Jessica Runge taught dance to 112 students in grades six and seven
at Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts in London,
Ontario in April and May 2004.
Dance Projects created by 6MB Students:
below is an exercise that was given to one of the classes. Over the
course of four days, about twenty minutes a day was devoted to this
exercise. The students worked in seven groups and each group created
a different thirty-two count quartet.
exercise was designed to extend students' movement vocabulary, enhance
their specificity and ability to attend to details with regard to
movement, challenge their movement memorization skills, provide them
with opportunities for creative work and expression as individuals
and in groups, and, in the end, produce unique dances reflective of
their interests and choices.
From the movements learned in the skills development section of class
led by Jessica, each student selected four
of their favorite steps (such as a head circle, a leg kick, an arm
gesture, or a traveling step).
Two) Working in groups of four, each student taught their
four steps to the other three people in their group. Dance phrases
comprised of sixteen movements were developed.
homework, each student was responsible for creating one of the following
-- a Timing
Chart, a Floor
Plan, and a
such that each group would have one of each type of chart. These charts
specified different timings, qualities, positions in space, and facings
for each of the sixteen steps in each student's movement phrase. Examples
of these charts can be found to the left of this column.
Four) These charts were used by Jessica to create unique
Dance Maps for each student.
Each student's Map instructed them with regard to when, how, and where
they would perform each of the movements in their sixteen step phrase.
Examples of these maps can be found below.
Students worked on their own and in groups to learn how to vary their
original phrases in accordance with the new instructions about timing,
quality, spacing, and facing contained in their Maps.
Six) During Jessica's last class, the students performed
what they had learned at that point. They continued to work on the
projects after her time at the school concluded. Ultimately, each
group of four students created a thirty-two count quartet. A
streaming video of this work will be available soon.
Deborah Kapp, a dance teacher at Pearson, felt that
the project successfully enabled students to learn about new ways
of creating dances.
Martin, one of the participating students wrote: "I
figured out why we did this whole activity... because it is [an] intellectually
challenging way to make interesting dances in which we could learn
and have fun!!"