superdaintykate: (Default)
I had an interesting teaching breakthrough in class yesterday.

This session, we are working on musicality. Since these dancers haven't really dealt with this concept before, we're starting small. For example, for the first two classes, we listened to songs with only two or three distinct musical phrases, assigned a move to each, and then practiced changing the movement to match the musical phrase. We added a level of difficulty in the second class by adding directional changes (face the right diagonal, now face the left diagonal on the repeat) but still kept it simple.

Last night, I introduced some Um Kulthum. Simpler Um Kulthum, but still. I was nervous, because at least one dancer in the class has admitted that, while she can identify rhythm like whoa, the melody of the songs just washes right past her and she doesn't really hear it, I chose "Ana fi Intizarek" and decided to just fly by the seat of my pants.


I played the opening for them twice (the Aziza Raks version) and then asked if they were able to pick out the distinct phrases in it. They nodded, but seemed uncertain. So I put the music on again and assigned very simple movement to each phrase. I didn't want to use dance vocabulary because I didn't want to inform their choices of steps later on, so I kind of "directed" the piece as though I was in front of an orchestra. Facing the front of the room (my back to the students), I started on the left side of the floor and started walking to the right in time with the beat. Using my right hand, I described an arc during the first phrase. The second phrase repeats in a minor key, so I made the inverse arc motion with the same hand (up on the sides, down in the middle like a smile). That pair of phrases repeats, so I repeated the movement, still stepping sideways. The next section contains three sharp accents, and I stood in place and made sharp chopping gestures outward ("the credits, the debits, the people we exploit" kind of thing). This is followed by a fluttering crescendo up the scale, marked by my raising my hand slowly, with "spirit fingers", and a floating decrescendo, during which I sailed my hand gently down, like a leaf floating.

The "AHA" was tangible and immediate. Interesting.


superdaintykate: (Default)

November 2013

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