Dynamic Movement/Explosive Sound Program Inspires
Five days a week, dance students take off their shoes and enter a mirrored room, anticipating hours of dancing. Keeping up with this routine and staying positive and active is no easy task. Fortunately, the dance students at Kent State have the luxury of listening to live music rather than a mixed tape, which is an educational opportunity some colleges and universities do not offer.
Thanks to dedicated individuals and the hard work of several percussion and piano performance majors, the dancers listen to music that is specifically coordinated and tailored to each of their movement combinations.
This new music study program, Dynamic Movement/Explosive Sound, which is profiled in this week's video, trains students in the art of dance accompaniment, allows music performance majors to gain experience working with dancers and helps them learn to improvise and change with the mood, rhythm and tempo of the dances.
Each motif is watched by the music performers, and from them they use a variety of percussion instruments to coordinate with each other and the dancers to create energy in their music while playing the correct meter and accents. The students must have instrumental skills, understand the dance language and be creative.
“Dynamic Movement/Explosive Sound is unique because it offers students an opportunity to collaborate with and learn about another art form,” says Claudia Howard Queen, the dance music director for the Dance Division in the School of Theatre and Dance. “Music students learn to improvise appropriate music for Modern and Ballet Technique classes as well as for Dance Improvisation classes.”
The instruments used include the electronic micron, which produces 2,000 sounds; African hand drums called djembes; roto toms or five-tuned toms; slit drums or tongue drums; Brazil nut ankle bracelets; and sticks on the walls or floor. The students also sing in tune with the instruments.
The excitement about the new program has created a tremendous response in participation. Six students are involved in the program: three percussionists and three pianists. Students play between two and six hours per week through this work-study program, and some students play up to 10 hours per week for the extra experience.
This program is also a way for the composers to discover their style and sharpen their skills. “Teachers love it; dancers love it; and musicians love it,” says Queen.
The creation of this program is truly a testament to the dedication dance and music professors have to their students and the dedication students have to their arts. Future dance and music students have a program that will enable them to learn and grow as performers.
To learn more about the program, watch this week’s video.
By Melody Wachowski