Choreography Class, Week 3: Strike a Pose
November 29, 2001

One word to describe Monday’s class: Challenging. My students (eight showed up) were quite chatty—it seemed everyone tried to earn the title of Class Clown. At first I was unaffected by the sarcastic comments after everything I offered; the comments weren’t coming from a malicious place—students just seemed to crave attention. But by the end of class I had had enough. It was impossible to accomplish anything, and I spent more time waiting for students to re-focus than anything else. Next week, I’ll start class with a healthy dose of behavior modification lecturing. In retrospect, I should have nixed all chattiness from the start. I want class to be fun for students—after all, it is summer camp—but they’re not going to get anything out of it if this behavior continues.


The most successful part of class:


After a brief warm-up, I gave each student two minutes to make a shape with her body. Most shapes were upright and looked more like a pose you’d see at the end of a runway, but each shape was different and two were on the ground. Then, I asked everyone to stand in a circle. One by one, each dancer taught her pose, and we connected all eight—in the order they were standing—to make a phrase. We experimented dancing the shapes in a canon, or starting the phrase at various moments.


I asked each student to remember the eight shapes for next week so we can keep working with them next week. Hopefully we can incorporate them into our larger piece—which, so far, is off to a rough start. I am strongly against classes in which preparation for the recital piece is prioritized over learning technique; however, I am realizing the pressure many teachers must feel to produce a recital piece that’s stage-worthy. I vow not succumb to that pressure!


For next week, I reassigned each dancer the task of finding a piece of text that inspires her. (No one had brought anything in for this week.)

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