Developing Creative Movement & Dance Skills

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson we discuss ways to develop creative movements and dance skills. We also elaborate on the nascent field of dance therapy and some systems used to improve these abilities. We also touch on safety practices to follow.

Creative Movement and Dance Skills

Creative movement is defined as a way for people to express themselves through dance and music in order to stimulate the imagination. While creative movement classes are often associated with theater productions as a way to broaden the minds of children, these days many adults, specifically the elderly, are finding joy in this concept. Dance skills combine physical skills with mental skills and offers social interaction as well, and creative movement builds on this and adds personal expression into the fold.

Dancers
dance_poster

Contemporary Dance

When it comes to developing creative movement and dance skills contemporary dance, also known as modern dance, is pretty much one of the gold standards. This dance emphasizes relaxation and freedom as its hallmarks.

The Release Technique

The Release Technique involves the dancer literally releasing unwanted tension while moving creatively and dancing.

Body Mind Centering

Another method in modern dance is known as Body Mind Centering (BMC) which incorporates yoga into the movements and dance routines. It also may use exercise balls and deep breathing techniques.

Contact Improvisation

Contact Improvisation is a technique by which two dancers have a dialogue or conversation with each other through movement, ignoring the outward appearance of the dance.

The Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method is a system that increases awareness through movement. It involves thinking, feeling, sensing, and moving and the dancer's self-image. While there are no incorrect movements so to speak, there are moves that serve specific functions.

Mettler's Approach

Mettler was a stickler for not using pre-recorded music but integrating voice and instruments live during the dance. She also was a big believer in dancing with one's environment, whether indoors or outdoors. She felt dance should be organic and happen naturally without being forced in its movements. The dancer should really feel the dance with kinesthetic senses. Mettler was famous for having large groups dance together in unison and feed off each other's creativities and movements.

Flying Low

Flying Low is a method of creative movement that first alternates expansion and contraction of the self and second alternates standing and going to the floor.

The Lebed Method

The Lebed Method, also known as Healthy-Steps, is a trademarked combination of dance steps that are low-impact. It is choreographed to music, thus combining both creative movement and dance.

This method of developing creative movements and improving dance skills is being taught to survivors of cancer and other patients who are frail of body. While it can not cure cancer, it has been shown to improve the balance and gait of recovering patients. This is crucial in preventing future falls.

Martial Arts and Low-Impact Exercise

Other techniques actually meld the martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan into the dance. Tai Chi is known as a low-impact exercise, as opposed to high-impact exercises such as running and basketball. Other low-impact exercises which can be beneficial to seniors with less stress to their joints include swimming and using a rowing machine. This is important because it reduces the risk of injury and becoming bedridden.

Ballet

Who hasn't been mesmerized by the grace and athleticism of a ballet dancer leaping across the floor and into what seems like flight? Developing creative movement in ballet involves learning strict fundamentals first through repetition and stretching. Then when the dancers have developed these fundamentals they can become creative and expressive to the audience.

Lyrical Dance

Lyrical dance is a dance created by combining ballet, contemporary, and jazz dances, which are three of the most creative dances when it comes to movement.

Types of Music

We most often associated the incredible creativity of ballet with classical music. However, in today's world, things have changed. All types of music can be used for developing creative movement and learning dance skills and they run the gamut from Disney songs to even hip hop.

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