind gets calmer. To work with others and realize that they also have imperfections makes it easier to let go and find an easier way to move. Thus causing a release of tension. It was difficult for my group to get the concept at first and really work together to accomplish our task, but after a few tries we were successful. When this happened I felt very connected to the other people around me. I don’t know if this was the goal, but since this class last week it’s been easier to learn.

    I believe that this class prepared us for Christina’s class that following Wednesday. She is a new person to learn from, and a new person to test our approach to how we interpret things. Having to work with others in the previous class made it easier to work with a new choreographer. I think that my approach to learning really changed after this week.

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