Twist and shout, jazz out, rap on and rock out! Almost all of us have danced to some beat at a certain point in our life. It comes naturally, almost as if we have an innate ability to dance! Well, according to some studies, we actually do! Babies are born to bounce to the beat, it would appear so!
Whilst dancing was used as a method to show off and attract a possible mate in prehistoric times, research suggests that it was also connected to our ability to survive, as it represented an important social bonding and communication tool for our ancestors, in particular during tough times. Nowadays we use diverse forms of bonding and communication, but the practice of dancing remains indisputably one of the best ways to bond and connect with others.
In a whirling world of ever-changing demographics, we are increasingly in touch with people from different cultures - refugees, migrants, people on the move, tourists...Why not use dance to explore the other culture and create social bonds through it?
This activity invites you to dance and step out of your comfort zone.. Being absolutely free, authentic, yourself…Explore the beauty of other cultures and strike up new friendships! Enjoy!
A few minutes minimum, but can be done as long as it feels great
To step out of your comfort zone
To build bridges and friendships with people from other cultures (especially refugees/migrants/people on the move)
To discover new possibilities of self-expression and improvisation
Required Materials and Tools:
Place to dance, music, comfortable clothes, a device on which to listen to music; people if you are doing it as a group activity.
Decide where you will dance. You may want to find a location where you can move freely, such as a square.
Think of who you could invite - do you know people from other countries/cultures? Try to include as many as possible, perhaps even create an event online using social networks, such as facebook.
Make sure you have your musical device with you - this can simply be your phone. You could think of preparing a playlist beforehand. The songs in the playlist must include as many songs from different cultures as possible, try to include all the cultural landscapes of the friends that will attend. For example, if you have Senegalese friends coming include Senegalese music; if you have Spanish coming, add some flamenco songs; if you have Syrians coming include Syrian/Arabic music etc. It is not important if the others don’t know the exact traditional dances for these types of music, feel free to move your body to the beat, the music will take you where you need to be! But also, this could be a great opportunity to learn the exact traditional dances from the person coming from that country!
Get ready to dance. Choose your starting position, it may be standing, sitting or even lying down, this is the dancer’s choice. You may start with a minute of silence with your eyes closed to get fully aware of your body if you choose. After a minute of silence, the floor is yours - rock out!
Once you have started, it is suggested you start by moving slowly, following the natural impulses of your body rather than your brain. It is okay to stand still and listen until you feel that the movement comes, your body should not be forced to start. The first few movements can be very difficult, but rest assured it can get very fun once it has started! The rest is just your free improvisation. Enjoy every second of it, just do it! You will probably find that this will end up being the first of many times you do this.
Some tips if stuck:
Place your awareness to a specific body part (e.g. fingers of your left arm, neck, right ankle), dance only with that body part, after a short while shift to another part. Repeat.
Scan your body for any tension. Start your movement in these places, enjoy and notice what movement helps to release it. As above, shift to another area after a short while. Repeat.
Get your face dancing, too! There are so many facial muscles ready to move and express emotions, allow them to do so! Even your ears can dance!
Open your eyes and try to connect with the environment you have chosen to dance in.
Close your eyes as soon as you start to lose the impulsive connection with your body, bringing your awareness inwards again.
Experiment dancing barefoot, this can help you feel more grounded and connected to the earth.
Got hooked? Get some inspiration and ideas for your next dance by taking a look into YouTube. Try out keywords like: contemporary dance/ballet, contact improvisation, fun dance etc.
Did you manage to connect with people from other cultures? Which cultures? Did you learn something new about these cultures?
How do you imagine your next dance session? What will the atmosphere and music be like?
What are the most inspiring dance videos that you would like to share with others? Why do you like them so much?
Instructions for Submission
Upload your written reflection, so that your peers can give you feedback. Instructions on how to upload a picture in Moodle or submit your written reflection can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
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