Improvisation with Youth Dance Companies
In the Youth Dance arena where contemporary dance is the main style, there are few words that strike as much fear as Improvisation. The mere mention of it can turn confident and skilled dancers into trembling, doubting, emotional wrecks. The fear is palpable. Talking of improv can create tension in a room that you could cut with a knife.
There are many reasons for this fear. In our experience the two primary ones are 1. They have never done it before, and they have built it up to be difficult and embarrassing 2. They have done it before and their experience has been difficult and embarrassing.
This doesn’t have to be the case, but in our experience around 95% of our youth companies express these fears before working with us. After working with us, there is no fear, and that is because we take them through tiered and structured exercises, creating an understanding of how improvisation and the intellectual practice and rigour of creating movement in the moment supports everything else they do in their dance life.
Because ultimately this has to be a primary focus of improv, to support dancers in being able to create movement in the moment in whatever dance form they are working with. Breakdance and Street dance styles utilize improvisation all the time. Traditional close embrace tango and the myriad styles of latin dance all improvise.
So how do we reduce this fear to nothing while supporting our dancers to fully express themselves in the most astonishing ways?
We make our tasks simple and ‘winnable’, and we make sure that the space we hold is one of nurturing exploration where everything is possible and expected.
At Attik, the learning process of starting with the simplest of ideas and very slowly building complexity is the bedrock of everything we do. And this is so important to improvisation because the reality is that when you are starting to learn how to do it, the more you have to think the less you will actually do. This simplicity then leads to ‘winability’, the reality of feeling that you are doing an exercise where you will succeed. Positivity in an experience generates a willingness to try it again.
And ultimately how we create the space for this underpins it all. Everything is possible, and indeed we have an expectation that everyone dancing with us is extraordinary and it is our job to create the conditions within which they can express that. Check it out here
Safe, simple and winnable. And what happens as a result of this is young people moving like they have never experienced, creating incredible movement and exploring ideas with their bodies they had never thought possible.