I chose this piece of music because of the clear-cut and established structure, which helped mark certain moments of my dance and distinguish each section from one an other. Instead of the background music being accompanied by actual words, after the main build up of the song a woman can be heard singing strange hypnotic noises. I think this compliments the idea of freedom in the second part of my dance, because now my persona is free of oppression they can express themselves in whatever way they want to, like the woman singing in the piece of music.
It is noticeable that before, and including the build up to the singing woman that the music is very repetitive. When played along to my dance, I thought it represented the monotony of a slave’s life. However, what could be also heard in the build up was a glimmer of endearing hope, because even though the music represented sadness, the tone stayed bright throughout. In the first section of the dace I wanted to show snippets of the slave’s usual day. I also wanted to keep the energy in the dance gentle and keep a minimum amount of strong energy in it.
This is because I waned the audience to relate to the feeling of being confined and ordered around. Also, it mainly focuses on the idea of freedom being in the form of hope inside the personas head, rather than freedom being expressed in movements which would be associated with such an idea. I begin at centre stage on the floor curled up in a ball to symbolise the small space the slave is kept in, then ease myself of the floor in a swift manner, keeping my head in front of the rest of my body. This shows the audience that the slave is being dragged out of bed in a hostile manner.
I began to inject the fear the slave has on their master into the dance by covering my face with my hands, as one would usually do if they are trying to hide or if they are anticipating physical aggression. I start to travel to downstage right taking large strides and stumbling with every step to show the slave being pushed towards the fields to work. I kept the levels in which I was performing low which emphasises the slave’s inferiority when compared to their master. After three or so strides I immediately begin to use a repeated gesture, which gives the impression of the slave being forced into labour on the field.
I right raise my left arm and when that arm reaches its peak height I bring my opposite arm up in the air to meet and bring them back down towards the ground whilst lurching forwards. This represents the slave working in a field with some sort of tool, which I envision to be a tool for picking at soil. In addition, the heavy lurch forward helps me to symbolise the constant presence of oppression. For the part in the first section where the slave tries to retaliate, I wanted to use movements which would put importance on the levels used in this particular section.
This is because it defined the relationship between the slave and their master, and this was especially important as the audience could not see the master’s actions for themselves-this had to be portrayed in the movements of the slave. In this moment in the dance the slave tries to fight for freedom. I use gestures such as a clenched fist to show my persona is willing to fight oppression, and rise on the tip toes to create a high level, which symbolises rising against the master.
However, I soon cover my face with my hands again and leap backwards in recoil as the slave is overcome with the power of the master. After unsuccessfully trying to stick up of oneself, the slave drops to the floor, to a low level. This new level, lower than the audience has seen the slave before helps to emphasise how lowly the slave is thought of by themselves and their master. I then raise my arms and then bring them back down to my chest resting my flat palms against the other, and this represents the hope the slave still feels even after being beaten by their master.
I keep my body shape compressed into an angular shape whilst lying down on the floor, which shows my persona resting before quickly reaching up with their hands to the sky but then being pushed back down to the floor. I repeat this movement several times to convey the idea of perseverance coming from the slave. I also included some movement pieces such as twisting my body around so my stomach faced upwards, and also sliding my body across the floor. After these movements I swivel around into a kneeling position and clench my fists again and then punch them into the floor below me.
This is again to convey perseverance and to let the audience understand, the slave has not given up their fight for freedom. The transition from section A to section B is very clear as the music transforms into a free drifting melodic chime with violin ___ in the foreground. Here, in this transaction, is where I tried to convey the journey to emancipation. I used a lot of space in this travelling sequence by running around in a circular pathway, because I wanted to show the slave trying to break free of their master’s strict reign.
Whilst running through my circular pathway, I held my right arm out to convey the idea of the slave trying to make the most of the new found space around them. In section B I wanted to mainly use movements that symbolised freedom instead of the daily routines of the slave. After running around in the circular pathway, I lurch forward at the build up of the dance making a fist with my hand, as here I wanted to include one of my dance motifs. For another one of my movements I stand on my tip toes and make a v shape with my arms to represent my persona basking in the space all around them.
I have experimented with a number of movements in the next parts of the dance, because I wanted to show that my persona is free to try out new things and be themselves. I leap onto the floor which is supposed to represent a giddy action of joy and then soon return to a standing position. I further try new moves which the audience hasn’t seen before. For example, I bend into a hunched position and then jump whilst swinging my arms past my legs. I finish the dance with a final lurch forward and repeat one of my dance motifs with a raising of my arms in a v shape. Key positions 1.
Fighting- This position is very varied through my dance throughout my whole dance, and can consequently go unnoticed just like the inner strength of a person-which can’t always be seen by others. The position represents the perseverance of my persona, and their unwillingness to give up fighting oppression. In section A of the dance, this position can be seen when my persona stands up to their master and also when they are crouching down on a low level and they slam their fists down to the floor. I wanted to use this a reminder that even though my persona has been beaten many times, they are not going to give up their search for freedom.
Prayer- This position also varies throughout the dance to show hope and faith, and this also ties with my first motif 3. Freedom- This is my main motif which has been developed with different levels and dynamics. The main meaning of this position is the act of embracing freedom. I performed this gesture relatively weakly in terms of dynamics, in section one. The reason for this was because my persona, the slave couldn’t fully embrace freedom under the rule of a master. To make this move effective in the first section, I used a range sad facial expressions in order to increase my projection to the audience.
It was important, this movement stood out to the audience as it fully represents one of the fundamental ideas behind my dance idea whim is emancipation. In the final section, this movement is seen very differently. For example, the pace in which the movement is performed is quicker and at times, at a higher level. For example, when the music reaches is climax and I break into the freedom movements; I rise up on my tip toes performing the movement with a strong energy. This is because I wanted to show the audience how exhilarating freedom feels my persona.
Also, I wanted the developed motif to juxtapose against the one I used in the first section. Evaluation I decided to create my dance around the original motifs I came up with, these were mainly gestures which represented frustration, desperation, hope and of course, freedom. The movement materials I came up with next derived from my original starting point which was the diary of a slave who was involved in the West Indian Slave Trade. Once I was happy with my ideas I listened to the music I intended to dance to and let my mind create possible moves in the dance.
I interpreted my music to have three sections, the first is the base, the second is the build up and the final section I labelled the pinnacle part of the piece. I fit this in with my dance having the first section as the one where my persona is being oppressed and calling this section A, having the second section of the music transform into a transition between the previous section and the one to follow, and finally having the last section of the music as my section B, where the slave is at last emancipated.
I think the movements I used in section A informed the audience of my dance idea more than the movements in section B. I think this because, in section A, I used more realistic movements whereas in section A my dance material was more towards the abstract spectrum in order to communicate the feeling and idea of freedom rather than what one might do if they were free. This was effective in my point of view, because it broke up the dance and I thought it was refreshing to watch a piece that was both slightly surreal and realistic at the same time.
It also kept my imagination flowing as I was never bored when concocting the next part of my dance, as I could use a new or different dance technique that I had not used before. I was very pleased with how section A turned out, because I think it communicated the hardships of being a slave, and already, so early in the dance I could see the personality of my persona coming through. I used all of my main movements in the beginning without crowding the first section or overcrowding other movements.
Section B was a slight struggle for me as I wanted to use large, strong, dramatic movements but the ones I had created in my head were hard to physically perform. For example, the leaps I wanted to do were not doable in my range of skill. However, I overcame this by performing small leaps but with the maximum amount of energy I could exert into it. If I could work on this dance further I would love to explore my persona actual journey to emancipation in much more detail; I feel their story had to be cut short due to time and I think their is a lot more that could be told.
Another reason for this is that I want to delve deeper into the hardships fighting for freedom brings, as I think I definitely skimmed over that aspect in my dance. Also, I would like to edit the music, as it is too long for my dance. Overall, I think I communicated the main idea of my dance clearly. Aided by my motif developments, I think the movements I used reflected the emotions of persona as well.
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