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Space: Where the body is moving. A dance affects the way the audience sees the space where the dance takes place. The dancers may travel through space or move in one spot. When they move through space they go in different directions such as forward, backward and sideways and on various levels – high, medium and low. They make different shapes with their bodies and transfer their weight so that they are balanced or unbalanced. The path they follow on the floor is called a floor path.
In “Suspended Falls” the dancers move alone and together or with a piece of white cloth. They support each other’s bodies and use them as springboards. At times several dancers lift one dancer into the air.
Body: What the body is doing. Sometimes the dancers move their whole bodies and sometimes only one part - a small movement called a gesture or isolation. “Suspended Falls” is a site-specific work, meaning it was created for a particular place – a bridge over a river and waterfall. The dancers’ movements on the bridge help us think about the bridge and the water below it in new ways.
Time: How the body moves in relation to time. The speed at which the dancer moves – slow, fast, speeding up, slowing down – is called the time, or tempo. “Suspended Falls” has a moderate tempo, neither very fast nor very slow. It uses motifs that are repeated, developed, and varied throughout the dance.
Dance, like music, theatre and film, exists in linear time. Unlike a painting or sculpture that doesn’t change over time, dance moves through time as well as space. Choreographers often use repeated motifs to make it easier for the audience to “read” the dance. Two of the motifs in “Suspended Falls” are lifts and partnered turns.
Dynamics: How the body is moving. When we talk about the dynamics of a dance we mean the kind of energy with which the dancers are moving. It might be strong or light; tense or relaxed. The dancers may seem to flow or their movements may be staccato or jerky.
In “Suspended Falls” the dynamics are smooth, sustained and fluid – every movement seems to melt into the next one. In fact, the movement never stops – it is continuous, like the river running beneath it. At the same time it is energetic and the dancers tumble over each other like a waterfall.
Relationship: With whom or what the body is moving. Every dance involves a relationship. Even in a solo the dancer has a relationship with the space. Dances may be made in any kind of grouping: apart, connected, solo, duet, ensemble, formations and so forth.
In “Suspended Falls” the dancers’ relationships to each other and to the space are constantly shifting. A dancer is alone one minute, leaning and turning on another dancer the next. The bridge holds them over the water and their movements mirror the motion of the river.
National Dance Education Organization. (2005). National Dance Education Organization standards for learning and teaching in dance: Ages 5-18. Reston, VA: National Dance Education Organization.