Part 2: The Dancer and High Artistry
Each Parts are below with their journal entry questions below their corresponding lesson. Please be sure to read through each lesson and answer the questions for BOTH Parts. Please submit Part 1 and Part 2 journal entry questions in ONE document. Deadline: Tuesday Oct. 1st at 10am.
This week- week 3- we are looking at Choreography and the Choreographer and The Dancer.
Part 1: The Choreographer:
Please see the attached pdf for a brief summary of this chapter in your text book and review the reading, viewing and 2 journal entry assignments below. Please submit all questions and answers for both Journal Entries in ONE document, with Week 3 and your name in the subject line of the email. Also remember to include your name on the document.
PART 1: CHOREOGRAPHY and The CHOREOGRAPHER
There are many different ways of going about generating choreography. Choreographers are artists and no artist is alike. Choreographers work in many different ways to come up with movement and how their movement works in a particular space with particular dancers and music (or not). It is highly subjective art form, no one way is the right way. Some choreographers were highly trained dancers, some have never danced at all. What are some ways in which choreographers work to come up with their movement?
-One can use music to dictate the movement.
-One can use improvisation to come up with vocabulary.
-Gestural, pedestrian movements can be stylized into steps and combinations.
-Classical movement, like ballet, can help develop choreography.
-A site specific location can inform choreographic vocabulary.
Important Choreographic Elements– each of these has an influence on how the dance piece is created and how it evolves into a finished work:
-Space (where are you? on a stage? in a location? how big is the space?)
-Time (how long is the piece, is it the length of the music, is there silence, text, etc., how does time play a role in the dance piece?)
-Music (is there music, if so- what mood does it dictate, does the choreography want to work in tandem with the music or in opposition to it, etc.?)
-Collaboration (who is making the dance in the room- dancers, what creative collaborators contribute to the overall mood and finished work- designers: lighting designer, costume designer, sound designer, director of the play if the work is in a musical, etc.)
-Energy (what is the dynamic of this piece- athletic, lyrical, is it high energy, or is it slow and methodical, etc.)
-Levels (are the dancers operating on the same plane, are there levels, do they create high and low levels with their bodies)
-Speed (what is the tempo of the music, what is the tempo of the movement)
Read Chapter 2 in your Text Book.
Video Viewing Assignment:
Please copy and paste the link below to your browser.
This documentary shows modern choreographer Twyla Tharp at work. She is known for choreographing ballets, modern pieces, and is the Tony award winning choreographer for the musical based off of Billy Joel’s music, Movin’ Out.
Viewing Assignment #2
Please copy and paste the links below to your browser and watch each of these videos.
The following four dance pieces vary widely in style from classical ballet (Balanchine’sFour Temperaments, to modern (Ailey’s Revelations), to stylized musical theatre (Bob Fosse’s Rich Man’s Frug) to pop culture (Michael Jackson’s Thriller).
Compare and analyze how each is successful in its development of style and movement, then answer the Journal Entry #2 questions below.
1. George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments: one of the great George Balanchine’s most famous works, this is an example of how abstract lines, shapes, and movement can play a part in classical ballet
video excerpt 1:
video excerpt 2:
2. Alvin Ailey’s Revelations: this is Ailey’s most famous work performed around the world annually. Using spirituals and Gospel, he creates beautiful, deep, and emotional movement.
3. Bob Fosse’s The Rich Man’s Frug from the musical, Sweet Charity: highly stylized gestures and movement tell story
4. Michael Peters’ choreography for Michael Jackson’s Thriller- how iconic movement can play a part in popular culture. These iconic moves and still recreated, copied, and imitated all over the world, today.
Part 1 Journal Entry Questions:
1.What do you think it would be like to work with Twyla Tharp and be one of her dancers? Have you ever worked with a teacher or coach that has a similar style? How so? What strikes you about the way in which Ms. Tharp works?
2. Please write about each of the 4 clips and how each style of dance affected you as you watched it.
- Did you think each piece was successful, did it tell a story or was it an abstract piece?
- How did costumes, lighting, and set design collaborate to accentuate the choreography?
- Did the choreography and its steps emit a certain mood in each piece?
d. Which dance piece of these four resonates with you the most and why? What about its movement is memorable?
Part 2: The Dancer as an Artist
In this lesson, we will examine what makes a great dancer an artist. Beyond training and commitment to their craft, what makes certain dancers stand out? Their artistry: their personal expression of their craft. After you read Chapters 4 and 5 in your text, please view all video assignments and answer the journal questions. Submit for review by Tuesday Oct. 1st, at 10am. Do not attempt to answer the journal questions until you have read and viewed all materials. This is a highly subjective this week, but you must be familiar with the material. Please allow ample time to view all of the material.
Reading Assignment: Chapters 4 and 5 in your text: Dancer and The Audience
The Dancer is the one of a Choreographer’s tools much like the Paints and Brush are a Painter’s Tools
The Space is the Canvas
What are the key elements in becoming and maintaining life as a professional dancer?
Practice- Study in Class
Healthy Lifestyle through Fitness, Therapy and Clean Eating
Therapy: Pilates, Yoga, Alexander Technique, Gyro
Finance and dance- most dancers are dancing for the absolute need to put dance into the world and personal expression through one’s body. This is by no means a lucrative profession.
A Dancer’s Training
Baryshnikov: Don Quixote variation- the turning combo at the end of the piece is a wonderful example of technical precision.
White Knights: Pirouettes: this is a fun scene from the iconic dance movie from the 80s that
The Dancer as an Artist and Storyteller
Baryshnikov: The Dancer and the Dance
Guillem: Force of Nature: watch Parts 1 and 2- the full documentary.
Sylvie Guillem NDT: Petite Mort
Sylvie: Wet Woman- Mats Ek
Tiler Peck: New York City Ballet Dancer
Misty Copeland: 60 Minutes
Misty in Ballet Class:
Misty: clip from A Ballerina’s Tale
Misty: What it Takes
Dancers in different genres of exceptional artistry and style
Fred Astaire Puttin’ on the Ritz
Fosse and Verdon: Who’s Got The Pain?
Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor:
MJ Billie Jean:
Journal Entry Questions Part 2:
- What makes a true artist stand apart from other dancers onstage?
- How often does a dancer need to train?
- What are the most important characteristics that a dancer should possess?
- If you were a choreographer and you were holding auditions, what qualities in a dancer would be important to you? What would you look for and why?
- Have you ever seen someone dance that you would consider to be an outstanding performer? What was so special about them and what made you feel that way about them?
- What makes these dancers (Baryshnikov, Guillem, Tiler Peck, Misty Copeland, Michael Jackson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon) stand apart from others? – give specific examples from each of the artists’ work.
- Which of these artists are you most drawn to and why?
- How can you relate to training, what have you worked on in your lives that has required serious commitment and discipline? Have you seen progress and skill as a result?