“Dance is an art in space and time. The object of the dancer is to obliterate that.”
― Merce Cunningham
Dance/movement therapy, is a type of therapy that uses movement to help individuals achieve emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration. Beneficial for both physical and mental health, dance therapy can be used for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management. In addition, offers increased muscular strength, coordination, mobility, and decreased muscular tension. Dance/movement therapy can be used with all populations and with individuals, couples, families, or groups. In general, dance therapy promotes self-awareness, self-esteem, and a safe space for the expression of feelings. Improve the body limits and the emotions that drive us in the space and time. There’s really no better method to learn dance than improvisation.
Thanks to Rudolph Laban, modern and contemporary dance use some conceptual tools that allow us to generate movement by the exploration of some of its own basic components: BODY, SPACE and TIME. This is from an abstract perspective, without the need of subjects, images or external inspirational themes. We can improvise to create movements and emotions, exploring the three main categories mentioned above:
BODY: movements of the joints (example: knees, hips, elbows…), movements of the six main segments of the body (legs, arms, trunk, head), movements of parts of those main segments (example: forearms, feet, hands…), movements of the whole body (the center of the body has to be involved), movements that involve the contact of body surfaces between them or with something else (a partner, an object, the floor…), movements that involve supporting the weight of the body on other parts than the feet (on the shoulders, on the back, on the forearms…), and other possibilities concerning movements of the body that you create…
SPACE: it surrounds the body until the limits that our extremities can reach and travel with us across the scenic space. To dance with the whole body considering the space it is necessary to move the center of the body. We can also move parts of the body within this space without involving the center. We can play with diagonals, corners, hot and cold zones.
TIME: time is a feature that affects both BODY and SPACE movements. It gives them length, allows us to dance rhythmically and offers a possibility to construct choreographic phrases with a musical sense.
We work with:
– Beat: is the basic unity and reference for measuring time. It is what we count when defining the length of a movement or phrase. We establish the speed of the beat according to the dance needs. This speed (or frequency per minute) is expressed in numbers and is called tempo.
-Tempo: (or bpm: beats per minute) this is a word borrowed from musical language, but it is used in dance with the same meaning. It expresses the frequency of the beat of any rhythmic pattern, in numbers. For example Tempo= 60 or Tempo = 120. This means that there are 60 or 120 beats in a minute respectively (the higher the number, the fastest the tempo).
-Length: is the amount of beats that a movement lasts (example: walking forward in four beats or ‘counts’, if you prefer…). When dancing rhythmically, it is always dependant of the tempo. When dancing without rhythm we can measure length in seconds (the chronologic units) which is the same as having Tempo=60.
-Phrasing: organizing movements into choreographic fragments that have unity and the feeling of a beginning and an ending.