Sunday, May 31, 2015

DANCE MUSEUM - improv games!

Meghan and her very professional sign.
First of all, we wanted to give a humongous thank you to everybody that made the Dance Museum possible yesterday! We feel very lucky that we live in a place where we get to know people that share our enthusiasm for bringing dance into casual environments out in the world. My heart is especially warmed by all the dancers we know that don't just love dance, and who pour an amazing amount of energy and time into their practice of dance, but who have so much FUN with dance.

Tara, flying.

We went into the event yesterday with only a very general plan -- Luminarium had a bunch of games they would play over the course of the event here and there, Kara and Tara had a series of 3 related pieces that they would repeat twice, Gracie and Natalie from Nozama had a piece, Amy and I had a piece, and I had a bunch of short improv structures that I would pop in here and there, that could be played by both our dancers and audience members. There was no set order. Instead, Amy and I would feel the vibe and plan the next one or two dances as the evening went along.

Gracie (center) and Tara (right), joined by lots of audience members!

Matt came along and took tons and tons of pictures, so stay tuned for those!!

Here are some of the games that we played!



I borrowed/modified this game from Lauren Simpson, who once performed in my backyard! In this game, everybody stands in a big group. You pick either one or two people. Your goal is to stay the same distance from the people you chose. So if they move, you move. As the game went on, I asked the participants to switch who they were following a few times. You can also add rules such as, you have to stay low, you have to move very slowly, you have to choose a particular body part rather than a full person, and so on. We had quite a few audience members join in, and they seemed to have fun!


We did this twice -- once, it was just Natalie and Gracie and me, and the next time we had a whole big group, including some audience members.

One person starts in front of the group and makes up a simple dance move. They repeat that one move, and everybody else does, too, over and over. When another person in the group feels ready, they run to the front and add a second move. They repeat the two moves over and over, until a third person runs to the front and adds their own move to the end. We did this for the length of a 4 minute song, and ended up with about 8 moves, created by trained dancers and audience members alike!


This is a new idea I've been working on. I was originally developing it with Scott Danek who was going to play some very minimal music while this happened.

You start standing and try to stay absolutely still. Wait to feel how your body naturally sways (sometimes this is easier with your eyes closed). Instead of correcting the sways to stay standing, follow them. They will gradually bring your body lower. Also pay attention to one other natural force in your body -- your breath. When you breathe in, let the breath bring your body higher up, and when you breathe out, feel how that brings you lower. In my experience, you end up lying on the ground in about 7-10 minutes. I think it would be cool to present in a gallery setting, and have 3 or 4 dancers start in different positions.


This was very simple! You either walk, or copy a movement or pose that you see somebody around you doing -- be they an audience member or another performer.


To close out the show, we put on a fun song and bopped around! No rules, just dance.

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