What Is Creative Dance?
Many people are not quite sure when you ask them what is creative dance. Some teachers think it is a load of rubbish aimed at those who cannot learn formal dancing, but I believe this is a specialized niche, and everyone can benefit from creative dance, even if you don’t know your left foot from your right foot.
Dance can be so many things, and this is why some forms of dance have to just be called creative dance.
What is creative dance? Well, dance can be a leap for joy, a religious ritual, a set of steps set to music or even a work of art, like you see at the theatre.
Dance can be anything from the Ostriches performing their mating ritual to Pavlova performing her Dying Swan.
Because dance can mean so many forms of movement, we have a niche called creative dance.
The goal of creative dance lessons is to learn to communicate through movement.
Most dancers learn skills and become expert at executing difficult patterns or steps in a certain dance form, but unless they are good at expressing themselves through movement, their art is incomplete.
The language of dance is movement and the instrument used is the human body.
When it comes to creative dance, there is no right or wrong, no routines to learn, no feet that have to point or 180-degree turnout from the hips. The most important thing is that the dancer draws upon inner resources to make a statement. The statement comes before technique in creative dance.
Because creative dance comes from within, it cannot blossom in an instant, as most people are not that closely in touch with their souls. They have to find a starting place and first become familiar with the art of dance to develop a language of movement.
Working on this will open a pathway for expression for the inner being.
For any professional dance performer, the road to dance begins with the training of the body. In creative dance, the road begins with the exploration of the elements of dance. When it comes to answering the question what is creative dance, I find that this is one of the best ways to explain it.
Whenever a person moves, the body uses space, force and time. These are the four basic elements of dance. Creative dance explores all the possibilities inherent in combinations of these elements.
The body is a marvelous instrument, and it is fascinating to discover which parts can do which moves. In this way, one discovers both the function of the body and the poetry of its use.
There are eight basic locomotor steps in creative dance. They are called locomotor because they carry the body from one place in space to another. These include:
When learning creative dance the steps are organized as follows:
- Walks, runs and leaps – they transfer weight from one-foot to the other.
- Jumps – Elevation on two feet.
- Hops – Elevation on one foot.
Skips, slides, and gallops are simply variations of the three basic modes of locomotion.
Even when people are not moving, their bodies are making shapes in space at a certain level.
When they do move, each move has direction, size, focus, a place and a pathway to get there.
All movements in creative dance can be altered by changes in force, depending on the attack, flow, weight, and strength of the dancer.
A thorough knowledge of the basics is essential to anyone contemplating the teaching of dance.
Once a teacher has a clear view of what is to be presented, the next step is working out how to present or structure the class.
The objective is to take the basic elements and explore them with joy, challenge, and involvement in the personal artistic growth of the dancer.
The Importance Of Creative Dance
Creative dance is unique and is the only activity in which physical movement is used nonfunctionally and as personal expression.
A lot of children find a fulfillment through dance that can be realized through no other discipline because dance simultaneously involves the inner being and the physical body.
Because children are fixed on the act of moving, they discover a great deal about their bodies, minds, thoughts, imagination, and ideas through the use of creative dance.
Dance experience teaches children both awareness and control of movement. They use these skills in other areas of their lives like sport, games, other performing arts, and everyday living.
Awareness helps them to appreciate line, design, mass, and shapes in art, music, and imagery and flow in literature. They learn to speak through their bodies and so become aware of body language and its relation to words.
It is important for all children to be aware of themselves as growing and changing beings. Awareness of self is of primary importance to difficult and withdrawn children, in fact, all children. So another way to describe what is creative dance is that it is a discipline for dealing with the self.
In addition, the use of free and large body movements during the school day has been shown to benefit children’s ability to concentrate on mental subjects.
Dance can also be related to mathematics, social studies, language and science and it often only takes a question or two from the teacher to start the children making the connections.
Movement of any sort gets the brain working. If you are under stress you will find that you want to move. Children need to move – a lot.
As a formal ballet teacher, you may think that free dancing will be too embarrassing for a class, but children need and want to dance so badly they will ask for free dancing at each class, so I do try and include some of this in my lesson plans.
Here are some more ideas that border on creative dance for class.