Movement FAQ

June 18, 2018

What is Movement?
– All motion that the performer creates and depicts through postural and gestural shaping including efforts, energy and dynamic qualities that travel through time and space.

What is Vocabulary?
– Vocabulary is the entirety of “what” the performer is asked to do from a movement perspective. This includes the body as it partners with the equipment.

What constitutes range and variety of skills?
– A simple traveling mode to variations on that move through running, hopping, speed changes, etc.
– Postural and gestural changes.
– Dance steps/phrases
– Jumps, turns, leaps
– Weight-sharing
– Partnering
– Skills in/out of the ground
– The engagement of equipment and the partnering with that equipment.
– Dynamic effort gradations.
– Each change to a given move expands the vocabulary consideration.
– The manner in which these skills are combined can lend greater depth to the vocabulary within a choreographic moment.

Why is this important?
– Because of the nature of competition, we measure and compare the development of the body/equipment skills among/between the competitors to determine ranking in that caption. The depth of the vocabulary and the technical/expressive achievement becomes the benchmark against which our standards grow and evolve.
– It brings greater diversity and interest to the programs contributing to both the effect and compositional value.
– The goal of each class is to maximize the potential of the performers, and help them to take the appropriate learning steps from Class A through Open Class to World Class levels. This comparison process sets the standard for achievement.

What constitutes depth and range of impact between body and equipment?
– When body and equipment combine, balance, centering and manipulation of the equipment take on a whole new responsibility as the “partnering” of body & equipment evolve.
– The range and depth begin as simply as spinning while traveling and/or while reshaping the body in postural or gestural moments.
– The depth and range evolve when the equipment is manipulated on a body that shapes, turns and travels simultaneously.
– At times the body and equipment will function in an equal and inseparable display of motion (you may hear a judge use the word synergy or synergistic).
– All of these variations and HOW they are combined contribute to the depth and range of the impact between body & equipment.
– Instructor should always write to showcase the performers’ skills. Greater depth of vocabulary requires greater depth of training.

What is Excellence?
– The ACHIEVEMENT of all the qualities in the vocabulary reflects the performers’ depth of training. This achievement can only be recognized through the choreographic display of movement and equipment. In that regard, the choreographed vocabulary becomes the showcase in which the performers demonstrate their skills. The measure for excellence is always based upon the fundamentals, principles and effort qualities demonstrated within each move.

What are Movement fundamentals?
– Fundamentals are the basic techniques & foundation of the training process.
– Fundamentals are the basis upon which the body acquires that heightened level of skill found in the dancer or the athlete.
– Fundamentals develop musculature, flexibility and expand the range of rotation in the hip and shoulder socket thus preparing the performer for expanded movement responsibilities and equipment manipulation.

What are Movement principles?
– CENTERING: Maintaining a sense of the body center holds the performer together in motion. The ability to hold and organize oneself around one’s own physical body center (pelvis).
– GRAVITY: This is the force that holds the performer down on the earth. The performer must learn to work with gravity to his/her advantage because it can otherwise inhibit movement.
– BALANCE: This aspect helps the performer to work with gravity and is MORE than the ability to stand on one leg. The performer must maintain an inner balance of the whole body. It is a tension of mutual support among all the body parts that creates a totality of the body.
– POSTURE/ALIGNMENT: This is closely linked with centering, gravity and balance and will improve automatically as the performer develops the first three elements. It is important to change the perception of the body for there is a wide discrepancy between what FEELS GOOD and what LOOKS RIGHT.
– SHAPING involves using the body as an instrument to communicate feelings and ideas in patterns of movement. GESTURAL changes include principles of flexion, extension and rotation and apply principally to arms, legs, and head or to isolated body areas while POSTURAL changes involve the full torso in shaping changes.
– MOVING THROUGH SPACE: This is an awareness of the space around you, your kinesphere and the pathways you will use in traveling and the area in which patterns can be created and executed. Sometimes it is not the destination but the motion itself, which is important. Such motion emphasizes change and allows freedom of interpretation and concentration on the ACT OF MOVING rather than on the result of reaching a specific destination.
– WEIGHT FORCE AND MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT/CONTROL. The means whereby quality changes can occur within any movement effort.
– INITIATION OF MOVEMENT. Knowing where each effort begins within the body. (i.e. an arm gesture begins in the center of the back; a kick is an action that initiates within the hip socket, etc.)
– ARTICULATION. Here the performer must define and achieve each individual aspect or detail involved in any move or effort.

What is dynamic range of efforts?
These efforts exist in every move. It is the GRADATIONS within these efforts, and the combinations of these efforts that increase dynamic qualities and range (see below). Efforts include:
– SPACE: Changes in the quality of spatial focus or attention either direct or indirect. There are six spatial tendencies: up, down, high, middle, low, in place.
– TIME: Changes in the quality of time in movement rely on ranging from sustained or slow through fast or quick. The quality of prolonging time is termed sustained. The quality of urgency or quickening in time is termed speed.
– WEIGHT: Changes in the quality of the body weight ranging from light or soft through heavy or strong.
– FLOW: Use of breath impacts the flow of energy significantly and impacts changes in the quality of the flow of tension. Movement ranges from free and open to bound (controlled by the degree of, or release of, tension in the arms and upper body.) The “going with the flow” of movement we call free; the restriction of the movement flow we call bound.
– RHYTHM (the combination of weight and time) is an important expressive quality because it is the pulse or beat of motion and is paramount in creating dynamics. Motion may occur as a direct response to a recurrent beat or rhythmic pattern in music. The chief purpose of motion is the translation of rhythms and dynamics into physical action.

What are dynamics and dynamic range?
– All Movement can be qualified in terms of the essential EFFORTS of space, time, weight and flow of energy (see above). Inherent in these is the control of breath.
– Through the gradation of these efforts, DYNAMICS are created within each phrase. The degree of variation in each of these efforts, considered in totality, comprise the DYNAMIC RANGE. This learned skill is credited in both vocabulary and excellence and manifests on the upstairs sheets through enhanced musicality.

What is meant by development of breath?
– BREATH is crucial to motion not only to bring more oxygen to the body but also to give equipment motion fluency and harmony.
– Breath will impact on the quality of motion. A phrase of motion “with breath” has a controlled extension in time, a clear beginning and end no matter how fast or how slow it is. It moves with freedom and harmony.
– A phrase “without breath” looks stiff and mechanical (no breathing space).
– Students often have a tendency to “hold their breath” and thereby conversely impact on the quality of the equipment achievement. Proper breathing must be taught, practiced and applied.

What is development of muscle, tension, flexion and rotation?
– This is a training process designed to heighten the strength and control of the muscles, and develop greater flexibility and rotation range within the joints.

What does it mean when referring to training to support the vocabulary?
– The vocabulary is the showcase to display training and skills.
– Performers require the proper training in order to fully achieve the skills within the vocabulary.
– “Emulating” a move without the proper technique or muscular development can prove dangerous to the performer and does not earn scoring credit.

What is the difference between training and rehearsing?
– Training conditions and develops the body to a heightened level that allows the performer to accomplish challenging skills.
– Training establishes the exact technique behind each dance skill that will be utilized in the vocabulary.
– Rehearsing is a repetition of the work and most often builds improved timing and confidence but MUST NOT BE CONFUSED as a means to establish the specific techniques involved in good training.

What is the difference between training and warm-ups?
– As stated above, training develops a heightened physical level and establishes proper technique.
– Warm-ups condition the performer and prepare the mind and body to achieve the challenges within the show.
– Warm-ups should contain a reinforcement of the techniques established within the training program.

Why are we looking at difficulty and risk in the Independent World Class?
– This is intended to better assess depth of vocabulary and its achievement in the Independent World Class. We’ve noticed over the recent years that with the physical differences that come with more mature performers come greater abilities and more extreme skill-sets. It was felt that these super-advanced skills have not always been recognized prompting the separation of the Scholastic and Independent World Class sheets. Once this separation occurred, it allowed for class-specific bullets in the comparative questions. Adding the bullet was meant to acknowledge what was already happening in this class. It is a reaction to choreographic patterns that have been established over recent years in the Independent World Class. This is NOT intended to shift or drive current choreographic trends, but to make sure that reward is fully available to the efforts we are already seeing in this class. Demand has always been inherent to both sub-captions. This bullet heightens our awareness to these aspects of depth.

We immediately think of “dangerous” skills combining strength and agility as “risk.” However, be reminded that there is a range within “risk” that includes other considerations of depth (i.e. proximity, endurance, speed, and so on)