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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Default Improving my Improv (cabaret style) ???

    So I took the challenge, before my summer got crazy, and started doing a little bit of improvisational dance every night, and before long, it branched out and now I spend a great deal of time improvising. I love it! Thanks!!!

    Now here's a question for the American Cabaret style dancers. (I separate us because our music is different.) So I'm dancing to Jallalledin and Kochak and that kind of sound. That's what moves me in my American Cabaret mode. Now, how do you go about creating some kind of STRUCTURE -- or do you -- with your improv dance?

    Delilah told us once that the routine should be like a story, with rising action, a climax, and falling action. She told us to think about coming in and GRADUALLY upping the dramatic stakes, until finally you EXPLODE with a fantastic finish. I'm reading Doris Humphrey's book on the Art of Making Dances, and trying to put some of that into play as well.

    But how does this work, in reality? I usually seem to be trying to save my "fanciest" or fastest stuff for the most dramatic parts of the end of the music, but I still don't feel like I'm quite getting it.

    Any thoughts??

    Also, how do work on improving your improvisational skills, like to prevent a lot of repetition and actively remembering to do level changes and such. I'm happy with the fact that I can improvise a dance to a whole song. Yay! Now I'd like to make the dance look interesting. Does that make sense?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member Khaira's Avatar
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    Hi there!

    How to improve Your impovising skill? You must first think why do You need or want to improvise. For me improvising has three sides:
    1. To relax and "plunge" into music, to let go and have fun.
    2. To explore the bodys potencial. This is not for performance, its for class-room experiment. The thing is if acting according to the vesrsion nr.1 You most probably do all the moves the body knows, loves and prefers, the "parasits". The moves Your body is most comfortable and safe with. So if You improvize You must know Your "safe" moves( to know them ask your teacher to look at your improvisation during class or record it youself and analyse the video) Then try not to incorporate any of these and to seek for NEW WAYS to dance to the music. Which are other jet unused movements that body can execute? If their new to You, You probably wont feel safe doing them, but only this is how you cultivate Your bodys movement vocabulary and potencial.

    Under this theme, there is another importent subject. This is quality and thythm. Two of many tools of dance compostion. If You give Yourself another task, apart fron the mobement vocabulary, try to think of soft-flowy moves and srtong accented moves. Then try to combinate these in Your dance, try to make phrases(a phrase has a certain beginning, central part and an ending with a culmination somewhere in these three or two) to make Your dance look more DYNAMIC. The same goes for rhythm. Do not always follow the rhythm of the music. Add slower parts or faster ones for not remaining weaker then the music. This means if I look at a dance and when the rhythm of the dancer is the same as the music, then its nice and estetic to watch but gets boring soon.

    To sum it up, CONTRASTS are what make dance dance.

    3. Using improvising to make a choreography. This is what some advanced dancers are using. If You want to compose to a certain music, then You take it and improvise to it, and while doing that trying to remember all the exciting and interesting parts that happen. So afterwards You keep these in the time of the music that it happened and then fill in the "empty parts", that is from one exctiing move until the next there has to be something more neutral.

    This if partly from my own experience and partly from my choreography studies in uni.

    Cheers

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    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    This is my opinion about improvisation. It is not the straight answer that Aziyade is looking for.

    Improvisation is not fun all the time!!!. I also disagree that it is only for classroom and not for performance. I have seen amazing imrpovisational dances.

    I categorize dance performance into two types, Choreogrphed and improvised. For me improvisation means creating some thing new, coming away from familiar technique. It is about mixing different elements and to react to the music then and there. Improvisation means not copying a set of moves or combinations you have learned. It is about creating something new from your knowledge base. In an improvisation, things just develop. You don't make the dance, dance just happens. Your improvisation looks dynamic, when you have enough knowledge base about the music you are dancing to ( example, music structure, style, flavour, any cultural contexts, rhythms used etc.,) and the dance technique. Improviations can be as dynamic as a choreographed pieces. Personally I like good improvisational pieces better.

    I would like to share these words from a famous dancer instructor( I have reacently studied with) when I asked her to define dance This is what she said "You don't make the dance, you dance the dance. A dancer should have charisma, good rhythm and understanding every aspect of the music she dancing to. Big, bold, more, doesn't mean the best. Fifi uses 5 - 7 moves and she moves peoples with her dance. She is one of the best dancers and most watched and admired dancers in the world. So do you understand now? What dance means?"

  4. #4
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    Not being a professional, this is just my take on things.
    If you are using canned music, know all the parts, rhythms and use it as a frame work so you know what types of moves could be used with the various parts of music. I sometimes think Improv for performance is dancing within a predetermined musical context. On the other hand, at home, I just put music on and dance to it and have fun. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but i have fun. eventually, I'll be fully comfy with it.

  5. #5
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janaki View Post
    Fifi uses 5 - 7 moves and she moves peoples with her dance.
    It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.

  6. #6
    Member Khaira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janaki View Post
    This is my opinion about improvisation. It is not the straight answer that Aziyade is looking for.

    Improvisation is not fun all the time!!!. I also disagree that it is only for classroom and not for performance. I have seen amazing imrpovisational dances.
    Hi!

    Improving IS a means for performing, I do it all the time! Improving improvisational skills is just a great exercise in classroom. Because then You can stop any time and just think back to what You just did and analyze it.

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I was taught that with a sound vocabulary of movement, one can respond emotionally and physically to the music without having to worry about what to do when, and thus intellectualizing the experience. I'm old and hate memorizing choreographed movement with a purple passion, so it is improv for me.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 11-11-2007 at 10:23 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I was taught that with a sound vocabulary of movement, one can respond emotionally and physically to the music without having to worry about what to do when, and thus intellectualizing the experience. I'm old and hate memorizing choreographed movement with a purple passion, so it is improv for me.
    I wish I had learned using the sound vocabulary. Most of the early teachers I took from either, had routines you learned to move on or they made up things for you to follow. Its only recently that I've been able to do more of this with help from Yasmina Ramzey's two DVD set on dancing to live music and Keti Sharif's video on music. It also helped to take a 2 hour workshop on Takseem from someone who took time to talk about improvisational takseem and what sounds evoke what type of move. I need this myself.

  9. #9
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Also, how do work on improving your improvisational skills, like to prevent a lot of repetition
    Only following the beat can get you in a repetitive rut. As it's applicable to the piece of music, follow the melody, transition to the rhythm, to the beat, pick out individual instruments and dance to that particular texture and quality...

    actively remembering to do level changes and such.
    Try following the pitch as it raises and lowers and mirror that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Only following the beat can get you in a repetitive rut. As it's applicable to the piece of music, follow the melody, transition to the rhythm, to the beat, pick out individual instruments and dance to that particular texture and quality...


    Try following the pitch as it raises and lowers and mirror that.
    I did my first proper improved dance at a hafla recently (- I've done bits & bobs for school shows etc but this was my first proper solo at a hafla).

    I listened to the music several times everyday & I danced it. Sometimes it sucked sometimes it felt good. When it sucked I just walked it through to the beat so that was drilled in to my skull if nothing else I wouldn't lose the beat with my feet.

    After playing round with it I had decided on the start & finish especially the pose. Rather than leave it to chance I added a little structure to what I was going to do. So I didn't get in to hip drop hell.

    The music was phrased so I chose to accent each differently, eg travelling, circles, drops, saiidi. So I felt I had somewhere to go with it. I think it went ok

    I've not tried this method yet but it seems interesting.
    http://www.emmapyke.co.uk/pdf%20file...20To%20Toe.pdf

    If you know you have a tendency to stick to one or two moves try dancing the music with only one move OR exclude a move, eg no shimmies, just to get your brain out of a rut.
    Last edited by Eve; 11-13-2007 at 02:08 PM. Reason: spelling no 'a' in tendEncy

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