Thursday, 2 May 2013

Reflecting on March and April

The Easter holidays meant that March was a short month so I've decided to combine my March and April posts.

During March, I really enjoyed the improvisation and skinner releasing classes with Polly.  I feel like after the stress of my dissertation was out of the way, I was free to really enjoy moving.  Below is an extract from my journal from a class with Polly from the penultimate week of term...

One Move falls seamlessly into another.
Like waves.
Water tumbling over rocks.

Journal entries similar to the one above have become more common for me this year.  I tend to draw stick images and explain my experience very literally so this makes a nice change.

After the Easter break, I was suddenly in my final term at University.  It has come around very quickly!  Below is an image from my journal from my first session back.

I've been spendind the past month preparing for my Viva that is taking place this afternoon.  Hopefully it'll go well.  I'll post my thoughts on it later this week.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Reflecting on February

February feels like another short month, like I haven't done much moving but looking back through my journal, I have actually done a lot in these 3 weeks (We had reading week towards to beginning of the month).

The month began with a Movement Studies class with Natalie.  As we only have 4 months left of our degree, she asked us what our goals will be for these last few months.  My goals are to be more present in my moving and to taske advantage of all that we do.  I will achieve this by doing more self study and reading a lot more.  As our Peer Teaching was fast approaching, we then began looking into teaching strategies.  I did a lot of work on this when I was 16 years old and taking part in the pilot scheme of Youth Dance England's 'Young Dance Entrepreneur' programme (now know as 'Stride!'), so what was discussed was already very familiar with me.  Something that came up for me in these discussions was how I feel like I need to remember who I am teaching.  I've spent over 8 years teaching children but for my peer teaching, I would be teaching my peers; people who already had a lot of dancing experience.  I had my peer teaching assessment on 22nd February and I posted my thoughts on it a couple of weeks ago.  The link is below.

In Andrea's sessions this month, we've been doing lots of phrase work which has been great.  I've really enjoyed these classes and we don't get to do that much phrase based work. 

I thought I'd share a couple of extracts from my personal journal in this post.  The first is from a class with Katye.  We've been doing a lot of work with the head to heel connection and this journal entry is from a session where I felt very 2D and I was struggling to regain a sense of the 3D self.

The next image if from a class with Natalie.  To be honest, I can't really remember the details of this class.  Only that I was working with Joana and we had a discussion about moving, drawing then moving from the drawing.  My journal has very little colour and very little pictures.  I tend to use words instead of images.  I feel like I can make sense of words.  They have meanings so there is little interpretation to be made.  As you can see from my image below, there are a few words on the page but not many which is very unlike me.
February ended with a Skinner class with Polly which I really enjoyed.  I posted about it on Thursday.  Here is the link,
We are now in March and we have 3 weeks left before our penultimate term at Coventry University is complete.  I start my Final Major Project tomorrow afternoon at a local primary school.  I'm going to keep a journal of this so you will be able to read about it soon.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Skinner Releasing Class 28/02/13

Here is an extract from my journal from today's Skinner class with Polly Hudson......

Light touch.
Like the fine, delicate point of a pencil dancing on the page forming intricate patterns.
Feather light touch.
Soft as a whisper.
Moving like sea breeze.

(image from Google images)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Peer Teaching

A few days ago, I completed my peer teaching session as part of my Movement Studies 3 assessment.  For this, our task was to lead a 15 minute session for 3 of our peers.  The session was to be drawn upon our personal interests from the module.  My session was called 'A Shift in Weight' and focused on the last three movement patterns we'd been working on, Homologous, Homolateral and Contralateral.  I decided to create a lesson plan for a 90 minute long lesson where my 15 minutes would sit.

In creating my lesson plan, I asked myself what my perfect lesson would be and I picked out what I enjoy most from sessions that I've experienced both at Coventry University and in other classes.  I came up with the following structure for my lesson.

In the Experiential Anatomy classes, we tend to do a lot of improvised scores and partner graphics, so in my 15 minute session I decided to do something a little different.  I taught my peers a short phrase and asked them to find moments that highlight the 3 movement patterns we were working with.

My personal aim for this session was to remember who I was teaching.  I have 8 years worth of experience teaching children so I needed to remember that my peers already knew a lot and I didn't need to go back to basics.

I feel like my session went well.  It went by very quickly and I felt like I wanted to teach the entire session, not just 15 minutes of it.  I tried my best to remember who I was teaching but maybe this didn't come across as well because my feedback was to continue working with this further.  In terms of the content of my sessions, the feedback I received was good.  I knew that doing a phrase based session was going to be a bit risky but it's something I would enjoy experiencing and enjoy teaching.  I feel like it was a nice change to the partner graphics and improvisation of my peers' sessions. 

If I were to lead the session again, I would like a slightly larger group to work with.  I would also ask more questions are the participants' experiences and get them to investigate and find answers by themselves.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Reflecting on January

January has been a crazy month for a number of reasons.  The month began with a lot of travelling for me which unfortunately meant I missed some classes.  I had my skills tests for my PGCE then I had my interview down in Eastbourne for the course.  Although this isn't exactly related to Movement Studies, I would like to share my thoughts on this topic. 

I've always known that I was going to be a teacher.  Ever since I was 8 years old and I would teach my little sister and her friends in my pretend classroom, and when I was 12 years old I knew I would be a Community Dance Worker.  As far as I was concerned, Community Dance was my destiny!

On the 15th January 2013, I made my way down to Eastbourne and I had to stay in a hotel over night because Eastbourne is so far away.  I was sat in my hotel room which looked out onto the beach and I felt like I could be happy in Eastbourne, that I could really enjoy living and studying there.  I got out all my notes and audit forms to do some preparation for the next day's interview and I suddenly burst into tears.  Absolutely out of the blue, I was in hysterics and for a while I couldn't understand why.  Once I'd calmed down a bit I began trying to find a reason for my emotional outburst.  I looked down at the audit forms on my lap and realised that I hated everything on the secondary school dance curriculum.  How could I be expected to teach something that I had no interest in?  I then began questioning how I got to where I was.  How did I get to be sat in a hotel room, 200 miles from home after applying and taking my skills tests?  How did I get so far without having a single doubt in my mind before now?

After some thinking, I figured out I came up with this plan around last June.  I spoke to my family and friends about it and they all said that my idea of doing a PGCE in Secondary Dance was very sudden and came out of nowhere!  I think I must have got to the end of my second year and had a bit of a panic.  I had one year left at University and I needed to make a plan asap for what I would do once I finish.  I knew there aren't many opportunities in Community Dance and even less money, so my solution was to do a PGCE.  With this decision, I completely lost sight of who I am and what I love.  I'm not a secondary school teacher.  Not at all.  I'm a Community Dance Worker.  I always have been.

I feel like a million things have been staring me in the face for months saying "What the hell are you doing?!"  The fact that my parents contiuously questioned my plan, I've spent months writing my dissertation on community dance and people always seemed shocked when I told them I was going to be a high school teacher.

I've been trying to figure out a way to explain how I was feeling at the time and the only way I describe it is in this analogy... 

Imagine you're at your wedding.  You're about to walk down the aisle.  You've spent so much money on what you think is your dream wedding.  The church is full of your family and friends.  Then suddenly you realise that the man waiting for you at the alter isn't the person you're meant to marry.  He's the wrong person for you.  You're making a huge mistake.

That's how I've been feeling for the past month.  Yes, my interview was a month ago today (I wrote this post the day before I posted it on my blog).  Maybe the fact I finally plucked up the courage to write this blog post today, exactly one month after my interview date is some kind of sign?

I didn't go through with my interview.  I left Eastbourne early the next morning and who knows if I'll ever return there.  I wanted to share my feelings on my blog just in case somebody else is feeling or going through the same thing as me.  Leaving university is terrifying, it really is, but don't ever feel pressured to rush into something that isn't right for you.  Yes times are hard at the moment; there aren't many jobs available, you probably won't earn much money to begin with and you will almost definitely have to move back in with your parents, but it is important to remember who you are and what you love.

Anyway, back to Movement Studies!

This month I've been working with my patterns of movement.  In Katye's classes, I have noticed that I fall into familiar patterns of moving, particularly when travelling across the space and in and out of the floor.  In Natalie's classes, I've been noticing the movement patterns (Homologous, Homolateral etc) in the moving we do in class.  I've been trying to work out which of the movement development patterns are most comfortable for me and if I trying to be more aware of the patterns less available to me, whether my moving will change and if I'll break my movement habits.  The result of this will be explored in next month's blog post.

Reflecting on December

December was a short month in terms of my moving.  I began the month exploring gravity asking questions such as "What is gravity?", "What does it mean?" and "How can I allow gravity to pull through every part of me all the time?".  This echoes back to the moving we were doing last month with the falling score. 

On the 4th December I wrote the following list in my journal in relation to the work we were doing in class...

Feel the body.
The Limbs.  Arms.  Legs.  Head.  Tail.
Organised around one special point.
The navel.
My body isn't 2D.
It has many surfaces.
Remember that.

The rest of the sessions this month were preparing for our group tutorials.  Below are my notes for that tutorial.

Any questions with BMC patterns?
Mouthing Pattern – I don’t really connect with this pattern.  I understand the concept but find it difficult to experience it.

I’ve found that I’ve been noticing the patterns in some of the other classes.

I find blogging and journaling a lot easier and more enjoyable this year.
Witnessing and Hands On work is the most useful to me.  I feel like I learn more through these two practices.
Self study is useful for really understanding something we’ve been doing in class.  Its good to have some time on your own a few days after class to work at your own pace and explore things more.

Movement Principles
The floor phrase demonstrates the movement principles best.

Individual Questions
Books from the module guide
Anatomy Colouring book
Making an Entrance
Body, Space, Image
Wisdom of the body moving
Looked on some of the web resources

Class reading – most interesting and why?
The most recent reading pulled everything together and was enjoyable to read.

The videos of the babies was useful when you got over the cuteness and knew what you were looking for.  Inside the cell, changed the images I have in my head when thinking of my cells.

Blog Posts
Can’t access Anita’s blog.  Nicci’s posts are short but I like the images.

How has my practice developed?  Reflective practice.  Connections across classes.  Which movement principal is most useful?
In other classes I’m using the cellular breathing and yielding at the beginning of classes.  Also through witnessing, I can understand the notion of awareness of self, others and the environment. 

Develop practice next term
Layering the practices in my movement, especially the mouthing pattern.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Reflecting on November

I feel like November was a good month for me.  I had a breakthrough in terms of both my moving and my understanding of the work we’ve been doing.
The month began with workshops with Jenna Hubbard and Park Hill School.  As part of Movement Studies 1, the first years had to teach a small group of children.  I was invited to also take part in this because my final project is teaching based and it was a way for me to make some links with the teacher and with the possibility of working with her class for my final project.  After spending the morning with the children, in particular the group of 5 boys I was working closely with, I found it had an effect on my moving for the rest of the day.  That afternoon, I had studio class with Katye and I felt quite disconnected from the moving we were doing.  I wrote in my journal “I want to be back in my body” and phrases such as “feel my body”, “stretch”, “move fully”, “move like me” and “I am a dancer”. I spent most of the session trying to regain a sense of self and how I usually move.  I also found myself trying to lose the sense of having fun and being child-like and to become a 21 year old dance student again.  Towards the end of the session, we had to travel across the space speaking to a partner about our moving.  I found myself embracing the playfulness of the children I had been working with earlier that day and I was saying “I have a body.  I am a body.  It likes to move.  I like to move.  Stretch.  Play.  Bounce”.  This sense of play is something I have continued to notice in my studio classes this month particularly in Katye’s class and improvisation with Polly.
I feel like I’ve taken in a lot of information this month, especially in Natalie’s classes.  In Experiential Anatomy, we’ve moved on from The Navel Radiation and have been working with the Mouthing Pattern and the Pre-spinal Pattern and have been introduced to the Spinal Yield and Push Pattern.  The Mouthing Pattern is one pattern that I struggle with.  I understand the concept of it but I find it difficult to experience it in my moving.  The Pre-spinal Pattern is much easier for me to experience in myself.  I really enjoy working with a soft spine.  I feel like one movement is pouring into another and it is all fluid and relaxed.  Some notes from my journal say, “Moving in a way that is comfortable for my body yet still pushing it” and “Relaxed but alert body”.
Towards the end of the month, we have been beginning to explore the Spinal Yield and Push Pattern.  This pattern took a while for me to get my head around.  I wrote in my journal about understanding it in my head but not always felling it in my body.  This is something I want to explore more in the last few weeks of term in December.