Movement Charades

Using movements generated by the group in activities AP, EK, and EBU, create a collection of cards with a movement on each. One person chooses a card and communicates the movement to the group without disclosing what is on the card. Participants can communicate the movement by physically acting out the scenario or by verbally describing the movement until the group successfully guesses the movement. Each person takes a turn until all the cards are exhausted.

Movement Charades seeks to understand the ways movement knowledge can be communicated and recognized. The activity also investigates which elements are necessary for the dancer and observer to arrive at a shared understanding. Movement Charades forces people to make choreographic decisions about the most important and most easily recognizable elements of an action or series of actions. The individual must decide if they are going to focus on one or multiple elements of a dance. Furthermore, they must consider the importance of details such as place, time, objects, or feelings involved in the activity. Snowber (2002: 20) asserts, “We teach who we are.” Similarly, we dance who we are. As observers, a dance may be recognizable if it resonates, through understood mediums of transfer, with our own embodied reality. Maxine Sheets-Johnson (1966: 4) explains, “The meaning of any dance comes alive for us only as we ourselves have a lived experience of the dance, and is not the result of either prior knowledge of dance or of any later reflective efforts. If we reflect upon the dance after it has been presented, in the hope of discovering its meaning, we can only arrive at its significance at a distance.”

Sheets-Johnson, M., (1966), The Phenomenology of Dance, Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press.

Snowber, C., (2002), ‘Bodydance: Enfleshing Soulful Inquiry through Improvisation’, in Bagley, C. and Cancienne, M. B. (eds), Dancing the Data, New York: Peter Lang.