Small Group Improvisations
Author: John Morris
Movement improvisation is an important dance making tool, and a vehicle for performance and expression in its own right.
- Improvisation is also an effective way for students to learn to focus on each other and collaborate.
- These improvisations are fun and effective, and work well for most age groups, with some modification called for with very young students.
- Both improvisations are good icebreakers, after going through a warmup and some movement exploration, to introduce students to the concept of creating a structure, performing it, and being viewed by an audience.
- Both improvisations can be modified or varied to fit into larger structures or group dances.
Instructions for the slow motion improvisation (instructions are not included on the video):
1. Works best in small groups.
2. One student is the leader, and starts moving in slow motion.
3. The rest of the group follows, trying to move all together, in unison.
4. The movement has to be slow enough and simple enough for others to follow!
5. When the leader feels finished, he or she slowly turns or changes direction, until someone else is in front.
6. That person becomes the new leader.
7. Ideally, with practice, there is no "communication" about who is the next leader; instead all members of the group feel the change.
8. This process continues until everyone has had a turn as leader.
Instructions for the group shape improvisation (instructions are not included on the video):
1. Members of the group start offstage.
2. Each person will enter one at a time.
3. They can pick an order to make an entrance, or find an order as they go.
4. The first person enters the space, moving however they want, and freezes in a shape.
5. The second person follows, moving however they want, and adds on to the first person's shape. They must find a way to physically connect.
6. Each additional person enters the space and follows the same process, until all the group members are in the space, frozen in a group shape.
7. The group, based on how the shape feels and looks, must find a way to move (nonlocomotor) together.
8. Next, the group must find a way to travel through space (locomotor) together.
9. Finally, the group must find a way to exit in all different directions. The exit can be set as part of the instructions, or left to the dancers to decide.
10. In the video, the instruction is to find a time and way to exit by scattering in all directions. Other options could include exiting one at a time, exiting as a group, or ending on stage in a still shape. This improvisation is an excellent way to introduce the simple dance structure.