I found the pictures most inspiring of the exam questions, as I found I was instantly developing movements that involve stretching of the material to create tension and shapes, and I felt that this would work well to answer this question.
To find out more about ‘Atalanta’ I conducted my own research about her using the Internet. I found that she was a girl with attitude, who was athletic and pretty. I felt that this was something I need to reflect in my dance. I thought that I could do this by using strong bold movements to reflect attitude, running and fast movements for athletic and controlled, gentle movements for pretty.
Once I had completed my research I started to brainstorm using my research, the pictures and the quote given to use. For example I thought of ways I could use movements that are based on the figure like running. I decided that I would try to end my dance with a held position resembling the painting.
I decided that I wanted to use freeze frames as I found that Dick Onians is a senior tutor in woodcarving at an art school in London. So I started to create some ideas: –
In my dance I decided that I needed to include movements that suggests gathers and folds, tension, how the high points of the body pushes the material out smooth, repeating and opposing shapes which create rhythms as this reflected the text accompanying the pictures I also wanted to show the outline of the figure. So I tried some improvisation: –
Once I had collected my ideas together I started to produce my motif, I used words out of the question and the image of ‘Atalanta’ to produce my motif. For example;
Once I had choreographed my motif I decided on a starting position: –
I wanted my dance to start centrally so that the audience are immediately drawn to the dancer.
In my second motif I decided to develop my first motif by changing the level I formed an ABAC structure. A was my motif and developed motif and B was athleticism and tension C was folds and gathers and also tension.
I used dynamics of smooth continuous soft movements to show tension and stretching.
I showed Athleticism and attitude by harsh, quick and forceful movements.
I showed folds and gathers through gentle, slow, controlled movements.
The running gesture/image suggested by the figure have dynamics of bold, strong and still.
I have used this running position throughout my dance. I have I have repeated this movement and also developed it.
For my development I changed the levels of my motif for example in the first motif from standing I lent back with one arm reaching back and one leg in front of the other I developed this by kneeling down on both knees and one arm reaching back: –
This development of my motif shows the repeat of the tensions in the material at the high levels, and the diversity of the carving itself.
Down Stage Centre, facing front.
For section B I felt I needed to change the dynamics to make them faster and stronger so it adds variety. I also wanted to ’emphasize’ my movements, reflecting the attitude and athleticism of ‘Atalanta’ in contrast to the smooth shapes of the actual carving.
The music I chose was called ‘Double Dreaming’ by Philip Chambon, I chose this as I thought that parts of the music symbolised stretching of the material. Also when I first heard the music I found instantly developing my ideas to fit the music.
As the question specifically asked for the dance to be performed with ‘any sort of flowing costume’ I felt that the best option would be a dress as this is what ‘Atalanta’ is wearing in the images I was given. I needed to make sure my dress would be comfortable to move in so I did not restrict my movements and also so it was not to long so I could fall and hurt my self. I also decided to change the width of my skirt as the first dress was too wide and this did not create tension.
I also thought, because I lift my skirt over my head that I would wear tight leggings underneath my dress so that the outline of my body has clearly shown.
I performed my dance in the school dance room, as this room fitted the criteria set by the examination board. I started and finished on the dance floor as I felt that the still image of the carving could be reflected by the still starting and finishing position, so it was not necessary for me to choreograph exits and entrances.
My original pathway: –
But I found that I did not use the space back stage right so I decided to make my last sequence travel to that area of the dance space.
To prepare for the performance of my dance I decided I needed to develop my stamina as I thought this would help me to put more energy into my dance for a better performance to do this I started to attend jazz classes. Jazz classes helped me control my movements better and give me the stamina I needed. By doing this, this also improved my confidence to perform in front of people.
To help improve my control of my movements I practiced a lot of ronde-de-jambs to help me with slow sustained movements like bringing leg round with flexed foot.
As the question said ‘body’s high points pushes the material out smooth’ I felt I needed to be more flexible so I can achieve wide angles in the hip joint so my movements can be emphasized under my dress I did this by attending an extra ballet class per week.
I also needed a lot of balance to hold positions for example arabesques. I attended yoga weekly already and this helped with my balance.
During our dance lessons we would often perform in front of each other, so we could share our suggestions to improve our movements and performance for example I found that when I did a backwards roll in my dance to the audience I found that it did not look very neat so I decided to change it so I was facing the side and I was going to hold my skirt. Also this helped to build on our confidence for our examination.
I also performed in front of a mirror so I could see for myself what the movements looked like so I could improve or change them. Because the mirrors showed my movements the opposite way round so I then decided to use a camcorder to video my dance so I could see exactly what I was doing. I found that smaller movements needed to be stronger.
Once I had choreographed my dance I kept repeating my dance so that my confidence and movements would improve and so I made sure that I could put all my effort into dancing instead of remembering the dance.
Indicated by my music my dance had small climaxes throughout. These were when the music had the ‘stretching’ sound. Each time the sound occurred I performed a movement echoing the sound. As these were paced throughout the dance it maintained interest and the ‘stretching’ idea.
My performance and choreography were not perfect. There are things that I could still enhance on but in general I was happy with the finished result during the performance. If I had time I would add more variety of movements and dynamics as I felt some parts of my dance was lacking them.