To add innovations, expand curricular offerings for my Dance 534/634 course, Performance Improvisation. To create a learning / collaborating atmosphere that promotes courageous and imaginative student behavior and choice-making, while developing ways to investigate story-creation and story-telling through performance with butcher paper to create new forms. In working with Tom Lee, a puppeteer and educator based in Chicago, my students will be asked to encounter new challenges in our creation process. The primary research/ learning questions are 1) How do students activate their creative potential and confidence while honing skills as a improvising performer? 2) What are methods that challenge and support this process? 3) What is the relationship between practice and performance, and how might additional, (and different) opportunities for performance bring clarity and purpose to student’s ability to create improvised performance? These questions will be addressed throughout the semester through studio practice and analysis (reflecting on the process in writing and discussions), through experimenting with a myriad of improvisational techniques, highlighted by studying with Tom Lee.
Tom Lee's sessions with my Performance Improvisation class offered new methods and practices of creation. We learned how puppet artists learn how to animate and manipulate objects, through intensive improvisational practice. We practiced methods to enhance our sense of moving through the environment as soloists and as ensembles. We learned skills of cooperation and collaboration from novel points of view. We increased our skills of observation and practiced modes of providing feedback and critical analysis. We learned about the history of puppetry. The students were tasked with undertaking improvisational research with paper, while examining the possibilities offered by unfamiliar forms.
We used these experiences and new skills in a video session at The Duderstadt Video and Performance Studio in December 2019, creating an hour long performance. This was an exceptional capstone experience for our class. The students were able to get professional videos of their improvisation work.
I am working with a student now to edit our video. We will post on Dept of Dance website, I will add to my professional website and the students will use for their individual promotional materials and websites.
I will send the full length video file separately.
Advice to your Colleagues:
Lessons learned-- always seek unconventional and unfamiliar approaches and information into the classroom. No challenges. This was a very successful collaboration.