Creations at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze

Just before the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze closed, due to the global pandemic, I was lucky to be able to watch two evenings of Creations, produced by the second year Master students and the third year Bachelor students.

My training in Dalcroze Eurhythmics included creating and performing in, what is known as, plastique animée,  a term which was invented by Jaques-Dalcroze. When creating a plastique one strives to show elements of the music through one’s movement. It is not just the rhythms that are made clear but the melody, harmony, dynamics, form and so on. It is a visual analysis of the music in which the body is the vehicle.

The Bachelor and Masters students study plastique animée but their group performances are not strictly plastiques but something arguably more theatrical and certainly ambitious in scope. The Creations are assessed on not just the movement quality and inventiveness but on the costumes, lighting, staging and if vocal sections are included, the standard of singing. Though the movement in the creations is influenced by plastique the result is invariably a multi-medium presentation.

Although the Creations were performed over five months ago,  some performances really stood out.  The Master students’ Creations were often conceived from personal experience. For example, one was a movement depiction of the Australian landscape and included some beautiful costumes which shimmered with the colours of the landscapes shown on screen. The piece also included some evocative music by Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe and a haunting song by another Australian composer. Another Creation used long turquoise scarves to great affect and included folk songs and another Creation featured an image of a tree that gradually grew as the performance progressed and also featured folk dances as well as musicians spaced around the concert hall.

The Bachelor students’ Creations were equally impressive. Each one was performed to one of Berio’s Sequenzas and two performances stood out for me. One used lights suspended from the ceiling which could be manipulated by the dancers. The lights could swing forwards and backwards, from side to side or even in circles. The performers moved in concert with the lights, which could also be switched on and off, in many different ways. Perhaps my favourite performance used Berio’s Sequenza for female voice. The Creation explored the relationship between man and woman and had elements of Pina Bausch in the choice of movements.

The performances of the Bachelor Creations took place just one week before the Institute was closed due to Covid-19. Switzerland has come out of lockdown and small groups can now be taught. However, while social distancing remains in place, the Creations of the future will be quite different.  I’m sure, however, they will continue to be as creative and impressive as those I was lucky enough to see.

 

2 thoughts on “Creations at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze

  1. Muijzers Muziek June 16, 2020 — 11:42 am

    Hi Kaye!

    I hope you and your family are all well?

    Thank you for your interesting posts! I love to read them. I hope you have received my comment on the one about studying in different languages, last october?
    Also the post on your experiences with Seniors brought me back to my Dalcroze experiences with a Senior project, therefore I had consulted Ruth Gianada and Gabi Chrisman as well, they have been a wonderful inspiration for me, as well their book about Seniors. Now I am moving in a wheelchair it triggers me again to think about possibilities to work with Seniors again, or people in wheelchairs or with physical handicap ….

    But I have to diminish my work, my teaching because of the decline of my health: I am happy and grateful with the situation now, I have accepted it.
    My focus is on continuing to teach the cello for 3 days a week, including lots of Dalcroze elements.
    I also have developed a workshop out of the Dynamic Rehearsal of Karin: Musical expression by movement: a two hour workshop, a group session without instruments as a preparation for some individual sessions with instruments.
    A kind of taster workshop, to be completed with some individual Dynamic Rehearsal. Elements of Plastique Animee come also along in this workshop. Both Dynamica Rehearsal and Plastic Animée have been my favorite subjects during the Certificate Course.

    Did you return to Geneva already? Could you continue your study online? How far are you now?

    Two weeks ago I have submitted my Certificate Written Work! I was allowed to use digital music, because I cannot play myself anymore. I have worked two years on it, in very small steps, I never had thought it would be possible to complete this three years ago …. But I have succeeded and it was very interesting to work on all the different elements, but also very demanding. It has been nice to review my whole process of studying the Certificate and what richness this has brought to me.

    I wish you the very best, good luck with your Diplome project in Geneva!

    best wishes,
    Marlies

    Like

    1. Hi Marlies,

      Thanks for commenting on my blog and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s nice to get some feedback although I didn’t get your comment last October and it doesn’t seem to have saved. Well done for handing in your Certificate Written Work! That’s fantastic! It’s also good to hear about your work with Dynamic Rehearsal. I already knew you were teaching cello from the DUK Zoom Cafe discussions but I know you’ve got all sorts of interesting project ideas to pursue. You are a real inspiration!

      The Institute closed in early March so I’ve been at home in London since then. I’m due to return in mid-August and have 3 teaching exams to do after which I’ll come home for another month. If all goes well I’ll return either before or just after Christmas to take the remaining exams. I’ve only taken 2 out of 9 so far…frustratingly my 3rd exam was scheduled 4 days before the Institute closed! Since being home I’ve been practising hard (about 3 hours a day) and have started my dissertation reading though I’m finding it difficult to focus on it very effectively. I’ve also taken on a bit of rhythmics zoom teaching and offered some free classes to some more advanced students in order to prepare for my Rhythmics Diploma Teaching exams. Oh…and I’ve spent quite a lot of time on our allotment!!!

      In Geneva I did lots of observations of classes which I’ve not been able to do since it closed so I’ve been working alone. I could request an online Improvisation lesson but I might wait until I get back to Switzerland. The practical Improvisation exam is probably going to be the last exam I take.

      Keep in touch and thanks again for your lovely comments!

      Kaye
      x

      Like

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