With academic sessions wrapping up around this time of year, tensions for both students and teachers can be quite high. Commencement and promotion ceremonies are time honored rites of passage that illustrate the achievement of our students (and greater school bodies). However, since these are large and all encompassing events, students can build up stress, unrealistic expectations, and/or feel failed to be acknowledged in these processes. As dance teachers we can build up smaller rituals into the closing of our academic sessions, which can more evenly disperse and alleviate stress, and perhaps offer solace, during these transitionary periods.
Ritual is found everywhere: whether in our daily routines, systemic procedures we take part in, or community/societal celebrations. So much of our existence is made up of countless little rituals that offer structure, meaning, and comfort, in varying degrees of simplicity and complexity. Rituals can be developed from almost anything: to a symbolic walk down a hallway on the way out of the dance studio; holding hands in a “magic circle” while discussing feelings; to dancing a favorite phrase one “last time.” Feeling out any situation and simply trying to connect moments in a meaningful way is a fantastic basis for creating personal rituals for your students.
Inspired by Anna Halprin, I suggest exploring movement scores to develop movement rituals that are special and specific to your students and you. A basic structure for a score may look like:
- Take a core idea (often metaphoric/symbolic).
- Develop a few simple boundaries and instructions for interaction and movement
- Establish markers for a beginning, middle, and end.
Employing this basic structure can provide both a collective and individual experience for your students, which speaks to their personal journeys in a reflexive process.
Want to brush up on Anna Halrpin and her R.S.V.P. Scoring process?
Check out more info here: http://lacontemporary.org/annahalprin/
And if you’re in the SF Bay area this summer, check out inkboat’s celebration of Anna Halprin in “95 Rituals”
***Zackary Forcum is a Dance Teaching Artist, who is attending Mills College Dance MFA Program, and sits on CDEA’s Greater Board***