Friday, 8 January 2010

Physical Expressions

During the last term I taught a movement skills course to the first year students of the BA Performing Arts at the London Metropolitan University. It was a very inspiring experience for me to work with them and to be part of their process. I found much in common with many of them, who entered the course with very little knowledge of dance and a very vague picture of what their future profession might be, just following an intensely subjective feeling that this is a good thing to do. Their assignment was to chose a character from a book or film and to create a short movement study based on their personal responses to and observations of the character. During the classes the students frequently created short solos and presented them to the group. The creative work was accompanied by an introduction of elements of Laban Movement Analysis, a method that was outside their expectation and outside their experience. Most students started from a very fragile point and end up using only a small amount of the learnt knowledge. Yet there was a clear progression towards finding “a voice”. How did they process information and analyse their experiences? Is there a personal method for developing a vocabulary, for gaining objectivity about how movement can be read and for how to scrutinise ones choices? And does good work become less good when its creator fails to present a convincing case? Many questions came out of this very rewarding experience that relate to and enrich my own practice.

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