.National Educators WorkshopMerce CunninghamLincoln Center Institute

1999 Summer Session 

Dance- Lynn Marie Ruse

SUMMER SESSION COURSE PLAN

Teaching Artist: Lynn Marie Ruse Phone: 212.995.0149

Art Form: Dance Team: National Educators Workshop

Workshop Day/Date: Monday, July 19 Time: 10-11.15

Workshop # 1 of 4 (Total sessions) Focal Work: Cunningham

For each activity in a single workshop period please describe:

 

ACTIVITY #1:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Introduce flash cards, chance procedure and ourselves

 

Estimated time for this activity: 10 minutes

 

Describe:

Overlapping the end of the introduction period, bring everyone into a circle and have them choose a flash card with a movement word on it. Go around circle and have them introduce themselves using their name and that word in a sentence. Go around the circle again, introduce themselves using their name and a movement based on the word on their card. Hold on to the card.

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Flash cards, which I have already made up

 

Activity #2:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Physical, aesthetic warm-up.

 

Estimated time for this activity: 40 minutes

 

Describe:

Start with question: Did you see any dance on your way to the workshop this morning? List responses on open journal, discuss.

Create a short warm-up dance out of the words from the open journal. (Ex: arms twist, eyes roll, dart into open space, squeeze through imaginary crowd, freeze at the turnstile). Continue building dance until everyone has a little phrase they can remember. Try out these dances in different configurations: half and half, as a canon, random entrances and exits.

 

Teaching Artist Name: Lynn Marie Ruse Course Plan Format, Continued

Coming back together as a group, everyone move to the window or to the door. Find and define one dance from your vista (define it in your mind and then your body). Go back to the action word on your card. Add it to your original movement. Find someone from a different vantage point in the room. Trade cards, add their action to your phrase. Trade cards again, and again add action. Practice these solos so you can repeat them.

Hand out playing cards, numbers only. All the hearts go to one corner, spades go to another, diamonds to another, clubs to the last. Each group makes a phrase from their original window movement and the cards. Decide where they will be in space. Show, calling out different configurations of numbers, suites, tempos, freezes.

 

Discussion Questions:

Did you see any dance on your way to the workshop this morning? When does movement become a dance? How can random patterns be viewed as a dance? Do these dances have a meaning? Do they have an emotional impact? Was there music to these dances? Do they have their own rhythm?

 

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

deck of playing cards

 

 

Activity #3

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Reflection on the work.

 

Estimated time for this activity: 15 minutes

 

Describe:

Grab your own journal. Question one is on one side of the chalk board: write a one paragraph support saying why what you saw was a dance. When you are finished Question two is on the other side: write a one paragraph support for why it wasn’t a dance. Which is a truer statement of belief for you? Again, respond in writing.

While they are writing hand out Xerox of story of Merce Cunningham taking dancer (I think Viola Farber) to the window, showing her the traffic and saying, "It’s a bit like that."

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Journals, handouts, chalk board

 

 

SUMMER SESSION COURSE PLAN

Teaching Artist: Lynn Marie Ruse Phone: 212.995.0149

Art Form: Dance Team: National Educators Workshop

Workshop Day/Date: Tuesday, July Time: 9.30-12.30 (less 1.5 hours for performance?)

Workshop # 2 of 4 (Total sessions) Focal Work: Cunningham

For each activity in a single workshop period please describe:

 

ACTIVITY #1:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

bodies in space, stillness into movement

 

Estimated time for this activity: 30 minutes

 

Describe:

Look at artist dolls (the ones figure drawings are done from). Hand out Xeroxes drawing of flat, disassembled dolls. Cut out and put together in various shapes and configurations. Paste them onto different colors of construction paper.

Hang them in groups of three.

 

Discussion Questions:

What do you notice about these figures? How could you turn them into movement?

 

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Xeroxes of drawing, scissors, glue, construction paper, blue tape

 

 

Activity #2:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

creating a vocabulary, putting the body into motion

 

Estimated time for this activity minutes

 

Describe:

Choose three shapes you like the best and work them into a phrase that you can repeat. If you feel stuck look at some of the notes from yesterday or remember some of the movement words from the flash cards and add them in. Notice the rhythm of your phrase. Try to make it travel in space.

Teaching Artist Name: Lynn Marie Ruse Course Plan Format, Continued

Grab two partners. Find a way to put your phrases together so that they really move through space. Repeat it enough so that we may all look.

Hand each group a cd. Choose all genres of music, including composers from the rep. When each group shows put the music on whatever track they have randomly selected.

 

Discussion Questions:

What role does stillness play in a dance? Does every dance have a meaning? What is abstraction? Is it possible to abstract the human body? Continue feeding in dance terms such as space, travel...

What effect did the different music have on each dance? How did it feel to perform a dance created in silence to music? How might a choreographer and composer collaborate? When do the dancers discover the relationship of the music to the dance? What is the nature of that relationship?

 

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Boom box, music, inc. music from rep (library)

 

Activity #3

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Reflective time

 

Estimated time for this activity: 15 minutes

 

Describe:

Grab your journals and describe both the flow of the lesson (what concepts were covered, what modalities of learning were used...) and the dance observations. How can you reconcile the apparent randomness of the structure with the formal nature of dance?

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Journals

 

SUMMER SESSION COURSE PLAN

Teaching Artist: Lynn Marie Ruse Phone: 212.995.0149

Art Form: Dance Team: National Educators Workshop

Workshop Day/Date: Wednesday, July 21 Time: 3.10-4pm

Workshop # 3 (small group) of 4 (Total sessions) Focal Work: Cunningham

For each activity in a single workshop period please describe:

 

ACTIVITY #1:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Small group discussion

 

Estimated time for this activity: 50 minutes

 

Describe:

Quick glance at the open journals and through your personal journals before we come together formally at 3.10. Use the playing cards from day one to divide people up into groups.

At the close of the discussion ask each group to choose two observations to add to the open journal.

 

Discussion Questions:

*What is one thing you remember from the Cunningham performance?

*"Suite for 5" has been called a ‘spiritual exercise in physical form.’ Can you speak to that statement?

*What is abstraction? Formalism? Structure? Chaos? How are these elements at play in your classroom?

*How is the role of a classroom teacher like that of a choreographer?

*How can you apply chance procedures to your classroom?

 

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

journals, open journals

 

SUMMER SESSION COURSE PLAN

Teaching Artist: Lynn Marie Ruse Phone: 212.995.0149

Art Form: Dance Team: National Educators Workshop

Workshop Day/Date: Thursday, July 22 Time: 9.30-11.15

Workshop # 4 of 4 (Total sessions) Focal Work: Cunningham

For each activity in a single workshop period please describe:

 

ACTIVITY #1:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

order out of chaos, MC style

 

Estimated time for this activity: 10 minutes

 

Describe:

Start with very quick reprise of physical warmup based on action words from the open journal.

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

open journal

 

 

 

Activity #2:

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

Pulling concepts together into an experience

 

Estimated time for this activity: 60 minutes

 

Describe:

Once again divide group into fours with playing cards.

Group One--hearts--creates movement vocab for themselves and for the demonstrator from the figures we made on Tuesday. Once the demonstrator has learned the phrases and moved onto group two, Group One creates phrase for themselves.

Group Two--diamonds--creates pathway for demonstrator by taking a 10 sheets of blank paper that have been photocopied (so there are various lines and spots on them) and creates a chart for Teaching Artist Name: Lynn Marie Ruse Course Plan Format, Continued

time and space by connecting dots, drawing lines for pathways and for stillness (Caroline Brown described this system for use for "Suit for 5"). During lag time between the completion of the chart and the demonstrators arrival to their group, they each choose a dot on the cart for themselves and create short "on the dot" solos for themselves.

Group Three--clubs--creates a sound score using objects found around the room. Practice.

Group Four--spades--creates a set using objects found around the room. Decide where it goes in the space.

Try putting the entire thing together once, then divide half and half so people can observe the dance and discuss in their journals.

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

Demonstrator, playing cards, boom box

 

Activity #3

Purpose of workshop activity in relation to focal work:

journal writing, discussion

 

Estimated time for this activity: 35 minutes

 

Describe:

Write the following on the open journal: Merce Cunningham’s work has been described as a "spiritual exercise in physical form, " people see physics, chaos, pure formalism, extreme abstraction, and nature in his work. With these descriptions in mind, take ten minutes and describe the dance we just made. 10 minutes

Coming back to the center, grab a partner and share your description. Trace the structure of the class. Together, come up with one alternative activity and one alternative discussion question. 15 minutes.

Coming back together as a class, share findings and document. 10 minutes

 

Discussion Questions:

Materials, demonstrators: (please also describe on separate forms)

open journal, personal journal

 
 

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