Getting dancers to emote and show something on their faces is a daunting task for the most skilled dance instructor. Encouraging dancers to smile, SMILE,
will not get the response you might be looking for. Young dancers often have difficulty (due to nerves, youth, etc.) bringing an emotional feeling into their movement. This exercise, used by the acting greats such as Stella Adler, is called SENSE MEMORY. It involves the actor/dancer recalling a time or event that elicited a strong emotion. It can be ANY emotion--happy, scared, excited, etc. And, it is very simple to do! It might seem like a small exercise, and all too easy. But it can be realy helpful when trying to get your dancers to feel emotion during a dance performance. It also help to have them see the affect that story telling has on their facial expressions, try video taping the exercise.
TIME: 2 minutes/child
Having a child tell a personal monologue can help them get in touch with real emotion. Stories they tell can be uplifting or sad, but 2 minutes or less. To make it more fun, the child can pick a picture from a magazine the night before and dress as closely as possible to the picture.
During class, the child poises as the model in the picture while telling a story that impacted their lives. For example:
- Telling about their Christmas morning
- Telling about their last day of school
- Sharing a secret with a friend
- Having a surprise party
- Getting a new pet
- Moving to a new house
- First day of school
- Having a new sibling
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