Body Language

This week has been a lesson about communication through other parts of the body besides the mouth. This week it’s been about movement and the entire body. I’ve been doing modern dance on the side as a little flexibility, confidence and self-love project. Being able to hold yourself at full height, halfway to the ground and nearest to the floor takes different types of strength. Dance allows one to create for themselves or for their audience in order to express concepts or evoke feelings that words couldn’t do by themselves.

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“The Docks” Portland, Ore.

No matter what genre you decide to dance, or genre you may invent, it will always consist of the following three: narrative, depictive/expressive and non-thematic movement. While narrative tells a story, expressive involves the portrayal of mood, nature and feeling. Non-thematic is used as the space between words. It can be understated or extravagant.

Tonight I had the opportunity to observe the UO Faculty Dance Performance. This was my first time attending the event and I was blown away by the atmosphere the dancers had created. They had transformed the dance department into a stage with curtains and bleachers and a lighting crew. In my modern dance class I’ve been practicing how to communicate out to people through the body. However, this was the first time I’d been on the receiving end of a dancer’s performance with focused concept of communication in mind.

It was exciting to not only view, but feel the performance as the dancer told a story. The space they had set up was intimate enough to enjoy the high energy parts of the performance up close but also appreciate the somber moments with slower and more controlled movements, balance, darker lighting and the facial expressions that accompanied everything in the mix.

There were all sorts of messages that I took from each performance, from accepted love to society’s oppression of women and their overcoming of it. However, there was no summary of any piece in the program. Even for the one piece with an opera singer, I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I enjoyed how this “no right or wrong answer” orientation of the performance allowed each member of the audience to take away whatever message they heard from the movement they were witnessing.

It reminded me of the way we play with words when we’re writing, or tone when we’re speaking. Yes, it depends greatly on the the delivery such as facial expression, body language, tone, loudness and of course your words. Tonight I remembered as an audience member that it also depends on who is receiving your message. In other words, who your audience is. They alone can determine an entire message and it is our job to correctly read them when we have one in mind.

 

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