Group Motion in Practice

Collective Creation through Dance Movement Improvisation


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About the Book

Group Motion—an improvisational dance performance practice—represents fifty years of co-creation by the authors, with the participation of thousands of dancers, musicians, videographers and others around the globe. Informed by Mary Wigman’s expressionist dance and other contemporary dance and theater traditions, Group Motion has brought dance not only to stages worldwide, but also to public parks, prisons and airports. Part memoir, part guidebook, part philosophy of art treatise, this book provides step-by-step guidance to dozens of improvisational structures or games for dance professionals, theater artists, musicians and other performers who use movement for creative expression.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Brigitta Herrmann is a dancer, performer, choreographer, and movement educator. As co-founder and co-artistic director of Motion in Berlin, Group Motion Multimedia Dance Theater, and of Ausdruckstanz Dance Theater in Philadelphia, she is a leading force in the arena of dance/movement improvisation and choreography.

Manfred Fischbeck is co-founder and co-artistic director of Group Motion Multimedia Dance Theater. A performer, teacher, choreographer, musician, and innovator in improvisation and dance technology, he teaches dance at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and theater at the University of Pennsylvania.

Elia Sinaiko, PhD, is an independent researcher in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Anna Beresin, PhD, is a play researcher and professor of liberal arts at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Brigitta Herrmann and Manfred Fischbeck with Elia Sinaiko and Anna Beresin

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: 41 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7278-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3209-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Introduction 3

The Origins of Group Motion  3

Group Motion in Practice  6

Dance Is My Life: Brigitta’s Story  8

Running into Dance: Manfred’s Story  20

Group Motion Performance Stories  30

Part I. Group Motion Game Structures 33

Solo/Duet  34

Active-Passive  34

Activation  38

Mirror  40

Closing Your Eyes  42

Self Portrait Dance  42

Solo Dance/Writing  43

Dialogue  45

Connected to Strings  46

Self-Activation  47

Breathing Movement  49

Final Reflections on Solo/Duet Forms  50

Circle  55

Impulse  55

Name Game  57

Adding  58

Final Reflections on Circle Forms  61

Space  64

Areas  64

Crystallization  65

The Grid  67

Shadow Dance  69

Exchange Game  72

Moving or Being Still  73

Triangle/Diamond Dance  74

Group Dialogue/Trialogue Dance  77

Final Reflections on Space Forms  78

Sound  82

Time Dance  82

Message Dance  84

Receiving Sound Energy  85

Conducting Sound Energy  87

Sound Activation/Soundscapes  89

Words into Sounds  90

Final Reflections on Sound Forms  91

Word  94

Traveling Landscapes  94

Say What You Do  97

Word/Movement Mirror  98

Chat Room  99

Writing Process and Activation  100

Textography  102

Storytelling Dance  104

Alter Ego Monologue  105

Alter Ego Dialogue  105

Final Reflections on Word Forms  107

Ritual  111

House or Village Square Dance  111

Object Dance  113

Group Activations  116

Tableaux Stills  116

Group Tableaux Travel  117

Evolution Cycle  118

Past Lives Circle  119

Doing Nothing: The Dance of Stillness  120

Game Sequences  121

Introduction to the Friday Night Workshop  122

Model of Group Motion on a Friday Night  123

The Significance of Ritual Dances  131

Part II. Group Motion Practices 141

Eight Therapeutic Principles of Group Motion  142

The Partnership of Dance and Music  148

A Process of Collective Creation  151

Community Performance Project  155

Monday Night Improv Lab  157

Moving Beyond the Games  158

Reflection on the Practice of Free Improvisation  161

Practice of Interaction with Technology  164

Part III. Closing Conversations and Meditations 167

Cooperation: The Universal Creative Principle  168

Dance as a Vehicle for Understanding Human Nature  168

The Awakening of the Body in the Technological Age  169

The Art of Dance and Transformation  174

The Art of Free Improvisation  174

From Then to Now and There to Here  175

Dance as an Art Form  177

Dance Is a Way of Life  178

Appendix I: Dance Chronology: Brigitta Herrmann 181

Appendix II: Theater and Dance Chronology: Manfred Fischbeck 185

Bibliography 189

Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

Group Motion’s work is unique in that is takes what is often practiced in insular modern and post-modern dance communities and brings it weekly to the Philadelphia community…and now to anyone who picks up this book.”—Thinking Dance