By Jacqueline M. Smith-Autard
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Additional resources for Dance Composition: A Practical Guide to Creative Success in Dance Making
One side of the body could be considerably more emphasised than the other on the side step and perhaps answered by the other side being emphasised on the closing step, giving the whole an asymmetric flavour. Further variation could be achieved by altering the body flow – body parts moving in succession or simultaneously. Using qualitative features The qualities or dynamic content of the motif could be developed and varied at the same time as, or apart from, the above actions. The motif could be repeated faster or slower, with acceleration and deceleration; one part of it could be sudden and the other sustained.
Feeling’ a static shape can cause a sensation of movement and, unless the composer wishes to use absolute stillness for its own sake, every momentary pause or hesitation which retains body shape should create an illusion of movement. This is done by the dancer’s feel of stretch, contraction or rotation continuing on into the space or into, or around the body, and by the dancer’s focus. The movement in a body shape either lives or dies and the composer should be aware of each body shape as part of the material content which communicates the idea.
This should be done while walking forwards four steps – head moving from low to high – with a firm slow quality throughout. The hands finish close but not touching It can be seen from these two examples that by having the basic symptomatic pattern in mind, the composer, through analysis, can identify what it embraces in terms of movement content, its action, the qualities embedded in the actions, its spatial usage and then use these aspects in his/her own way enlarging them, highlighting parts of the actions (eg, the clasping hands), add actions (eg, the trunk movement), alter the rhythm and dynamics or the spatial form.