The Bachelor and Masters programmes in Dalcroze Eurhythmics at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Geneva, include not only the expected rhythmics lessons but also ‘pure’ movement sessions.
I wondered whether, as an older student, I might feel self-conscious dancing among a group of mainly 20 to 30 somethings…but surprisingly this hasn’t been the case. I am just another student who enjoys dance and have been accepted as such.
There has been a focus from both teachers on being aware of one’s body. For example the teacher might ask you to observe the weight on the feet, how a slight lean forward backward or sideways might change the sensation. She/he might encourage you to notice the temperature of the air, the people around you, or of where you are experiencing tension. One teacher stresses the need to ‘let go’ of assumptions about what looks good and to move with intention yet not necessarily to create ‘beautiful’ (or what one believes is beautiful) movement. It can get a bit confusing at times!
This week I particularly enjoyed a session in which we literally ‘let go’. After moving like rag dolls for a time we were then asked to fall to the floor. I felt rather nervous at this point as I’ve always found it difficult to get down and up off the floor in dance lessons! I could see people around dropping to the floor in a very convincing ‘collapsing’ manner whereas I couldn’t quite believe I could do that without, at best, a few bruises! After some partner work and a few more exercises I finally felt I was beginning to ‘get it’…but I definitely need more practice at dropping to the floor…
Both teachers use recorded music and one likes to use music from a wide range of musical genres: Indian raga, jazz, Classical, rock or contemporary pieces can all be heard in any one session.
In addition to the class content it is also fantastic to be able to observe a range of students move (none of whom are dancers) and to notice preferences, moments of beauty and freedom of movement; the joy of seeing others ‘let go’ and being part of that sensation is precious and one I hope to capture each week!