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.

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