IDOCs » dance history re-vised, a task
in november and october 2020 i lead the students at the SKH BA in Dance Performance (Stockholm, SE) through a series of meditations and speculations on the topic of dance history. when i couldn't teach my class in person due to a covid-19 scare, i devised the tasks below, which were delivered to the students digitally. (as i am writing this, the students are engaging with the first step of the task.)
2020.10.29

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task noº 1
time: set a timer together, you have 45 minutes starting now.
 
1. pick an example of a dance-art-work from the map on the wall, or else a personal example of a dance-art-work that means or that meant a lot at a certain point in time. (in case the example isn’t on the map, consider adding it to the map.) (a good place to start is an example of a dance-art-work that makes or that made you feel like you wanted to become a professional.)
 
2. using the library and/or your computer aka the internet (wikipedia is fine, but try to find at least one other source of information to compliment your wiki-perspective––remember, if the camera or the microphone were invented, you might even be able to trace a record of the artist’ or the historian actually telling their side of the story), look into the work’s and the artist’s socio-political context in as much detail as you can muster: try to find something out about the work that is astonishing to you right now. something that makes you feel like “how did i not know about this before?” or else “why did nobody tell me that before?"
 
for example, i took a dance history course in two different schools on three different occasions with three different teachers. dance history was discussed in a myriad of other courses over the years. how did nobody tell me that the royal ballet of london doesn’t get the royal charter until 1956?
 
3. combine what you know of the example that you studied with the new information you’ve collected and consider the following question: 
how does the information you’ve gained access to change your impression of the work or the artist or alters the way you explain yourself how things happen in life (how does the new information alter your historical perspective)?
 
optional question: why do you think/feel it is important to share this story and make people aware of this information you’ve just discovered? what do you imagine to be a positive consequence to having this knowledge, this awareness?
 
 
task noº 2
time: set a timer together, you have however much time there’s left before end of class starting now.
 
1. share your findings and your excitement with each other. 
1.1 consider adding your observations to the map. consider using post-its, consider using thread: consider adding a layer of material to the map with which to create a sense of an additional timeline (parallel universe?), or suggest a way for the information to connect one to another in alternative ways.
1.2 consider sharing personal experiences and feelings with each other: the example you were studying, where did you learn about it? who or what did you learn it from? why does this example feel important? how did your feelings change, evolve, alter, now that you’ve learned this new thing about that thing you know so well?
1.3 you decide what’s important to share!
 
 
notes:
 
0. this is not a race. if you spend 45 minutes considering the question: what do i actually care about? so be it. remember: a task is only as interesting as it creates the conditions for you to have an inspiring and an informative experience. do not rush. read between the lines. stay focused. follow your curiosity. it’s a fine balance. remember: the balancing point might a migrating one. and might not be a ssiinngguullaarr one.
1. i recommend you work alone. in case working alone feels irrelevant, consider working together alone. if working together alone feels irrelevant, consider working in pairs.
2. consider working alone but screaming your finding out in excitement just as soon as you’ve found it.
3. consider talking to someone about what it is you’re thinking about if ever you get stuck.
4. consider talking to yourself (aloud) about what it is you’re thinking about if ever you get stuck.
5. do not underestimate the power of laying on the floor and staring at the ceiling.
6. consider checking in with your feelings if ever you get stuck.
7. if you get stuck, are you rushing? are you trying to be faster than yourself? consider checking in with your feelings. with your thoughts. with your sensations. what you’re looking for is probably already in there somewhere, waiting for you to have the time to feel it, think it, sense it.
8. consider taking a dance break.
9. remember, even though this work requires you to read, and watch, and possibly write, think, and remember, what’s at stake is your dance practice. this work is not meant to be not physical. remind yourself of that when necessary. if the work starts feeling like it’s not physical, make any necessary adjustment to make it physical. take a note of the adjustment you’re making, if you can––for future reference. 
 
 
housekeeping:
 
i will check in via zoom at the beginning of the class to make sure you’re good to go.
i will remain available on zoom for the duration of the class, in case questions arise. i can be there for a casual conversation, too. i can host a break. 
 
this is probably our last class at least until christmas. if any urgent questions arise you’d like to ask me, my email is pavleh@gmail.com
 
i will be sending you a reading/ listening/ watching list soon to support your self-study in the coming months in relation to the topics and experiments we’ve touched upon this semester. this list is not mandatory, stardust. 
 
 
remember, the internet is rich
 
 
 
 

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