You have probably spoken with your dancers at length about how to find the calm in the eye of this storm we are enduring. Even young children and adolescents are dealing with the emotional and psychological ramifications of Covid-19. We, as dance educators can use movement and our bodies to help students find a catharsis of releasing fear, stress and anxiety they may be unable to verbalize.
While breathing is an essential part of dance and its connection to it, using this simple and fun improvisation directive can help dancers tap into different forms of breathing patterns while moving freely and releasing stress.
I would first have dancers begin sitting or standing in stillness with their hands on their stomachs through each of the directives to concentrate solely on the breath. Progress when comfortable by moving through space very slowly so they can initially feel the breath patterns as they incorporate movement. Discuss how different breathing patterns can then change the dynamics of the movement.
- Have dancers start moving slowly with an even breathing rhythm. Inhale through the nose/exhale through the nose. Give them enough time to find their own rhythm where breath is initiating the movement.
- Even breathing rhythm- inhale though the nose, exhale through the mouth.
- Long inhale/Long exhale
- Short inhale/short exhale
- Long inhale/short exhale
- Short inhale/long exhale
- (Slow, sustained stretch or stillness) inhale for four counts, hold at the top for 2-4 counts, exhale slowly for four counts
*Notice how the movement quality and dynamics also change with each change.
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