Dancing in the ‘Secret Garden’

Against a city and nature background, dancer in a blue shirt, blue mask, and black leggings touches tree bark with hands while looking up toward branches.

By Amelia Martinez

I had the pleasure of observing the freshmen Improvisation class taught by Christine Colosimo. The talented young dancers were creating and learning in a new environment that was a beautiful nature filled area, filled with warm sunlight through the trees on this October day. With masks on, the class transitioned to an outdoor classroom to allow for safe distancing in the pandemic, as well as providing Zoom for those who choose to attend class from their homes.

Dancers in masks, hoodies, and athletic pants are spread across a field of grass. One dancer stands in a light blue hoodie, has their back to the camera with arms spread out to the sides, and head tilted slightly to the right.

Christine led them through many peaceful and experiential exercises, allowing them to observe the natural space around them. She related these exercises to Avatar the Last Airbender’s elements: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. There were dancers who chose to dance based on the observations they found from the brick wall, the trees, the expanse of the space, and even the grass.

Dancer in a white hoodie lays down on grass. Their hand gently touches the green grass and newly fallen yellow leaves.

Throughout the class there were opportunities to create movement and share them with the class in groups. The Zoom classmates were not left out at all, as the outdoor class circled around the screen, a safe distance away from each other, to see the movement discoveries that were being made. After they showed their improved movement, they shared in discussion about their learning. One student on Zoom danced in their kitchen with a chili pepper and found that they were relating to nature in a new way. Thinking about the growth and agricultural process it takes for that chili pepper to make it to their kitchen right then and soon to nourish their body, inspired a movement that was new and exciting for them.

Professor Colosimo sits on the grass with a black shirt, grey pants, and white mask with a clear barrier over mouth. Christine is holding the Zoom class on her silver computer toward the outdoor class to watch their movement and listen to their reflections

The dancers had some time to reflect with paper and pen about their experiences dancing in nature and they came up with unique drawings and poems! These helped them to have a tangible record of what they were experiencing in this class that will hopefully continue to inspire them in their dance creations for the future.

Dancer in a grey and white striped zip up sweater and red mask, shows an orange drawing made as a reflection to their improvisational movement that was shared in class.

Finally, the dancers moved across the expanse of the “Secret Garden” to engage all their discoveries in a full-bodied expression of movement. Seeing their movements come alive in their own unique way was a beautiful experience and it makes me so hopeful for this new generation of Temple dancers!!

Dancers in masks, hoodies, and athletic pants spread out across a brick wall in various dance poses or mid movement, while being socially distanced.

 

Amelia Martinez, MFA in Dance Candidate. Amelia is in a grey shirt against a white background and offset black shadow of her body while her face looks past the camera.

Share or save
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Google Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF