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This is the class that had me most nervous because asides from my dance experience when I was a little kid, i have no dance experience. I swim and did a little track and volleyball in high school. I had seen hip-hop, jazz, ballroom and afro pop/beat dance but I had never heard of the butoh dance. I took this class as an elective hoping it would enable me to be more flexible to perform some dance movements efficiently. I was also looking forward to seeing some afro beats/pop dance movements infused in the class.
I have learnt that dance is about form, feeling and the presence of the full body and the creation of dance comprises of coordination of the elements of dance (Body, Energy, Relationship, Space, Time) and it is not just about the body moving to music. We were introduced to kinaesthetic awareness which enables a good sense of our body awareness in space and balance while dancing. We practiced dancing using all parts of our body and also, by isolating parts of our body with the bare feet fully grounded while maintaining proper body alignment.
We started most of our classes with term M.B meaning Mind body, minuscule big, muscle bone which was some warmup movements which helped prepare the mind and loosen the muscles for the dance activities that followed which I found helped reduces soreness because on the few days we didn’t do some warm up I woke up sore everywhere because we dance with our whole body. M.B activities enabled us practice levels, direction and use of space e.g. we did a movement of Rolling to the floor one vertebrae at a time while maintaining alignment at the end of the movement (dynamic alignment), We also used imagery to perceive movement by throwing imaginary objects to our partners e.g. beach ball, butterfly, feather. We also explored with Emotions, feelings and Sensation of M.B in our body with music and I was able to feel the music in specific parts of my body, the type of music also changed the feelings I felt and how my body responded.
We did an activity of individual rolling to the floor in groups of five in different grouping, shapes and duration to Phillip glass music. Watching other classmates perform the movement of rolling to the ground with music enabled me experience Kinaesthetic empathy and imagery to perceive movement because I could see different patterns formed e.g., dots, leaves falling.
We also did some mirror work by using our peripheral vision to imitate the body movements of our partner. We also practiced kinaesthetic awareness by blind walking to see how we responded to energy. We also did a long movement practice and scanned the sensation in our body by lying down and maintaining proper body alignment and reimagined the movements we did, which was a very relaxing and different experience.
We practiced moving from feeling and quality. We used water in imagination, and I was able to experience different sensations in my movements. The mist enabled soft and light movements, while the waterfall felt very heavy like water touching my body, and the sun gave a more colorful, bold, warm feel.
Watched videos of dancers which enabled my experience kinesthetic empathy, it felt like I was participating in the movements I observed. Also, I was able to see the ideas we learn in class being put into practice in their dance e.g. how the dancers used levels, isolation of body parts and exploring, the use of space.
Working on the choreography of final group performance enabled me to explore and practice all we had being taught in class to use my feelings to create dance and not idea of what I think or believe dance. Which is feeling the movement, dancing from imagery to have a solid, well-defined balance and transitions in the movement quality, moving with the whole body, playing with timing, creating moments.
By using all elements of dance: Body- using clear, precise, full body presence in our movements. Energy: we used qualities from wind, water imagery to implement stillness, flowing, sharp, soft to develop our movements. Relationship- we implemented unison, contrast, solo, meeting and parting. Space- we made use of the whole stage, with different route, directions and levels used. Time- in our dance we moved our body in measured beats and music and we also move with breath, we created movements in varying tempo.
I really enjoyed taking this class and the dances overall were fun, it has enhanced the ability to tune my sensitivity to my physical presence and enhanced my awareness in my body and in space. And most of all using sensations from music, feelings and imagery to create movements has really enhanced my creativity. I am also glad this class enhanced my flexibility to perform some dance movements more efficiently and seeing all the group performances I saw some hip pop dance movements infused into the dance. Kinaesthetic awareness and the ability to maintain proper body alignment are the most important dance skills I learnt from taking this class which I have transferred good sense of our body awareness in space into my daily life.
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