Dancing with D'Arts - 3. Sequences and dance blocks - disco dance

Duration: 9:08

Transcript – Dancing with D'Arts - 3. Sequences and dance blocks - disco dance

[dance party music playing]

(singing) Work that body. Move that body. Move that body. Work that body. Work that body. Move that body. Move that body. Work that body.

VIRGINIA FERRIS: In this unit, we are building on ideas and using stimulus to create short sequences and dance phrases to string together to create a dance. We will continue exploring those compositional dance elements such as space, time, dynamics and relationships applied in a creative activity. Using the stimulus, such as the 'Howdy Partner' dance from the previous session, we can now build on this and create a more formal dance.

We're going to start at the imaginary disco doors using 4 shapes or poses to say, 'Let me in.' So the imaginary bouncer at the door can say, 'Yes, you can come in.' You can have a carer or a student to act as the bouncer to decide if the shapes or the poses are fabulous enough to allow you to come into the disco.

All right now, Chris here is the style enforcer, and she's looking at you. And she's going to see whether you can come into the party. So I want you to show me 4 fabulous party shapes showing off your outfit. I'll show you what I might do to get into the party. I might go 1 shape, 2 shape. Maybe I might go [gasp] 3 shape. Maybe I might go [gasp] 4 shape, I'm a bit scared.

This tool is to allow students ownership over their own shapes. Remember to suggest different level shapes and different qualities such as a 'smooth' shape or a 'sharp' shape or a 'cool' shape. These shapes can be based on visual stimulus such as an image of John Travolta from the film 'Saturday Night Fever' or an image of people going to a party.

Use descriptions of a disco from the 1970s to suggest ideas like wearing flares or shiny outfits or cool suits. Have fun with this description. Even if the students are not aware of this era, your energy about the era and the style will be interpreted in their movements.

Enter the imaginary disco with attitude by the way of using a head movement or a strut or a move that looks like John Travolta from 'Saturday Night Fever'. This can be also somebody more current like maybe in the students' repertoire like the latest pop star. Perhaps put a time to this travelling locomotor movement such as using 2 lots of 8. So I'm going to strut in, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Using the 'hi' body shape that was created in the previous 'Howdy Partner' warm-up, create a mix and match of the several shapes with friends at the disco. Alternatively, ask your students to create their own disco movements. Today our students interpreted their disco movements and we called them a 'John Travolta arm'.

We also had some 'comb the hair' movements, a 'wobble shake' and 2 'roly poly arms' that were created by Chris who is an assistant. We had a 'spin pointing to a disco ball' and then a final 'disco' shape. Only 2 of these movements were created by the assistant tutor, Chris. These students owned their own movements and were confident about sharing their movements with the class.

STUDENT: [vocalises]


[cheering and applause]

This is also a great way to remember movement, either by using the student's name to remember the movement or create a funny word stimulus such as 'comb the hair'. Now put this sequence into a time frame, for instance, 4 lots of 8 beats. This sequence can then be repeated again at any stage during the dance.

And shape 1.

[dance party music playing]

Shape 2. Shape 3. Shape 4. And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, John Travolta. There, there, point there, there, DJ and me. Ready for Angel's dance, go. Comb! Lachlan, Chris, spin.

To manipulate this sequence and add variation, we can add a transition, such as a locomotive movement. For example, 2 'John Travolta arm' shapes, 1, 2, and then maybe a travel movement between, maybe in 4 or 8 beats and repeat in another direction. This could be something like a 'Bus Stop' move from the 1970s, a step together, step, clap.

But we could also add a change of tempo or levels to this sequence. Build this dance sequence by adding another sequence such as the 'Howdy Partner' dance in different formations or a contra dance, meaning 2 lines that are facing in opposite directions. By adding variations such as different directions, a canon, like a 'Mexican wave', and a change in tempo, making the movement fast or slow, this 'Howdy Partner' dance can take on a whole different feel to create the disco dance phrase.

And go. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, hi friend. And we're going to do a 'howdy'. Go. Howdy! Hi! Hi!

Okay, give me a clap, go, clap, friend, clap, friend. And we do our dodge, go, dodge, 2, 3, 4, and then we did our do-si-do? Yeah. Okay, do-si-do, go, woo!


Woo! Do-si-do, excellent. Then we do-- What do we do?

Spit! Thank you very much, Spit, there's our Spit Bridge. Where's my Spit Bridge?

And spin. Now, can we spin the other way? We could always also have somebody going underneath our Harbour Bridge.

[students chattering]

VIRGINIA FERRIS: Extra additions could be to add a turn or a spin, perhaps spin the wrist, spin the head, spin the body, spin the chair, with a final transition movement to then finish in a group shape. I call this 'final photo finish'. This word stimulus already has different levels of performance quality built in, which students automatically can create without much direction.

This is a short dance which can be created quite quickly in one lesson with the students. Use who's in the class. Today we had 2 boys using wheelchairs with fabulous ability to travel quite fast. This led to us creating a conga line and following them and both exploring different directions and formations. By adding each week another short dance sequence to your disco dance, you can together build a performance piece for the next assembly or school concert.

Things to think about could be the theme. Instead of the disco dance, it could be a 'dance party' theme or it could be a 'beach party' or you could just call the piece 'celebration'. Costumes and props can also be added for dynamics.

[dance party music playing]

And spin.

[dance party music continues]

And Kevin, go. Kevin! And follow the front people. Off we go. Off we go. Tessa!

[dance party music continues]

And photo finish.

[dance party music continues]


[cheering and applause]

LEIGH JOSS: With the students that we had here today, some of the students, actually one particular will not go into a hall, a crowded hall. The fact that we were here today and performed all day in the room was an amazing achievement. Other students actually can't verbalise very well, but they can express themselves with dance. And that's what-- A dance program is so fantastic for our guys because, you know, things that we can't do, this allows us to shine.

VIRGINIA FERRIS: In the next session, we will look at strategies to engage students.

End of transcript