Middlesex College’s Dance Program encourages students to take the improvisation and composition (DAN-202) course in future semesters to find their creative movement voice and learn how to use their own moves to compose dances.
Aimee Mitacchione, a Middlesex College dance professor, said that this was her favorite class to teach.
“We’re learning how to find our creative movement voice in this class through improvisation exercises that are all guided. I call them ‘serious play’. They’re movement games or challenges, so there’s a lot of problem solving in the class,” Mitacchione said.
She said the goal of these exercises would be to utilize improvisational moves to start developing choreography and dance pieces.
Mitacchione said this is called a toolbox for choreography.
“For example, we could do a game where we learn how to investigate air pathways. We would pick a body part and trace that air pathway with our elbow, maybe, [then] I would say, ‘Okay everybody, we’re going to write our names in the air with our elbow’…Now we’re learning not only what that body part action possibility is, but we’re also learning about an air pathway as well,” said Mitacchione.
Mitacchione said that moves like this could later be used if choreographers “hit a wall” and were unsure how to continue their dance.
Mitacchione said students do not have to have any prior knowledge of dance to participate.
“I often find that people with prior dance experience fall back on what they know, and it limits their possibilities because they think they have to replicate what they know already. We try to break those boundaries; we try to break those habits. People who have less dance experience have no preconceived notion of what it should look like, feel like or be like. They’re just kind of a blank canvas, and the stuff they come up with [is] just incredible,” Mitacchione said.
Middlesex College student Megan O’Grady said, “When prompted with the possible option to take a DAN-202 class, I immediately would be interested.”
“I think this class would really let students explore their own ability to be creative and move freely with music. I believe this would allow people who are not totally the dance type to want to step outside their comfort zone a little bit and try something new,” O’Grady said.
Shane McCormack, a Middlesex College alumnus, said, “This sounds interesting. I wish I had known about it when I was in school.”
“It’s really a journey; it’s exploring and finding your own way of doing things within the dance,” Mitacchione said.