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Video Project

In: Other Topics

Submitted By kaylala0
Words 819
Pages 4
Kayla Mahaffey
DNCE 2393
December 11, 2013
Final Video Project
Over the course of the semester, we have been introduced to many concepts, perspectives and traditions of dance that I knew existed, but never understood the meaningful history behind the art of dance. Reading the chapters and watching the assigned videos opened my eyes on the impact dance has brought to many aspects of history such: segregation, women’s rights and religion. While I was doing research for our midterm, this was the moment I really began to grasp the impact dance had on our cultural society. My choreographer was Katherine Dunham; she was an African-American woman who was gradually changed the cultural standard for American women dancers and choreographers.
The extent of my dance career consists of one ballet class I took when I was five years old and let’s just say one class was all I needed to take, ever. Even though I am not very graceful and will not be the next Doris Humphrey, I still find the movements of dance delightful and highly entertaining. I have always thought dance was wonderful and beautiful form of art, but something that I was not fortunate enough to gain talent in and after learning just ONE minute of a dance my thoughts were reaffirmed.
I chose to learn a portion of a Hawaiian Hula Dance, a video from our week three assignments Na Hula O Kaohikukapulani hula practice on Kauai. The types of dance styles that are seen in this video are dance for spiritual connection and worship dance. These forms are a lost art in the Hawaiian Hula dance; the original purpose for the Hula dance was for spiritual connections to the earth gods, but over the years it this style is used for tourist attractions rather than spiritual reasons. “But other ritual dances, for example, hose to the volcano goddess Pele, have retained their sacred context” (Lihs. 10).
I spent a great deal of time searching through the video folders to find what I thought to be “the easiest” dance video, after choosing Na Hula O Kaohikukapulani hula practice video I quickly realized it was not the “easiest” dance. Reading and observing dance performances and dance movements turned out to be more detailed than I imagined. First, I began practicing the swaying lower body movements; I thought if I locked in that portion of the dance I can do that without thinking. I did not account for the fact that I was not staying in one place, but moving around the room, so when I began practicing the arm movements I realized I had to turn, sway my hips, move my feet and move my arms all in a synchronized form. After many failed attempts of different strategies of getting the movements just right, I figure out that the last part of the dance was the same as the beginning, so all I had to do was learn the transition of the first, second, and the third section.
I repeated the arm movements many times with and without the music, allowing the lower body to go with the flow and momentum of my arms; at this point I thought I had the movements down pretty well. I tried to practice without watching the video, this is when I realized I needed to learn the song and find out what part of the dance I should be at the certain breaks in the music. I would get to a certain part, and I would learn to let the music guide me in the next transition of the dance. Once, I figured that out I felt as if the dance and my movements were fluid and more graceful, the music began to move my body is the right direction. Gaining this knowledge relieve my thoughts of failure, I am a bit dramatic, but before this point I thought that it would be slightly impossible for me to learn this dance all on my own, but three hours later I ended up with what I believe was my best attempt.
This particular assignment helped me break through my boundaries of dance which I gained from a personal stance and gave me a different perspective of the art form. The dance that I chose did not require flexibility or fast movements, it did require fluid movements of the whole body which was a concept that was hard for me to grasp at first, but continual practice lead me to eventually complete the dance. There were many methods I tried while rehearsing the Hula dance and I realized if I was in a dance studio with mirrored walls it would be a whole lot easier for me to watch and correct my movements.
Works Cited
Lihs, Harriet R. "Dance and Religion." Appreciating Dance: A Guide to the World's Liveliest Art. 4th ed. Hightstown, NJ: Princeton Book Pub., 2009. 10. Print.

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