Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thoroughly Modern

I kicked off my dance intensive month with a dance double header at Big Name Dance Center yesterday.  The first class was part of a Beginning Modern Workshop, which progresses over the course of six weeks.  I had never done modern before, so I was pretty nervous!

So for this class, there is no barre.  Everything is done in centre.  Including pliés and tendus in parallel.  Instead of live piano, there is live percussion (so nifty).  So far, I feel like the main difference between ballet and modern is the use of the spine.  In ballet, the upper body stays in its "frame."  In modern there is a lot more spine articulation, with contractions and spirals.  This isn't to say that everything is all floppy.  The pelvis needs to be held so that all of this activity can happen on top of it.  Obviously there are other differences (working in parallel, the arms and hands), but the spine so far seems like the main one to me.

After some short phrases in center, we learned some travelling steps.  One was a balancé, but they called it a triplet (obviously it is in parallel).  I forget what the next one is called, but it's kind of like piqueing forward with one leg, so a bit of a peg leg walk?  We then combined these to learn the first part of a Big Name Choreographer dance (two triplets, and then three peg leg things).  On the triplets, the arms and head sweep up for the first, and then sweep down for the second.  It is REALLY hard to do this with your head down, it just makes the "up" part of the down up up impossible...if you get what I mean?  Anyway, I'm excited to learn more of the piece!

After this class, I stayed for Gaga.  Wikipedia definition: "Gaga is a movement language invented by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin."  This wasn't a traditional dance class, rather we never stopped moving as the instructor gave problems that we had to solve with our bodies.  Like shake from your skin rather than your bones.  At times it felt kind of silly, but there were cool moments of discovery.  One of the corrections I really liked was when he gave an instruction to move with moments of exaggeration.  He said to exaggerate is not the same as just doing a bit more, it is an exaggeration.  I think it is good for me to do things like this once in a while to get comfortable with improv and experimentation.  And that it's okay to look stupid sometimes.

I'm a bit sore today and just took ballet.  More on that tomorrow.

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