Speaking in ‘dance’

Articulating a movement language that is received (without words) can be tricky and there are many styles of teaching and learning in which dance can be shared. How do you best respond when movement and language are involved? What style of communication do you resonate with? Should there be a difference when teachers speak in the classroom/studio (academic) versus in a choreographic/rehearsal (artistic) setting? Please describe your preferred mode of receiving movement information – casual, highly rigorous and repetitive, physically demonstrated while describing the action, or only verbal cues and instructions?


22 thoughts on “Speaking in ‘dance’

  1. I think a good place to begin answering this question for me resonates in the fact that I ask a LOT of questions in learning. Whether it’s the classroom or studio, I always seem to be clarifying step by step how something is executed. In that sense, it is extremely important to me that I feel as if I fully grasp a concept before delving into the movement or practice of it. In receiving any information I need to apply or perform, therefore, it is essential that the communication of it is thorough, verbally and physically demonstrated. However, what might seem contradictory to that is that I don’t need the relaying of information to be in any way repetitive, in that once I am taught a concept and ask clarifying questions, I have it down for the most part. I feel that I benefit most in a learning environment when the communication is personal and conversational between student and teacher, and I also feel that this is more easily done in a rehearsal-like, artistic setting than in the classroom, but it is still possible in both. In reflecting specifically about Gerald’s class thus far, it has been difficult for me to initially grasp movement when he just demonstrates it without speaking or talking through it. Every time he has gone back and then explained it, which is what allows me to fully understand, but initially I feel completely lost and needing to ask a million questions.

  2. When it comes to learning movements, I have found that I learn best when the motion is physically demonstrated to me, and then followed with an oral description of the movements. A lot of the times this helps me figure out the areas in which I need help, and whether I am performing the task properly. For instance, something as simple as doing a downward dog stretch can be misleading. From our class on Thursday we discovered that the stretch Gerald would like us to perform is not one that focuses on the back, but rather, one that works towards making a strong and stable connection between the hands, arms, and shoulders (what serves as the base). If that clarification had not been discussed, we would all most likely continue on through the quarter performing it slightly incorrectly. I feel these kinds of situations are always present when performing movement, so it makes more sense to me that there always be both the physical and verbal components when teaching movement/dance.

  3. I best respond when movement and language are involved by having the movement(s) broken down while also having them explained as they are being done. This is the style I feel I resonate with the most. It also helps when the instructor asks to just watch him/her first so the movements are laid out, and then proceeds to explain them using both actual movement and language.

    I think there typically is a difference between academic and artistic settings in terms of how concepts are taught, but I do not necessarily think that difference should be there. While academic settings are typically more formal, and the main mode of teaching in these settings is lecturing often accompanied with PowerPoint, the main mode of teaching in an artistic setting is definitely more hands-on and interactive, in general. Yet, hands-on learning is definitely useful in academic settings as well, and should also be used more. This reminds me of Ron Clark, the principal of a highly competitive charter school, and his pedagogical approach; he takes traditional concepts and teaches them with more hands-on approaches, such as teaching math with songs, hand gestures and arm movements. Thus in my opinion, there should not be a difference between academic settings and artistic ones, but traditionally there does seem to be.

    In terms of the artistic settings alone, I would definitely say that they should always be hands-on and interactive. That is definitely the best way to teach a dance class, rather than just solely describing the movement, at least in my opinion. My preferred mode, as alluded to earlier, is definitely watching the movement be broken down while also having it described with language. I tend to be a visual learner, but also learn through hearing others describe what the movement should feel or look like!

  4. I prefer to receive movement information through demonstrations with simple verbal cues. Seeing the movements and hearing the cues allows me to quickly learn the choreography so that I can repeat the movements and receive feedback right away. I also really like when a teacher uses unique descriptions to explain movements, like how Gerald compared us falling to the ground to rolling a dorm fridge across the floor. Hearing how the teacher wants (or doesn’t want) us to interpret the moves allows me fully understand what they are looking for, to explore my own body better, and get the most out of the class.

    I believe there should be a difference in how a teacher speaks and teaches between academic and artistic settings. When learning in the studio/academic setting, I think the best way a student can learn and be challenged is to give minimal demonstrations and teach through verbal cues. This allows the dancer to quiz themselves on dance terminology and explore their own style by taking someone else’s choreography and interpreting it for themselves. When it comes to learning choreography for performances, I think a teacher should always demonstrate the movement and give clear, detailed instructions for each position. While a dancer should be free to move and interpret the moves for themselves, they are performing another person’s choreography and it should be done the way the choreographer sees fit.

  5. I gravitate strongly to speakers who use gesture and bodily flare. If an idea, concept, maneuver or technique can be taught with exorbitant body expression, I am more inclined to learn. I have always been squirmy, and restless as a child, with or without sugar, and have found more intrigue in grasping an idea/concept/technique from full sensory immersion experiences. While I can learn from hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching, it has been kinesthethic modalities that have left the strongest imprint on my body and mind.

    Thus, I prefer a deep and dynamic physical referent for the subject matter being explained. Any teaching practice that offers animated, even bravado performances to one’s lesson plan, is warmly embraced by this student. New to the dance-world, I find great anchoring when the instructor synchronously articulates her/his body with the message being delivered.

    Of course, there are times when the description cannot do justice to the described phenomena, but it is at those times that a kind of intuitive communication must take place between the speaker and listener for successful transmission of the intended information. During these times a new creative leap must be taken to realize this novel information. I find myself having to take frequent leaps into this ‘new language’ of dance I am being taught currently. It is during these moments I let go of analyzing the event and attempt to fully immerse myself into the movement. This is an ackward, sometimes scary place, but I have largely gained the greatest insights with this intuitive communication process.

    While I greatly appreciate a kinesthetic-centered communication style, I have become increasingly open to a more intuitive approach to learning emergent information. In many respects, the richness and complexity of movement in this class, propels me into taking these risky leaps into uncontrolled space more gracefully. I have tried previously (the first two weeks of class) with my intellect to fill in the unknown territory of these techniques with previous atheletic experiences, but I have brought more trouble than reward to my body. I find I must humbly remain the ‘newborn baby’ to dance, as a way to both honor the culture, and better condition my body to this deeply complex language.

  6. I feel that verbal instruction on its own will not help me to make a movement in choreography. However, the tendency of dance classes is to physically show a movement that goes along with verbal instructions on how to make that movement. Which helps me to a certain extent to see the movement and receive directions, however for me is not the most efficient. I think that instructions should be very clear when instructing a movement so that one can picture it and try to make that movement. It also helps to physically observe the instructor make the movement step by step, and see a slow version then a regular time version in order to get a better idea, and try to memorize that step to make our bodies imitated. These ways of receiving movement information greatly help, but I think that for me the most efficient is to receive instructions as I described above and also to have the instructor guide my movement if I’m not doing it correctly. Having the instructor correct my movement physically is better for me than observing a movement and trying to imitated, because sometimes I try to imitate a movement but I can’t get my body to make that movement. Specially in this class where our bodies are challenged by non-common movements.

  7. In terms of teaching movement, there should always be both visual and auditory components. Visual to demonstrate and auditory to explain. I tend to be very visual and usually I can work well by just watching and learning that way. Although, when the instructor explains why we do the movement or how to do it helps to perfect the movement. Sometimes, I do find it challenging to understand the explanation the instructor is giving while making movement because I can only focus best on one. Usually I just mirror the movement first, and try to listen to the explanation later, if possible, or vice versa. I learn better when the movement and explanation are separated. From previous experience, I’ve noticed that instructors themselves get confused when they try to do both or they’re more prone to give the wrong explanation while doing the movement. Nonetheless it is not impossible, rather its an acquired skill to be able to explain and demonstrate at the same time, as well as learning through both.

  8. In terms of learning new movement in dance, I think it’s most helpful to have the movement broken down and explained step by step and then a period of time where the class can slowly move through the steps together. For me, it’s most helpful to have a pretty solid idea of the movement in my body, and then to have the dance re-demonstrated to show what dynamics and expression the piece is moving toward. I best respond to new movement when verbal cues are given while I’m dancing so I can avoid the habit of solely watching the instructor as I dance.
    I myself would like to work on being able to string together the sequence of steps more rapidly when first learning a combination. Once I can conceptualize the progression of steps I can discover the transitions. I think those movements that glue the individual moves together are sometimes what I struggle most to understand.

  9. I personally grasp choreography and instruction much better when it is both explained and demonstrated. There is something about learning it visually and verbally that allows me to retain the information much better. This is not just in an artistic setting but also in an academic setting. Sometimes something can be explained verbally and I will think I understood it, but it isn’t until I visually see it that I understand where I need to make adjustments. In dance specifically, it is very hard to describe the way your body should move using words. I think it is important to incorporate a verbal aspect in artistic teaching because it is useful in going over details such as body positioning and placement, emotional representation, as well as fluidity or sharpness, etc. However, it is also important to visually see what is being communicated so you can put all those concepts together into one form.
    There both is and isn’t a difference in academic vs. artistic settings in the way things are taught. Although artistic setting tends to be more free and creative there is still instruction and guidelines that need to be followed. An academic setting is typically a lecture from an instructor, but those lectures are often time followed by a PowerPoint presentation or videos which give a visual representation of what you are being taught.
    My preferred mode of receiving movement information is definitely physically demonstrating while describing the action. Just like how in math it is necessary to break down a problem step by step, for me it is important to do the same in dance. I find that if the choreography is broken down slowly the first time, I don’t need to ask as many questions and I grasp it with much greater speed and precision. Something that I noticed a lot of dance teachers do is use a lot of imagery to get you to mentally picture what the movement should look like. Although it sounds funny, it seems to work for me. Describing a plie as having a diamond in between your legs really allows you to picture what shape your body should be in.

  10. When beginning movement, it seems essential to evaluate what exactly the body is doing. What parts are moving? What parts of the body are staying stationary? Is it a strained movement or is it a easily-completed cascade? And, to further dive into the the movement, I have found it helpful to ask what is the purpose of this movement? What triggered the initial action and what took it to completion? I appreciate instructors that address these questions while they teach movement phrases. It is extremely helpful to know where exactly the movement is initiated from, where in the body the movement is felt, and how the movement should be completed. Physical descriptions, similes, and images allow me to gain a better understanding of what the dancing body may look and feel like. If the teacher displays a solid understanding of body anatomy and applies it to the dancing figure, it also provides a greater structure with which to approach the given phrase.

    I personally feel that in an academic/classroom setting, the instructor should focus on encouraging his or her students to discover, manipulate, and explore their own artistic expression. A teacher is able to provide multiple tools of how to approach this exploration. In a rehearsal/artistic setting, a student can delve further into their own artistic expression in his or her own way and by their own agenda, applying the skills and tools that they learned in the classroom.

  11. Wow. What a topic. Everyones response to these questions will be very different, for we all learn differently. I think there is something special about movement in the classroom in both technical and artistic aspects. In an average academic classroom, teachers only modify teaching styles to the auditory and visual learners. Spoken language for the auditory learners, and visuals(if used) for the visual learners. Dance is special because the teacher is not limited to these two learning styles. You can teach through the three main styles in so many ways!

    In the studio, auditory learners have quite the amount of resources. Not only spoken language used, but music as well. This is SO important for the musical brains!! I have auditory processing problems. So I have trouble learning and understanding anything auditory. It was very apparent in the dance classroom when I was younger. I was always late on the music/counts. I have learned to feel music in my body versus depending on my ears. Basically I have transformed music into a kinesthetic entity in the dance classroom. So this whole music and counts and spoken language thing doesn’t always work in my favor. More on kinesthetic learning later…

    Visual learners are also not fully accommodated for in the academic classroom (i.e. only language/ minor visuals during a lecture). This frustrates me, because I am mostly a visual learner. I am studying mathematics somewhat because of this. Mathematics can and is usually represented visually when being taught. I struggle sometimes even in these classes! But in dance, there are infinite things to look at; the teachers, your classmates, yourself. The yourself part is interesting. Dance classrooms have mirrors! You can see bodies from multiple perspectives! All brains are stimulated in the studio.

    In addition, something truly special about the dance classroom is that unlike your average academic classroom, it is extremely conducive to kinesthetic learners! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to get up and run around the classroom while learning. I tend to rock back and forth in class, my classmates hate it! I have always learned well when moving. I have always marked combinations, because if I don’t, or I’m not watching consciously, I have NO idea what the heck I’m doing during the combination!!

    Oh no, I could write an essay in response to this… Im gonna try my best to keep it short and sum things up.

    I want to address the fact that Im having a hard time deciphering between the art and technique of dance in a student-perspective. I think a detailed note on how to do something is both an artistic and technical choice. These notes work for me when I try my hardest to understand the use of language. I LOVE when choreographers/teachers tell me what the moves are supposed to feel like, not just what they look like. Its my favorite. I tend to respond very well to Geralds “internal rotation” and “external rotation” notes. These are things you can close your eyes and feel. Other than this, I have to watch and do. It is how I work best inside as well as outside the studio. Lastly, repetition is the best way for me to learn choreography. I depend on my muscle memory a lot because my short term memory is a little funky and I have some really intense off days.

    Sorry my response was so long!! Too interesting of a topic I guess 🙂

  12. As I’m sure it’s the same case for many of us here, dance is something that I can just connect with and “get”, which is partially due to it being a kinesthetic-learner dominant art form. Unlike lectures, popularized in universities and schools, biased towards auditory or visual learners, dance allows the learner to try it for themselves. Connecting this back to our body developing during adolescence (from last week’s video), copying, or “monkey-see-monkey-do” if you will, is an incredibly overlooked and natural way of learning. When it comes to dance, if teachers showed the entire combo to show the “ideal”, and broke the phrase into sections to teach that would be the perfect way to learn for me.
    With that being said, while I am a kinesthetic learner, in an art that requires such precision, vocal coaching doesn’t hurt. I’ve found specifically in modern dance that using descriptive verbs, such as melting, or softening, when used to relay an action is the best way to get a movement down. Personally, the reason I find these verbs so helpful are because I find they’re the best way to tweak the movement closer to perfection, to get down to the root of the intention. If I can get a good read on the intention of the phrase, I can tap into the mindset of the choreographer a bit more.
    Lastly, when it comes to academic versus artistic teaching styles, I don’t value one over the other– it’s really apples to oranges. I also think what style of dance we’re talking about varies the conversation a bit; however, I find teachers in artistic settings are aiming for a goal, a performance, so that’s what they’re all about. Broadcasting the emotion, and message of the piece is a large part of their priority, whereas teachers in an academic setting are typically more technique driven, and wish to retain the choreographic intention while in the studio. Nevertheless, since being in varied production and classes, these definitions have switched around a bit, teaching me at the end of the day, it really depends on who’s heading the class.

  13. When it comes to dance I am definitely a visual learner, but I do enjoy verbal cues as well. For the most part, after watching a move or combination once or twice my body naturally just starts to copy whatever I’m seeing. In most cases, after some repetition, I have the movement, but this way of learning has its limits. This is where verbal cues help. If I’m struggling after watching the instructor I’ll either ask a question or wait for a more in depth explanation of the movement. After having some kind of explanation I’m usually fine. It resonates with me even more when a teacher will give a short, one word reminder of what they just explained while the class is actually doing the combination or movement. For example, if there’s a move that they want emphasized the teacher will clap or yell something just to make sure the dancers actually do it. I also enjoy when the pitch or tone of the instructors voice mimics the movement being done. It allows me to internalize what’s being said and connect the words to the movement.

    Personally, I enjoy when teachers speak artistically rather than academically during class. It allows me to feel more comfortable and open to the creative expression that comes with dance. I like when teachers integrate academic sides of dance to enhance the learning experience, but I believe that you grow more through creative exploration. Learning about things such as dance history, cultural aspects, etc. acts as a foundation to expand from on a more artistic level.

  14. I learn best when visual and auditory cues are both utilized. For me to be most successful in a classroom (regardless of if it’s an academic or dance setting), it is important that I am introduced to new material with the combination of visual demonstrations and auditory explanations. Specifically in the dance studio, I find I pick up movement best when it is first demonstrated visually (with little or no words), and then reviewed but with some added auditory cues.
    I don’t necessarily think that there should be a huge gaping difference between academic vs. artistic classroom teaching. This is entirely my opinion, but I think in both situations, on a day-to-day-basis, too much of one teaching style is not the most effective; for there will always be a mixture of visual vs. auditory learners. Because of this, it makes sense to not favor one over the other, and to include a balance of both visual and audio cues. For instance, let’s say in a science lecture, it would be dreadful for most students if the professor strictly spoke for the whole period, without sharing any visual demonstrations with the class. And in an artistic setting, it may be challenging for the more auditory learners to understand the material if it is strictly demonstrated visually.
    Not to say that challenge is something that should be avoided. I think challenges are important, as overcoming them is one of the most effective ways to learn something new. From my own personal experience, dance classes that are entirely based on visual demonstrations (though frustrating), are beneficial to take once in a while, as they challenge my brain in new ways and stimulate my observational concentration.
    I think it is important for teachers of all subjects to integrate a balance of multiple teaching styles into their curriculum. But also, I think it is important to occasionally eliminate either auditory cues or visual cues altogether, with intentions of challenging students/pushing them out of their comfort zone and furthering their growth.

  15. This absolutely depends on the stage I am in in my process. As a beginner my first introduction to movement was through yoga sequencing. I depended greatly on visual confirmation/ instructors demonstration & mirror. Then with the introduction of dance I found it better to utilize the verbal cues/ as opposed to the reflected image. In ballet attempting to look a certain way can most definitely can set one up for injury. Now I prefer simple verbal cues for ballet technique but that is because I do not want to focus on another’s movement/ I understand my own personal positioning and would rather feel where my body is then see where it needs to be. In modern the movement is more complex so I enjoy a combination of demonstration & verbal cues. It seems to be the same for my intermediate yoga students. Beginners rely heavily upon visuals while advanced students seem to enjoy this verbal sequencing of cues; breathe, position/ posture, then 3 alignment cues & if everyone in the class is advanced I hardly need to verbalize any alignment cues. I simply allow their cues (physical corrections) to dictate what I say. While working with sacred dance I was introduced to dancing with soul intention. This meant no visual ideas were necessary, simply feeling and channeling diverse aspects of being. When I teach & when I direct I tend to extend an artistic form of teaching. I feel the classroom/studio should be the base for art production and aid students in learning the artists way of communicating. There will always be a diverse group of egos one must work with and in order to direct the entire group the communication must be clear/ gentle yet direct. If working with mixed levels, the instructor has no choice but to utilize any and all methods to reach the numerous needs. I personally resonate with clear direction and repetition.

  16. I prefer to be shown movement as I am a visual learner, and could be satisfied with a class where there are only physical cues. However, the eyes can disconnect me from my body and become a crutch as well. So, my preferred method is to be shown movement, but then to be lead with clear verbal cues so that I can drop deeper into my body and feel the movement.
    When learning about movement in an academic setting, I appreciate historical reference that incorporates visual and/or embodied learning. For example, if I were taking a world dance history class, I would appreciate seeing videos, hearing verbal lectures and also learning the gestures in my own body as well to get a holistic view.
    In a choreographic/rehearsal setting I really appreciate when the choreographer shows movement, vision, and technique separately so that us dancers don’t get attached to something early on and can have an open mind around the work. When I share a choreography with dancers, I like to show them a phrase without music, then allow them to play (fairly open-ended) with the phrase on their own and see what arises, then have them lay on the floor, close their eyes, and listen to the music and allow their minds to be open, then I like to share the vision that pulls it all together. I like to mix up the order of those techniques as well depending on many factors. I love partner work as well, so usually I’ll have a picture in my mind of a shape I want to create, so I’ll share that verbally, then workshop it.
    I really appreciate when I am tossed out of my comfort zone in a dance class,so that I can grow. But there is a difference between being callously tossed out to the wind with no direction and being held in an experimental movement process. I appreciate the latter.

  17. “The whole process to me is never about proving something, it’s about sharing something” – Yo Yo Ma (2010 documentary)
    Although this quote is relating to performance I would say that the classroom setting is a private performance for one’s self. I don’t think that the language between the choreographic process and the academic classroom setting should be any different because there is something to be said when a knowledge over time is shared openly rather than placed as a footnote in a choreographic work.

    In learning a discipline that evokes the human experience without words, I find that words can really change the way one moves. I find that a few words chosen precisely for the movement being taught goes a long way for me. The supplementary action of carrying the movement while describing its quality with tangible sensory language like “move through nutella” or “walk on bubble wrap” really make for the optimal learning experience. Also I appreciate learning the functionality of the movement being explained anatomically as it provides a concrete and grounded approach to the body; bringing the “real” to the ingenious machine. With a balanced learning approach to the mind-body connection, a shared magic in the classroom arises as people find the space to grow and challenge themselves to tasks they haven’t ventured to do yet. It is vital, I think, to have that space for people to take the risk to challenge themselves both imaginatively and functionally. It is in that space where I can come to an understanding of my own failures in approaching a seemingly impossible task at first. Within failing at it initially I find I gradually, step by step, get closer to a fuller understanding and a gained capability of facilitating the task more precisely.

  18. I believe I best respond to a movement when it is described briefly as moving and then the class is given a small amount of time to work it out before running it. I think I am able to not let the focus on getting the movement to be repeated just right and just let my body move and work itself out with the movement. The thought process kind of gets in the way of the dance, I think if the move is done shortly after being shown the dance becomes more of a dialogue between the dancer and the dance itself. It becomes clear which parts need to be worked on more in depth and which parts come more naturally. As a way to retain the movement and enhance it I think breaking it up into sections after an initial run through and blocking is immensely helpful. This is so helpful for me because it helps me feel the flow of the piece of a whole and then get to the nitty gritty focused sections to help fine tune them, while still maintaining an overall flow.
    I think I respond more to visual and physical direction rather than verbal. I would rather have a teacher almost push me into the right form than look at me and tell me what to do. My favorite type of classes are the physically vigorous where movement is nonstop and repetitive. I think of it as a way to stay present with the movement and the flow.
    I personally prefer a less academic language in the studio and classroom, I prefer the artistic setting much more. While I am very interested in the academic part of dance I think in the studio I am there to develop as an artist and I would prefer to go into the academics in a different setting. I definitely see a difference between the two while in a dance class, and as for what resonates with me best the artistic dialogue helps me feel and develop with the movement.

  19. I find that dance is a language in it of itself. Whether the dancer is speaking through pantomime, like in classical ballet, or using a language of their own, a message is communicated between dancer and viewer. Having always been a verbally expressive person, using dance as an alternate way of speaking has not only helped grow as a person and dancer, but has also helped me work out any emotional problems I may be experiencing at the time. One thing that I find really fascinating about artistic communication is that a group of dancers could all learn the same choreography and be told what kind of emotion to have, but each dancer will be telling a different story, one personal to themselves. When it comes do learning, I find that I successfully learn verbally and kinesthetically. Having trained it studios all my life, I’ve faced situations where I am required to pick up choreography just from the instructor giving verbal instructions. While for some this may be difficult, I find that I am able to successfully execute what is asked of me. Typically I prefer to be given verbal instructions followed by a demonstration of the movement. This allows me to form any questions I have for the instructor while also picking up the choreography quickly. This is typically how I’ve been taught and I’ve never really had a problem picking up choreography.

  20. For me, expressing dance or choreography resonates the most when it’s been explained from a few different perspectives. Having that variety can clarify movement such an immense amount more. Initially, when receiving movement information for the first time, I prefer to see it, whether the instructor or another student performs it. That’s a strong start for me to get the idea of the movement in my body. Then, I prefer the instructor to explain the movement in words. The words clarify the movement and help me focus on certain parts of my body. I love metaphors that give descriptive imagery (such as focusing on reaching my arm up as it were going through the ceiling, for example) because they’re so specific. Finally, if both seeing and hearing the movement isn’t enough, having the instructor physically move me or re-position me forces my muscles to learn what they should be feeling during a specific movement. In a studio setting, rather than a classroom setting, the instructions need to involve more of the senses (seeing, feeling, hearing) to match the hands-on environment. Rather than repeating the same instruction over and over, different sensory instructions are a lot more effective in clarifying choreography for me.

  21. My preferred mode of receiving movement information is usually highly rigorous and repetitive because this method allows me to process the information the fastest. I probably process this method the best because it is the method I grew up with. The teachers I had when I was younger all used some version of the rigorous and repetitive method.
    I also feel that combining physical demonstration with repetition is extra helpful. This allows me to see the movement in detail multiple times and lessens the chance of me missing something. I think that this method is especially useful for getting choreography across because it allows for the movement to be broken down and repeated. It also easily lends itself to rehearsal of specific moments of the piece. I think that this method is also helpful in the studio for practice.However, in the classroom more description should be given because it is not always possible to demonstrate what is being discussed. Technical names should also be given in the classroom because that can help students that want to look up the movement later on their own.

  22. I think metaphors are the greatest tool in articulating movement and language. I respond the best when I can visualize what my choreographer or instructor is saying and feel the movement through the words. I have always been very trusting of muscle memory and the importance of using your body through the instruction period. I think the use of anatomy in modern dance is very important and should be more widely accepted. If we use classic ballet terms in technical training, why aren’t we focusing on learning body parts as well. I resonate the most with metaphors that give visual clues such as stand as through a string is pulling through your body. I like visualizing the origins and fluidity of each movement, like middle finger to elbow. Consistency should be key in the studio. Your choreography is going to be so much more fleshed out and and precise if the same language is spoken in class as well as in rehearsal. I think that all instructions should maintain a level of clarity that can be found in a casual approach, but it should still have the rigor and repetition of training technical skill. I think verbal cues and physical demonstration should go together, but only after instruction. This lead to a more engaged class that can focus on the breakdown of each movement.

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