Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2001 Motif Symposium Proceedings - "Movement Session: Traveling"

Submitted by Charlotte Wile – March 14, 2003

[This posting contains a selection from Proceedings of the Inaugural Motif Symposium, Symbols of Our Community…Moving Forward with Motif, August 2-4, 2002, Held at The Department of Dance, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, Sponsored by Language of Dance Center, USA, Motus Humanus, The Ohio State University Department of Dance, compiled by Tina Curran, Jimmyle Listenbee, and Charlotte Wile, Scribe, Jane Dulieu.]

Movement Session #2 - Traveling
Jane Dulieu
Warm Up:

Movement Alphabet warm up - Alternate activities that travel around the space and stay on the spot. Use - travel (incorporate different modes of travel, level and direction); gesture; balancing (on different body parts); rotating (turning, rolling, etc.,); springing (hop, skip, leap, jump, hopscotch); flexing; extending; supporting (on different body parts); stillness; move to a specified direction (high, low, forward, etc.); move toward and away (objects, people, areas), end by reaching teacher as a destination.

Movement Exploration:

1. Travel around the space – no thought of where you are going or how moving – just enjoy the freedom of moving across the floor and using all the space.

2. Now become aware of the activities you are using to travel around the space. Where do these actions detract from the activity of travelling? Make sure that the activity for travelling you use, the level, the direction do not lose the sense of travelling.

Symbol Introduction:

3. The activity we are exploring in this session is travelling. The activity you have been engaged in is the general activity of travelling – any travelling.

4. Teacher introduces symbol of any travelling and then pins to wall for future reference.

Movement Exploration (continued):

5. Walk in straight lines across the space. Change direction after 8 counts. Make change of direction clear and sharp. Repeat. Then change direction after 4 counts. Repeat. Now change direction after 2 counts. Do this 4 times. Now think about the way you are travelling, go sideways, backwards, change level.

6. Explore circling. Make a large circle as a group, run clockwise with forward steps, use the right arm to indicate the centre, and allow the body to lean slightly towards centre. Repeat anticlockwise. To get a feel for circling, have one participant stand still as the focal point, holding the hand of another who walks or runs around at arms length.

7. Dribble a football (soccer ball) or bounce a basketball around all the players to the goal or basket.

8. Wander around a theme park looking at all the attractions. Just enjoy the sights and sounds.

Symbol Introduction (continued):

9. Elicit specific forms of travel that have been explored – straight path, circling (either way, clockwise, counterclockwise), curving, meandering (aimless).

10. Introduce symbols for straight, circling (either way, clockwise, counterclockwise), curving and meandering paths. Ask which activities we have already explored and relate them to the appropriate symbols ( e.g. first activity – straight paths). Teacher pins symbols to wall for future reference.

11. Teacher and participants may engage in discussion about meandering but teacher must explain that she realizes there are issues regarding this concept and this session is purely an exercise to introduce the current travelling concepts that exist in the Language of Dance® system.


12. Divide group into small groups of 2, 3 or 4 people per group. Teach first 9 sections of sequence A which involve straight, meandering, circling and curved paths. Mark it through with forward steps.

13. Each group completes the last phrase of the sequence (4 counts) with ‘any path’ i.e. choose a pathway that ends somewhere in the room.

14. Practice the sequence but add own way of travelling, (e.g. using different steps; travelling backwards, sideways; changing level). Perhaps there is an underlying intention, a theme for the sequence. Why are you travelling in this way? Where are you going? What is the reason/purpose? (e.g. meeting someone; getting away from something; heading for the light at the end of the tunnel.) Note that for meandering/aimless pathway it does not matter where you end, it is the enjoyment of the path that matters. Participants may meander together or separately, starting together, moving apart and returning together again.

15. Perform with music. (Participants are not given notated sequence at this point.)

16. Ask participants to pick out the correct symbols for the dance. Note whether paths in the sequence took a short or long time. Pin symbols of paths up the wall in correct order. Hand out the written sequence. Discuss the layout of the sheet and measure numbers. Why is there no notation for the last phrase? Because participants are to make up their own paths. Ask participants to write in the symbols needed for their last phrase.

17. Ask participants to add any other information to each travelling phrase, e.g. travelling by springing or travelling with occasional springing.

Further Development:

18. Teacher hands out small cards of the symbols used in the sequence plus leaves small cards of springing, direction, rotation, inclusion bows out on the floor.

19. Using the card symbols, the participants rearrange a sequence B in the order of their choice and add springing, rotation, etc., cards to color the sequence.

20 Perform an ABA dance.


21. Divide class so that one group watches another. Discuss amongst themselves what each group had chosen to do, the clarity/feasibility of choice, etc., and whether it was represented by the symbol(s) selected?

22. Whole group looks at each sequence, discuss clarity, theme, etc. and also further discuss appropriateness/meaning of meandering as well as representational symbols.


1) Flashcards (large laminated cards) - straight, circling (left, right, either way), meandering, curving
2) Mini cards – straight, curving, circling (left, right, either way), meandering, springing, rotation, any direction, inclusion bows
3) Sequence A – supplied below

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