It's not even May, but... Well, any final words? Thematic Material LIVELY (From Freda Miller’s Record for Dance) Discuss “Live...

Creative Work and Research

It's not even May, but... Well, any final words?
Thematic Material
(From Freda Miller’s Record for Dance)

Discuss “Lively”: like acids bubbling and effervescing, excitement and joy, quick, light, shorts-lived-good news, entertainments, clowns, jugglers, acrobats, quaint movements, and unbelievableness. Entertainments, clowns, jugglers, acrobats, capriciousness, irregularities.

In a Toy Shop. A Circus. The Zoo Story. 
(Suggestions by the Class for Group Study of a Toy Shop)

Popular Characters: Golliwogs, bears, puppets, fairy dolls, ballerina dolls, rag dolls, Spanish dancers, stuffed animals, mechanical toys. Toy soldiers, Charleston dolls, acrobats. A monkey playing a drum. A snake charmer and snake. An animal band. A rocking horse. 

There is also something of the feeling of the Gailliard in the lively tunes of Freda Miller’s Album. According to Louis Horst’s lectures on composition in pre-classic forms the themes of good news, holiday, frolic, caprice, laughter, exuberance, heyday, mischief are composed in the style of Gailliard. The characteristics of such would be bouncy, gay, quick, hopping, with rhythmic variety-little jumps, gallop-quick and sudden.

The zoo story has a combination of the qualities of the Gailliard and secular Midieval dance study.

Devise a study: Snakes, tree, crocodiles, palings of the enclosure, keeper, tourists, two grown-ups and little boy, variety of animals, Characteristics of animals – mimetic movements of monkeys, slither of crocodiles, heavy awkwardness of bears, sinuous twisting of snakes, teasing of boy, elegant display of lyre-bird.

There should be an element of surprise – contrast when boy in snapped at by crocodiles and is eaten!


SETTING: Toyshop.

MAIN CHARACTERS: Golliwog, rag doll, fairy doll, two wooden soldiers.


Everything is quiet in the shop. The toys look miserable. Suddenly the golliwog springs to life and he starts to move about. He runs over to the rag doll and winds her up. He winds up the fairy doll who sees the wooden soldiers lying stiffly in their boxes. She waves her wand over them.

The Soldiers stiffly and disjointedly start to rise and march around the toyshop. All the toys play, the rag doll is lively and is jealous of the beautiful fairy doll who flirts with the toy soldiers.

Gradually they wind down and fall in a heap on the floor. SAND-GAME, Kerry’s interpretation of lively.

The penguins are gradually strolling up on to the sand and rocks from the water. At first they stroll about and play executing little step. They roll in the sand and play in groups. There is great excitement. One sees a fish thrown up on to the sand and goes to claim it. Then the penguins are joined by a second and the playful curiosity over the fish turns into a fight. The other penguins join in as they also want part of the fish-there is great movement and a big struggle ensues. As they struggle a huge sea creature approaches and claims them one by one-some struggle to escape, some die of shock and some are eaten by the monster.

(Suggestion from Freda Miller’s album for dance)

Let us discuss the connotation of Mysterious.

The dictionary says mysterious is applied to “that which excites curiosity, wonder, but is impossible or difficult to explain or solve. That is inscrutable which is completely mysterious and is altogether incapable of being searched out. A novel, a story, or a play involving an event-anything or everything that remains so secret or obscure as to excite curiosity.”

The word mysterious has as its noun mystery and can be applied to secret rites and religious doctrines.

Class definition from year seven:

“Mysterious is something that is hard to understand-secretive.”

“It makes you feel creepy.” 

“It is like a mist creeping slowly over you.”

“Do you like mystery?”

“Yes because it excites me.”

“When night comes I feel that there are mysterious happenings.”

“Mysterious reminds me of strange paintings-and colors that have secrets.”

“Night is mysterious because it is dark and there are sounds which you sometimes can’t recognize. Sometimes I am frightened.”

“What colors are mysterious?”

“Murky colors-dirty colors.”

“Blackish browns.” “Greenish greys.” “Dark purple.”

“Strange blacks and even pale grey-white.”

“Trees look ghostly and mysterious at night.”

“Sometimes women look mysterious if they have painted faces and you see them under a street light.”

“The cat is a mysterious creature.” 

"What kind of movements will you make?"

“Weak movements."

“Slinky and creepy movements.”

“We will not move a great deal.”

“We might make twisted and tortured and strange designs.”

“A seething mass of shapes.”

The children will consciously subject themselves to their idea of mysterious-they will fiercely express their interpretation and their study should take on strange overtones which will be reflected in their shapes. There will be discord in their work and all their movements will be dissonant-an unharmonious movement or combination of movements. 

I have asked for an image, a picture of something that has meaning for the pupils; to present their idea in words, and to extend the image pattern into paint. When the poem and painting are reviewed and we know what the poem is arriving at then alter its medium and translate the image into movement.

The poetic imagination can be translated into the dance through the language of movement-the child must be sympathetic with the images and develop a state of mind when she capable of seeing “the uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

In her poem “The Sea” Susan expressed the savagery of the sea and illustrated its feeling of power in painting of dark blue and greyish white abstraction :

A hungry monster crashing on sand,
Devouring ships and man; 

Demanding the fear of all that lives, 
On water, air or land. 
The monster roars and swirls and breaks, 
And threatens all things alike; 
For it is the ruler of all our liver; 
And leaves disaster its wake.

In “Faces of Fear ” Helen represented her desolate and bleak images by a painting in greys, white, red and black. A stranger shape, it resembled a primitive mask, grotesque, weird, and with a hint of loneliness in its expression:

What is fear?
Fear is the yearly examination
Fear is the monsters in a young 

Child’s bedroom at night. 
Fear is being blind and without sight. 
Fear is not being loved. 
Fear is a negro in America. 
Fear is not being wanted. 
Fear is being not when your heart Is troubled and the black pools of night wait to swallow you up. 
Fear is death and not having flowers From loved ones on your grave.

A kind of freakish gaiety echoed through the colorful movement combinations in “The Sparks” – pinks and orange, greens and blue.

The Sparks
(Lynn – 12 years)

O artist of the greatest degree, 
Draw your finest picture for me, 
Make it move, make it dance, 
Let the world be entranced, 
Up it goes and down it comes, 
Moving sideward, shaping shadows 
Tell your story let it live to its glory 
Then when your tale has been told 
Bid you fade away to die.

The type of dance material selected for “The Sparks” was based on variations of the run, leap and jump using acceleration and staccato to communicate expectant and arresting aliveness. Lively clapping and stamping suggested a joyous, carnival-like atmosphere. The insistent rhythms by feet and hand were strong and precise. This rhythmic movement phrase recurred at certain intervals after the introduction of other livery and spontaneous movement, as in a rondo form.

The texture of this dance study was sharp and broken, a geometric abstraction of angular shapes, all parts moving in a synthesis of angles and lines to the accompaniment of tactile and vocal sounds to stress fragmentation – and nervous tension.

Masks enhanced the subject matter of Helen’s poem “Faces of Fear”. The students made fantastic mask-shapes of reds and blues so that the effects were somber and tortured. Some wanted to hide their identity completely – they did this by draping themselves with material – to give a haunting mysterious dignity to their movements. The movement line and quality was in twisted and distorted combinations of taut angles of bodily movements and overall shapes to give emotional distortion, brutality, and fear. Impressionistic “Leaves” was a collection of real leaves in different shapes and color patterns. From the beginning of one image or word picture, several poetic images emerged. There were dark and light images and we had to find the natural creative relationship between them and imaginative movement. The child’s mind needs to be free to awaken the fears and fantasies of the dream world – probing the creative imagination and so capturing the images and projecting it into dance movement.