In these exercises, it is question of learning and practising movement as well as of knowledge about movement.
Kabuki-poses exercises 1.266–1.267
Exercise 1.266: ‘Kabuki-poses’: Actors A and B stand opposite each other with enough space between them. Maintaining eye contact, communicate by what body part(s) you want to meet (make signs, such as showing both your hands, eye height, or lift a foot and show the heel, etc.). A and B clap their hands at the same time, decide to start, and run together towards each other, but stop and meet their hands at a distance of a few millimetres and maintain the pose. Don’t nudge or touch each other!
Hand(s) to hand(s), knee to knee, foot to foot, nose to nose, ear to ear, shoulder to shoulder, chest to chest… With sideways and backwards ‘meetings’ as well.
Exercise 1.267: Same exercise as above: With several movements after each other in quick succession.
Ways to move
In eclosion: (the body opens from the egg position: deep squatting, rounded spine, neck and head rounded.) All body parts involved in the movement start and end together.
In declosion: (the body closes). From the starting point, the body closes all the way down to the egg position, and all body parts – hands, arms, back, hips, neck and legs – arrive at the ending point at the same time.
Eclosion–declosion exercises 1.268–1.273
Exercise 1.268: From a relaxed squatting position, also called the egg position (because the body is rounded like an egg), the head hangs relaxed between the hands, arms relaxed. Through successive opening of all body parts at the same time (knees, legs, spine, neck, head arms and hands) the body opens upwards, to the outside, and the ending position: standing straight, looking forwards, arms outstretched to the ceiling.
Exercise 1.269: Eclosion-declosion from ‘banana position‘. As per the previous exercise, but from a ‘banana position’. The spine bent backwards, upper body, head and neck are bent back, looking at the ceiling).
Exercise 1.270: Breathing eclosion and declosion: Opening movement while inhaling, quick and lightly, closing movement at slow speed, long exhaling.
Exercise 1.271: Eclosion and declosion with opposite breathing: Exhaling opening, inhaling going down into the egg position.
Exercise 1.272: Eclosion and declosion by holding the breath. Try to do the movement upwards or downwards by holding your breath after breathing out. Inhale, wait three seconds, then exhaling violently and quickly together with a quick and violent movement.
Exercise 1.273: Eclosion and declosion of various body parts. From any body position, open and close the arms, the hands, the legs, etc.
Natural wave forwards
Wave movements (ondulations) are a basic movement in the system of Jacques Lecoq: The natural wave (ondulation naturelle) starts from below, from the earth, the centre of gravity – real physical energy! The natural wave is important for natural movement, effort and impulse. Gravity energy is used for pushing, pulling, lifting, etc. Waves are always in flow.
Wave forwards exercises 1.274–1.279
Exercise 1.274: From any position, let the body undulate like a snake.
Exercise 1.275: Stand relaxed in parallel position, arms to the sides (and not involved in the wave movement), knees very slightly bent. With an impulse (from behind, into the back of the knee) the knee is pushed forwards and initiates movement forwards and upwards: the movement spreads to the pelvis, which moves forwards and upwards, and affects the chest, which pushes up and out and reaches the head, which lifts up (look straight). ‘Fall over’ and start again.
The movement must be fluent!
Exercise 1.276: Natural waves with impulses. The knee impulse described above is enough to affect the basin, the chest and the head. Next, give an impulse from the pelvis. There is enough energy to affect the chest, the head and the knees. Next, give an impulse from the chest (from behind) and let the wave affect the head, the knees again, and the chest. Next, give an impulse from the head (forwards – over and down) and let the wave affect the knees, the pelvis and the chest).
Exercise 1.277: Impulses given by a partner: A light kick into the back of the knees, into the buttocks, under the shoulder blades, and the back of the head. The impulses insinuate only a kick or a push.
Exercise 1.278: Stand with relaxed back in parallel position (later from a tree position). Imagine that you get an impulse, a kick from (behind) the back on the knees – and you react. (The reaction movement starts from the knee, and spreads to the chest and the head. Perhaps if coming out of balance, make a step to regain your balance, or fall.)
Exercise 1.279: Try with impulse pushes onto the posterior, the solar plexus, between the shoulder blades, or the head, given by a real partner (by the hand elbow, knee, foot, etc.)
The reverse wave movement exercises 1.280–1.281
Exercise 1.280: From a parallel position, knees somewhat bent, spine a little compressed, direction of the eyes on the floor 3 metres in front of you. The head leads the movement (in a circle moving away from you), the neck is raised, spine straight, and the pelvis is tilted back. The head is now in front of the body. This is the position of a child learning to walk. The senses lead, but the body is far back.
The circle movement continues – it reaches the chest, the centre of emotions. The pelvis is placed in the centre, the body weight in front. The head continues the movement, the body straightens, the head and neck straight forward, chest pushed out, body weight in front of the legs. This is the position of the young hero, led by the chest.
The circle movement continues – the neck goes backwards, the chest sinks back, the back is rounded, and the pelvis is tilted in front. The needs of the belly are leading. This is the position of the bourgeois.
The circle movement continues – the head sinks towards the chest, knees bend further, the back is round (the natural bend of the spine is accentuated), the pelvis stays tilted forward. The head is in line with the knees. This is the body of the old person.
The circle movement continues – the head starts a movement forwards and upwards, rebirth, (the body follows, back straight and pelvis tilted backwards…)
Exercise 1.281: Practise the exercise with flow, a repeated circle, starting with the head.
Sideways natural wave exercises 1.282–1.284
Exercise 1.282: Start in the samurai position. Move your body weight to the right side, by bending the right knee and extending the left leg. First the waist, then the chest moves to the right, neck and head, and you ‘fall’ over to the right side (legs, pelvis, waist, chest, neck, and head). Return movement: start with the pelvis (the legs come back into the samurai position, the torso straightens, the neck and the head rise. Repeat the movement starting from the left side.
Exercise 1.283: After a wave to the right side, move the left bent leg to the left, extend the right leg, and the torso, etc. bend to the left side, always in flow.
Exercise 1.284: Repeated sideways wave from chauk position. Start the movement, repeat it, and enlarge it each time a little more, until the movement where you must lift a leg and keep your balance. Thereafter, you diminish the movement again, step by step, until the movement is no longer visible, but you carry it on in your mind, in your breathing. Let the movement grow again after a while.
Reverse sideways wave exercise 1.285
Exercise 1.285: Start from samurai position, arms relaxed. The neck moves to the right side, followed by the head, chest and waist, and as the body weight shifts, the left leg extends. Return: starting with the neck to the left, followed by the head, the torso, the left knee bends, until your body weight goes to the left side and the right leg extends. Repeat on the other side, in flow.
Exercise D: Same exercise as 267, but in a reverse wave.
The bends of the spine
Exercise 1.286: Forward bend. Stand in the Eiffel Tower position, body straight, pelvis well placed. Eyes at start straight forward. Start by looking down without moving the head. Bend the neck, then the head falls, the chin towards the chest, without moving the rest of the body, then bend the vertebrae and the chest, one by one, then the waist. The pelvis is still in place. Then, let the pelvis go back. Thereafter the entire upper body ‘falls’ between the slightly bent legs. Arms and shoulders are relaxed. Return by building the spine up again in the opposite way. The movement should be smooth.
Exercise 1.287: Start again in the Eiffel Tower position, arms on the sides, head straight, and look forward. Start by looking up, followed by the neck, the head (now looking at the ceiling), the chest bent back and the waist. (The body weight is to the front, on the feet.) Pull the pelvis forward and bend the knees and bend back. Raise the spine again in the opposite way, section by section.
Exercise 1.288: Start in the Eiffel Tower position. Bend the spine to the right side. Bend the neck, head, chest and waist. Bend the right knee and lift its heel. Bend further. Return by straightening the right knee, the waist, etc. Practise on the right and left side.
Rotation (twist) of the spine
Exercise 1.289: The spinal column stays vertical! Start from the tree position and rotate the eyes from the middle to the right side, then the neck, the head, the chest with shoulders, the waist. Keep the pelvis straight and horizontal. Return.
Exercise 1.290: Rotation from the samurai position. Start moving the body weight to the right side (bend right knee and extend left leg), rotate the waist, the chest, head, neck and eyes to the right side, return to the samurai position via the eyes, neck, head, chest, waist and legs, and practise on the left side.
Translations to the right and the left, to front and back, in samurai position.
Exercise 1.291: Practise translations of the body weight to the right and left side. The body stays straight. The head and the hips should move in a horizontal line! Translate the body weight by bending the right knee and extending the left leg. Practise on both sides.
Exercise 1.292: Translations of the body weight forwards-backwards. From an open position (heels in line, right leg in front, left leg back, feet turned out at 45 degrees), translate the body weight forwards on the bent right leg, and extend the left leg backwards. Translate the body weight back by bending the back leg and extending the front leg. Head and pelvis should travel in a horizontal line.
Exercise 1.293: Translations of the neck from the centre to the right, back to the middle and to the left, then directly from right to left (without moving the shoulders). The head should travel in a straight line, the shoulders should stay horizontally and not move. (Do the exercise in a mirror.).
Exercise 1.294: Start as per the previous exercise. After the neck, the head is pulled horizontally to the right (still in a straight line), translate the chest parallelly to the right, then the waist and finally the body weight. Return via body weight, waist, chest, head and neck.
Not only the form of movement, but also the amount of energy spent, movement direction, and speed characterise movement. The characteristics are:
- Light versus heavy
- Slow versus quick
- Direct versus indirect
Rudolf von Laban catalogued movement qualities for dance as follows:
The character of physical efforts according to Rudolf Laban:
Movement qualities exercises 1.295–1.302
Exercise 1.295: To perform a lightweight action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.) with one or several lightweight movement actions, such as to flick, float, dab or glide.
Exercise 1.296: To perform a heavyweight action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.), with one or several heavyweight movement qualities, such as to wring, slash, press or punch.
Exercise 1.297: To perform an indirect action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.) with one or several indirect qualities such as flicking, floating, wringing or slashing.
Exercise 1.298: To perform a direct action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.) with one or several direct movement qualities by pressing, punching, dabbing or gliding.
Exercise 1.299: To perform a slow action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.) with one or several slow movement qualities, such as floating, wringing, pressing or gliding.
Exercise 1.300: To perform a quick action from any action (to put on a coat, to take, carry and put down real or imaginary objects, etc.) with one or several quick movement qualities, such as to flick, flash, punch or dab.
Exercise 1.301: Compose three shorter choreographies with choral formations (for eight people) in space: In circles, rows, lines, half-circles, broken circles, broken rows, broken lines, broken half-circles, moving through the space.
Exercise 1.302: The same choreographies with choral formations with music or rhythm.
Action analyses help ‘to tame’ movement and to do ‘one thing after another’.
Picking an apple exercises 1.303–1.304
Exercise 1.303: The students pick an apple from an imaginary tree and analyse how many physical actions are necessary to perform the movement.
Exercise 1.304: Study the following action:
- Head moves to the right, sees the apple (or: eyes-head, or head-eyes), at an angle of 45 degrees.
- Apple body-arms: The body, weight, then the arm moves towards the object (fencing position to the right)
- Apple hand (opening the hand in front of the object)
- Take (hand closes around the object)
- Body Position for action (hand point fixe), the right leg joins the left, balance again in the middle.
- Action with object, take ‘sats’ (impulse)
- Action with object, stop
- Head moves, sees the left side (or add: eyes-head, or head-eyes)
- Apple body-arm
- Apple left hand (opening)
- Take left (hand closes)
- 1. Head (see new object on the right side)
- 2. Apple hand (opening)
- 3. Apple body-arm
- 4. Take (hand closes)
- Head (look at old object, left side)
- Hand releases old object, hand opens
- Head, look at new object, right side (relax the other arm)
- 8. Position for action
- 9. Action with new object (impulse)
- 10. Action with the new object
Picking up a stone and throwing it exercises 1.305–1.311
This is an important exercise, as it helps to understand how the phases of a simple action function and form a rhythm pattern: First the body is in position and balanced, and thereafter the action of arms and hands, etc. (Action is adapted to rhythm with a given accent.)
Exercise 1.305: Let the student walk on an imaginary beach, looking for pebbles, to lift one and to throw it. Which are the important accents of the action? (to see, to take, to throw).
Exercise 1.306: Learning the action
|1. Accentuated beat:||Start. Take a step, searching for a stone|
|2.||Second step forwards or backwards|
|3.||Third step forwards or backwards|
|4.||See a stone on 4, on 4+ bend down, arm outstretched, hand opened|
|5. Accentuated beat:||Pick the stone up|
|6.||Rise and prepare to throw, lifting the arm (otkas)|
|7. Accentuated beat:||Throw the stone|
|Look where the stone fell|
Exercise 1.307: Do the action at different speeds: quick/sportive/very quick/in slow motion.
Exercise 1.308: Picking up a stone and throwing it. With commands from the teacher: ‘Freeze!’ ‘Go on!’ change speed and direction accordingly.
Exercise 1.309: Practise the exercise with the stone in seven different space and dynamic patterns: waves, concave or convex movements, with acceleration, deceleration, by saccades (staccato or legato).
Exercise 1.310: With different energy types: Do the movement ‘as’ a feather, as lead, fire, jumpy, stiff…
Exercise 1.311: Children throw snowballs at each other. Use the exercise above. Improvisation.
Crossings – action-exercises for coordination
Diagonal crossings through the space with a given action or a movement pattern (as practised in dance or capoeira training) or a small action (as in the butoh training of Aki Suzuki). It may be focused on energy, form, rhythm, aim, direction, or expression of emotion.
Exercise 1.312: The leader invents and presents the exercise: the actors must pass in the diagonal with a particular walk, a particular impulse, a particular speed, a particular action, with a particular emotion. With the given action or movement pattern, the stage must be diagonally crossed by repeating the pattern.
Basic rhythm drill
Exercise 1.313: Stomp-clap in group. The counting goes: (1+2+3+4+ 5+6 +7+8 +). Stand upright. Step right, clap at the same time on 1. On +, there is nothing! Clap, step left. Do the exercise 8 times.
Exercise 1.314: Clapping offbeat. Step right (as above) on 1, clap on +. Step left, clap. Do the exercise 8 times and repeat.
Exercise 1.315: Do the exercise 4 times while clapping at the same time, 4 times clapping afterwards (or 2 times).
Exercise 1.316: 2 steps right, 2 steps left. Same system: (steps clapping on 1, 8 times clapping on +).
Exercise 1.317: ’Fylkingen’ exercises: Fill in with rhythm. The groups sit in circle, each person has a simple percussion instrument and presents it by playing it (spoons, wooden blocks, maracas, triangle, etc). A (a rhythm-experienced person!) beats a slow, equal 8-beat leading rhythm (on an instrument that all can hear well), accentuating the first beat. B inscribes a small, short pattern in the rhythm and repeats it several times so everybody has understood. Then C continues but avoids playing his own pattern at the same time as A: (There is enough space on and in between 8 beats!), then D, E, F; etc… The instructor should listen carefully, the rhythm must keep together and should not sway and not accelerate!
Exercise 1.318: Solo within the rhythm. Each person has an instrumental solo and improvises within the rhythm.
Exercise 1.319: Fill in with rhythm and sound as above. All group members clap the 8-beat rhythm. The short patterns inserted are vocal.
Exercise 1.320: Solo within the rhythm. Each person has a or instrumental solo and improvises within the rhythm.
Exercise 1.321: Work with the composition ‘In C’ by Terry Riley. The basic rhythm is given on the piano.
Exercise 1.322: Slow cycle of 48 beats (padingakalam) as described below, and practise clapping in a group or individually.
Exercise 1.323: Walk on the beats, freeze on non-accented beats.
Exercise 1.324: Walk on the beats, with an action (put a coat on, tie shoelaces, pick up an object, etc.), with movement accents on accentuated beats (also with partner).
Exercise 1.325: Walk on the unaccented beats, freeze on the accentuated beats.
Exercise 1.326: Do the exercise moving in offbeats.
Exercise 1.327: Improvisation: Two partners or two groups stand opposite each other. Group A is walking on a beat, group B in the offbeat.
Basic rhythm cycles for scenes
X = strong beat
O = low beat
x = (facultative beat)
– ( no beat)
First row: main rhythm
Second and third row: filling in
4 rows, following each other