Chester Valley Dance Academy is proud to offer students with not only quality dance training at the studio, but also the opportunity to travel and participate in conventions, competitions, and master classes. CVDA Dancer Danielle shares her recent experience at the summer Improv + Choreography Workshop.
I had an amazing experience at the Improv and Choreography Workshop! During the class we learned tips on how to approach improvisation with only the use of original dance steps. This allowed us to focus more on the movement itself than on executing a particular turn, leap, or extension. I learned a good way to work on this technique is to isolate or lead with a certain part of your body, allowing the rest of your body to react to and follow that movement. We also worked on other types of improv across the floor like trying to match the particular accents in the music.
In the second half of the class we learned ways to expand on simple movements in order to choreograph a phrase. Each dancer in the class contributed a simple step like a head roll, arm circle, or leg extension. We then linked those steps together to make a very simple combination. Next, we were given sheets of paper with different movement manipulations on it with their descriptions. The types of manipulations we learned about were repetition, retrograde, inversion, size, tempo, rhythm, quality, instrumentation, levels, fragmentation, and pattern/combination.
I adapted the original combination by using retrograde. Once I reversed the order, I adapted the level, size, and quality of the steps. After we rehearsed our dances, we each choose a song that fit the rhythm of our dance the best. We finished by sharing our dance with the class. It was a very fun and educational class! It taught me ways to feel more confident in my improv skills and ways to expand on choreography. It was amazing to see how everyone had created very different dances from the same steps. This workshop reminded me that every challenging dance step starts off as a simple motion.