Ballet Class Blogging: Poetry in Motion
November 29, 2001

Tonight in class we’re going to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day. I’m not exactly sure how it will go, but I’m hopeful. They’re a smart and fun group of girls (ages 6–8) who love new ideas and games. After circle time, and a quick warm up, we’ll start. 


I’ll write out a poem on the board in big letters. I suggest using a poem that is brief, colorful and one that creates a vivid image with easy to follow language. Action verbs in the poem are especially key. After reading the poem aloud, I’ll ask the girls to describe its meaning and how some of the words make them feel. I’ll highlight some of the more descriptive words, and ask the girls to create movement illustrating those words—what level are the words? What speed? Are the associated movements expansive or narrowing? Do they travel? We’ll do this for each word, and then create short quick moves for a few of the smaller words, conjunctions and articles. We’ll show each other the moves, and maybe even be able to set a few of the poem movement phrases.


I’m sure I’ll have to help them think of movements and coax them to move in unfamiliar ways, but they are a pretty imaginative and uninhibited bunch. If there are any challenges, I suspect it’s because they’ll lose focus—after all, class is at 6–7pm and they’ve been in school all day. LOG IN TO SEE THE RESULTS AND LEAVE COMMENTS!




Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso, 1906, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gertrude Stein’s poem, “If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso” is the text behind one of my favorite pieces, Shutters Shut, choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León for Nederlands Dans Theater II in 2003.

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