Lecture/Demonstration to whole group. Drama/Movement activities in small groups
To dramatize and/or choreograph the feelings produced by a piece of architecture. (See Goals I, II, and IV; See Objective 1.)
Rudolph Laban invented a well known movement system. He divided movement into three parts, each with two qualities: speed (slow or quick), direction (indirect or direct), and strength (light or strong). There are eight major movements which combine these three qualities: FLOAT (slow, indirect, light); SLASH (quick, indirect, strong); GLIDE (slow, direct, light); WRING (slow, indirect, strong); DAB (quick, direct, light); THRUST (quick, direct, strong); FLICK (quick, indirect, light); PRESS (slow, direct, strong). [I will demonstrate, then get all students to participate from their “place in space.”] We will attempt to use this system to analyze architecture with body movement. (NOTE: Do not get hung up on this system. The point is not to learn Laban’s system, but to internalize/physicalize qualities of architecture! Laban’s movement system can help guide, but improvised movement with a period of reflection would also work.) The slides will be projected and we will experiment as a whole group, then break into small groups to move to each slide. EXAMPLE 1: Movement to slides 3, 4, 5, United Church of Christ on Dixwell Avenue—my interpretation of the building is a combination of quick, direct, and light movements with quick, direct, and strong movements—therefore, a mixture of dabs and thrusts. EXAMPLE 2: Movement to slide 29, The Gate at Grove Street Cemetery—my interpretation of the building is a combination of slow, direct, and strong, and quick, direct, and strong—therefore a mixture of presses and thrusts.
From these movements I will ask the students to form groups of 4-6 students to develop a dance/story/drama around a particular piece of architecture. Students should imagine the kinds of characters which would move the way they have been moving and create a short story or an overall theme with a title. EXAMPLE 1: Title for story to the United Church of Christ—”The Crystal Goddess”; Story: Born from a volcanic eruption, the crystal goddess and her brothers and sisters, rule the kingdom from a structure built on top of the volcano. They spend their days dabbing and thrusting there way through the universe to help people in need or turning bad people into crystals. EXAMPLE 2: Theme for Gate at Grove Street Cemetery: “A Machine”; The story/dance: locked in a machine destined to continue the same press and thrust movements forever. The machine makes thick, papyrus pizza.
The session concludes by observing and discussing each group’s work.