Today we have a guest post by Stacey Pepper Schwartz…
I love to challenge my students when I teach. I like them to discover movement for themselves and not just copy what I am doing. They need to find out how they move for themselves. And with this knowledge they can go on to perfect their technique. If they have technique without vision ,creativity or passion, it is like having the canvas and paints without the paintbrushes! Explore costumes to add some added inspiration, creativity and challenge to your class. It can be quite an adventure for both the student and teacher!
My favorite costumes to explore are scarves of every length, color, texture, weight, transparency, etc. I know this can be considered a prop but if you attach it to your body by tying it around your wrists, or wrapping it around your waist then technically you are wearing it!!! You can make rivers, oceans, capes, rainbows, elephants, wings and all sorts of dreams. Explore how you can make the fabric move, how the fabric makes you move, and how many people can make the fabric move together. Do you use strength to move the material, do you use direct or indirect movement, and do you move it quick or sustained. It can help to explore the elements of movement and make you see movement and feel movement in a new way. It is important to have various sizes, weights and textures because it will help you challenge and explore dance in new ways.
I still have fabric I used over 10 years ago with my first creative movement dance classes and I still use them today. You don’t even have to tell the class what you are doing or why. They will tell you. Put the fabric on the floor; put some music on and away they will go. After a while you can write down a list of images, thoughts and ideas. You can play around with music. You can move all together or one at a time. Create an environment. Have each fabric have a different movement quality. Use your imagination. My dance class created a beautiful dance that they performed at the end of the year inspired by the movements they created with the scarves.
Other costumes that are fun to explore:
1. Hats (how does the top of your head affect the rest of your body and the way you move?)
2. Capes (swish, turn, leap, float, and sink!)
3. Tails (like bunny tails, lion tails, bird tails – loads of fun to connect head and tail movements!)
4. Pajamas (always fun to have a PJ day. Find some of your favorite bed time stories and pull out movement words and create your own fantastic dreams!)
5. Ask your students to bring in old costumes they have at home and create movements based on how the costume makes you feel, inspire you to move and the weight, look and feel of the item.
Have fun and let me know what you discover, explore and most importantly what you students create!
And here is an added bonus to the exploration. You might find some easy costumes to make and or use at the end of the year performance. A tail and some ears, pajamas, hats or scarves are easy to find, inexpensive and easy to coordinate!!! Sometimes the most memorable costumes are not the most glitzy but the ones that enhance the dance!
Bio: Stacey is the Founder and Director of Leaping Legs Creative Movement Programs. The focus of Leaping Legs Creative Movement Programs is to help people regardless of age, experience or ability, become educated about their movement potential, develop kinesthetic awareness, and become more physically fit and healthy together as a family, and community.Leaping Legs promotes its goal through the original Up Down & All Around DVD. Utilizing the elements of movement, the video entertains as it motivates kids and their families to exercise together using movement games, silly exercises and challenges. The DVD received Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products 2009 Award and 10 Best Active Products 2009 Award. The DVD has also been featured in many magazines. In its August 2009 issue, Dance Teacher called the DVD “an essential tool for teaching the fundamentals of movement.”
Stacey received her BFA in dance performance at Montclair State University and her MA in dance education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has taught as an artist in residency and guest artist in public and private schools for over twelve years.