Monday, December 15, 2014

Dance to express, not to impress!

Hi there, Happy Monday! Even though today is Meat Free Monday, I'm dying to share a bit of an occupational health reflection with you all.  I'm so proud of a project I recently completed at work with my high school students. 

My thoughtful and talented dancers :)

On my blog, I talk about occupational health pretty frequently.  Occupational health can be summed up in the following three questions;  What are you doing with your one wild and precious life? Are you using the gifts and talents you've been given, to help others?  Are you paying your good fortune forward?

I can say with absolute certainty that I am consciously, constantly trying to improve and live my life to the fullest.  I love collaboration, thinking outside of the box, pursuing wellness and helping people express themselves through dance. These are my gifts, my passion, and I am so happy to be able to share my joy with students, but also with all of you.

But back to the actual project... This project entirely reflects the ideas and input of the dancers.  I strive to be a choreographer and teacher who helps foster creativity, reflection and sense of community, not simply teach some steps and that's it.

This project began with students verbally expressing the feelings that they wanted to express through dance.  With four seniors in this class, the majority were/are concerned with the college application process and to move on from high school.  The other students spoke about having to leave their old schools and start all over again at Concordia.

With these feelings in mind, this piece explores the process of leaving. 
First, we fear to leave our safety zone.
Next, we physically have to leave, and end a journey.
Then, we're excited to have the freedom to explore a new environment.
After, we are anxious to grow, achieve and reach new heights in a new situation.
Finally, we might feel timid, or nervous to share who we really are, and we end up withdrawing in a new situation.

With the theme in our minds, in the studio, we "bodystormed" different movement using the major elements of dance: body, shape, space, levels, energy, time, relationships. We videotaped the preliminary movement, and then chose which movement to keep as the choreography that best represented the theme we were attempting to portray.  From there, we rehearsed and pieced the sequences together in the most effective manner.

Finally, we took the performance to the "streets", as our way of bringing art to the masses.  The day was picture-perfect; blue skies, sunshine bright on our faces, plus a handful of audience members (people walking around the lake on their lunch break).

I am most proud of my dancers' abilities to dance to express, not simply to impress.  I am proud of their ability to be reflective in their own journeys as artists, but also be responsive and thoughtful to the feelings, suggestions, and energy of their peers in the class.  It's been a wonderful group to work with, and I am very pleased with their final result.  I love watching people create art!!

Please enjoy this piece...




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