“The energy snakes through the spine bringing the ‘dance’ up to the head, down to the pelvis, or maybe out through the ribs,” said Crystal Pite as she led thirty-something dancers in a warm-up for her improvisation Master Class at DANY Studios. Pite’s clear imagery – “fill a barrel with your body” – allowed today’s eager dancers to manage their limbs as both puppet and puppeteer. Pite constantly asked dancers to make choices by inserting freezes/pauses to “focus, direct the intention of the movement.” Pite challenged the class to work with the air utilizing a sculpting sensation in the extremities – “the foot isn’t just out there, what is it doing, pushing, pulling, reaching, grasping?” Through several exercises, Pite molded the group into a living composition. In the final exercise, Pite engaged dancers in building a narrative sequence (beginning, middle, and end) through an advance/retreat construct which allowed dancers to move freely in their own plane but required them to align their progress with those on either side of them. To end, Pite invited participants to share questions, comments, or discoveries about their process – a rich conversation.
The Joyce Theater Master Class Series continues with Russell Maliphant, on December 7th and “will focus on quality and connections, with particular attention to fascia anatomy experienced through yoga stretches and exercises - opening and integrating the body before taking that into movement phrases and improvisational tasks.”