Admiring the problem

Dance Exchange adjunct artist Ami Dowden-Fant reports back on the conclusion of the course she and Liz taught at Wesleyan University. Read about their first couple of days here.

Saturday January 15, 2011

On this sunny, icy morning,  Liz and I were greeted with exciting news: an additional student is flying straight from Korea so he can be part of our course! We were delighted that someone was willing to end their vacation early to join the class.

Liz and I began class today with conversation, movement, and a small review of Saturday. Liz started with the question, “What image can you pull from the reading?” The students were required to read The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner and complete a small assignment based on the first chapter. Liz and I watched carefully as the students described images from the text. They were completely unaware that they were using physical gestures as they were speaking. As we listened and watched each other explain our images, we built a movement phrase using physical gestures about the metaphors in the first chapter of the The Beak of the Finch.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday’s lecture was given by Brian Stewart, a physicist on faculty at Wesleyan. He spoke on the history of Newton’s laws, attractors, atoms, and the relationships between physics and astronomy. Brian talked much about the movement that arises within space and how an object’s velocity interacts with gravity. The class was directed to key in on the physical gestures Brian used while speaking.

After a long day of thinking, asking questions, and generating movement, we closed out the day by exploring movement tools like theme, variation, and Equivalents to bring the day’s lessons together and relate them back to our everyday practice and writing. Liz provided  bridges to translate these tools to the students’ academic disciplines and their lives.  At the end of the day, student Ashleigh Brilliant commented, “I don’t have any solutions, but I certainly admire the problem.”

Monday January 17, 2011

Today is the last day of class for this week, so we asked the students if they could come in early to have breakfast and discuss an assigned reading from The Book of Nothing by John D. Barrow. The students discussed what interested them about the book, such as how the number system is universal,  and they expressed their eagerness to learn how to read the hieroglyphics in the book.

Because iPads play a role in Time Has Set the Table for Tea: A Matter of Origins Project, which we’ll be performing at Wesleyan in February, Information Technology Services came in to give the students an iPad tutorial. Liz is interested in bridging the gap between technology and dance, and how this bridge can feed education. In “Tea” the iPads serve as a way to deliver information to the audience, so testing out methods with our students was extremely useful.

Mary Jane Rubenstein was the final professor to visit our class. Right off the bat, the students noticed the animated actions and high energy that fueled the lecture.

This weekend provided the opportunity for multiple discoveries and rediscoveries through simply noticing what happens in a particular moment. The students in the course were willing to let their research and findings lead them, and I think they will have an adventurous term together, carrying their discoveries in the course into their academic disciplines and other areas of their life.

About Guest Blogger

Dance Exchange intern and/or guest blogger.