Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Toolbox in Action: A Week in Review

As I mentioned before, a big part of my apprenticeship has been co-teaching various classes at the Dance Exchange. One of the classes that I'm helping out with is "Community in Creation" on Saturday mornings. Today we only had two participants attend - Dorothy and Bob - so we decided to move around a bit and then tack on an extra class at the end of the session to make up for the missed hour.

Peter led us through an exercise that was new to all of us...he didn't have a name for it, so I've decided to title it "A Week in Review". Here it is, step by step (bear in mind that you could always adjust these steps, add your own, find new ways of exploring this idea):

1. Begin by walking around the room, thinking back on the previous week.

2. Find a place of stillness. Focus on the first day of that week. Pick a place in the room and move over to that place at your own time, continuing to go over the events, feelings, thoughts, actions that you associate with that day. Incorporate some movement into your pathway that comes out of your thoughts, etc.

3. Repeat this six more times, once for every day of the week.

4. Find a partner and tell them about your week, however you like. You may find yourself incorporating some of the movement you just explored into your story, you may not. You can give a brief overview of the whole week, or focus on one key aspect of your experiences. Listen to your partner's story and pay attention to the words and movements that stand out for you.

5. Change partners and repeat. Notice whether or not your story changes, and if so, how? Try to make sure that you have a turn telling your story first as well as second, and see how it may be affected by first listening to what your partner has to say.

6. Change partners one last time and repeat. Again, take note of movements, gestures, words, anything that catches your attention.

7. Everyone comes together in a circle, and we share which moveents, text, feelings etc stood out during this exercise. These collected movements can then be used to build a phrase, can be scripted, can be layered with the text...the collected words or sentences can be used to create a Movement Metaphor or Equivalents phrase, just to name a few more tools that could be used at "the next steps" in this composition exercise...

For more information on the Dance Exchange toolbox, click here. You may need to register, but it's free and only takes a few seconds!
Photo: The Farthest Earth from Thee, a rehearsal shot. The camera crew was filming footage for a promotional/educational DVD and material to go up on the website.
Peter was Artistic Lead on this work, which was developed using many of the D.Ex tools, and is currently in the remounting process for an "animated keynote" performance next month. What's an animated keynote? Stay tuned for all the details.

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