On a Monday night last month in DEL Foundations class, we explored Laban’s EFFORT/DYNAMICS though two distinct exercises: “Slowland and Fastland,” and “Dynamic Volcano Dance.” In a quick summary:
In “Slowland and Fastland,” Jody divided the room (with masking tape) into two lands. In one land we had to move slowly, and in the other fast. We started out just moving our hands, and by the end of the exercise, we had divided in two groups and viewed class members experiencing the two lands to music.
In “Dynamic Volcano Dance,” Barry polled us about our previous knowledge of volcanos. We watched a short movie of an erupting Hawaiian volcano and identified associated verbs: OOZE, EXPLODE, SHAKE. We began our movement exploration there and we started moving in one place, then traveling, then working in groups to make a volcano dance.
Ana conducted a follow-up discussion-exploring the scaffolding/methodology of the lesson plans and relating the lessons to the Laban chart.
For me, the greatest take-away from these exercises is that I am absolutely having fun. Last week it became clear to me that my teacher’s heart had to include the element of FUN. I remember reading that “All mammals need play.” For me, dancing is human play, like running around on a playground and stretching my limbs and roaring on top of a mountain. It’s crucial to my humanity, my happiness, self-definition and place in the world, in the same way that children need to experience the physical release of playgrounds, running, skipping, dancing with freedom and joy. I watch my kids move, each with their own movement style, the freedom that they are learning as they explore physicality, expression, feminity, and the definition of self. I hope that in my teaching, I am able to communicate that central essential element of being human, and that kids and adults skip away from my classes with excitement, that they are glowing, with rosy cheeks and the exhileration of being free.