9. Julia's Diary: Congo Mission Explanation from J. Nathan Corbitt on Vimeo.
The Farming DanceThe farming dance came after having the women dance Laban Movement efforts. It was an unplanned experience. The series of efforts leading into the farming dance are below:
- Weight: light and strong We tiptoed to move light, I asked "when do you tiptoe?" They responded when we are afraid. We then walked strong and I asked when they do this and they responded that this is like men.
- Flow: bound and free - We moved tightly in our bodies, I asked when are they bound, they responded "when it rains." We then moved free flowing, I asked when they do this, they responded after it rains.
- Time: quick and slow - We moved quickly, I asked when they do this, they responded when they are rushing.
We moved very slow, I asked when, they responded when they are tired. I then asked what makes them tired. They responded when we do work. I asked them what kind of work, as the translator relayed my question a woman began to do the first movement of the dance. She was showing the work done in the field. I mirrored her movement and all began to mirror her movement. I asked what happens next and another woman added the next movement. They continued to show me what happens next in their work. They seemed to be discussing as a group what would be next and contributing to working it out as a collective. I placed the tired gesture, the pause from rhythmic and repetitive movement, just before the harvesting movement.
At first I was just showing them that I was becoming tired from doing the dance, but they kept it in the dance. All other movements were created by the women. After the dance was created they shared that they had a song for this. A few young women began to sing the song. There was discussion about how the song ended, and I think some disagreement. How the song would be sung did not get worked out until the following day. Either that day or the following day, I went into the growing flower dance that survives the storm.
The flower dance is the resilience metaphor, but I was also hoping to convey the metaphor that just like flowers we need things to grow. I asked what they needed to grow and their answers revolved around basic needs. One of the answers being that we need to be able to work. I started to realize then that the way I was understanding their work dance was probably different than how they meant it. It seemed that it was a part of what would help them return to a more fulfilling life, it was a part of being resilient. It also showed that they were resilient, they had a desire to provide for themselves in spite of all they had survived. I was very focused on integrating cognitive understanding of their physical experiences - I think the farm dance was a some what spontaneous result of that goal.
Shambani-Farming Made Dance from J. Nathan Corbitt on Vimeo.
Shambani-Farming Made Dance from J. Nathan Corbitt on Vimeo.
- Collaboratively choreographed 2 dances
- Took turns when they did the scarf dance (social skill)
- They recognized and applied the metaphor of growth in the midst of conflict (Enduring) the Storm possible title)
- Learned a new form of dance one they had not seen before
- They performed movement outside their normal range but unclear if they would initiate on their own
- All students demonstrated somatic awareness as demonstrated by their ability to control body movement efforts. Observed through weight (light and strong), time (sustained and quick) and flow (bound to free)
- Demonstrated cooperative work with only one argument. They were supportive of each other. Cheering each other on.
- They took ownership by initiating rehearsing and organizing themselves
- The recognized that dance was good for their bodies and they could use on a daily basis.
- Esther, the leader, commented that this was a new concept and that the could use it, asking for further clarification.
- Some were early in anticipation.
- They learned and repeated the ritual and could give instructions to new members. They were consistent in attendance and were engaged—no one was not doing something.
- There was extended leadership as an emerging leader who would lead well when Julia began to step back.
- Students demonstrated hope through nonverbal affect, enthusiasm for the motto, they could make a movement about what they wanted for their future in eating well, moving, working, and sleeping. Peace and safety were two words important.
- Students demonstrated healing by increased self-‐soothing movement.
Best Practices (what worked well)
- Integration of repetition and integrating small new things to gain a sense of mastery
- The space was good because is a good container without foot traffic and the trees provided a ceiling (canopy) and good acoustics
- The choice of metaphor seemed to work well—flower being able to endure the storm
- Maintaining the circle and strong leadership. E.g. had to direct one on one whose turn it was. This is especially in true large group activities by giving specific direction. When she didn’t there was an argument.—see tape.
- Developing empathy—mirrored movements, giving affirmation, maintaining eye contact, asking to learn their dance, bringing scarves to enhancing the dance (title for article).
- Keeping the class moving with no dead time—used few words and allowed the dance to teach. (Allowing the Dance to Teach—article on teaching methodology)
- Awareness of the physiological challenges of the women who have undergone sexual violence in order design movements for recovery and incorporated in the lessons
- Incorporated movements that are good for women who are experiencing disassociation. E.g. lack of body awareness, shoulder blade/rotator cup.
Areas to improve (what to change)
- There was no place to sit and music
- Train the team in reading non-‐verbal cues
- Have a team with assistants
- The ratio was to great we usually have 5-‐1 and this was 26-‐1. This could have been solved by limiting the class size.
- Take attendance with a team—think ahead to have social assistant. Being proactive and clear about class organization and requirements/expectations. A balance is needed for creativity and spontaneity.
- Be more efficient and competent to bring the cognitive awareness to emotional and somatic expression through the metaphor
- When writing curriculum focus on one metaphor or message in this context—one week.
- Teach a new dance skill or dance style that expands the world view of the participants, e.g. ballet, hip-‐hop, or something that expands world-‐view, range of movement, language skills and terms.