Artsource - Nuevo Ballet Español

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Artsource The Music Center’s Study Guide to the Performing Arts

TRANSFORMATION

ENDURING VALUES

DANCE MUSIC ®

ARTISTIC PROCESSES

TRADITIONAL CLASSICAL

1. CREATING (Cr)

CONTEMPORARY

2. PERFORMING, PRESENTING, PRODUCING (Pr)

EXPERIMENTAL

3. RESPONDING (Re)

MULTI-MEDIA

4. CONNECTING (Cn)

FREEDOM & OPPRESSION

THE POWER OF NATURE

THE HUMAN FAMILY

Title of Work:

About The Artwork:

1) Playas del Alma (Beaches of the Soul) from Flamenco Directo 2) Solea X Bulería Concierto Flamenco

Piece 1: Playas del Alma from Flamenco Directo. Here a traditional flamenco form, “Alegrias” (joys) is danced to the inventive music of Cañadú. This modern example of an Alegrias uses a movement language informed by modern and jazz dance and music. Piece 2: Solea X Bulería. An excerpt of a solo from

Creators: Company: Nuevo Ballet Español Choreographers: Ángel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez Music: Cañadú

Background Information: Nuevo Ballet Español (NBE) was founded in 1995 by Ángel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez, two young dancers who built their reputations dancing with many leading Spanish dance companies. Raised in Madrid, they trained with flamenco master, José Granero, while also studying other dance forms such as ballet, modern and jazz. In forming their company, Rojas and Rodríguez wanted to create a 21st century vision of flamenco that could appeal to a young audience, without betraying the essence of the form. As they have said, “In art, there are hardly ever any revolutions as such, rather there are evolutions, new pathways over routes that have already been trodden…This is a flamenco that reflects our generation…No one can say we’re not dancing flamenco, with the palmas (hand clapping) and cantes (songs), but it’s infused with funk, jazz and classical.” The dancers are trained in NBE’s unique style of flamenco influenced by modern dance. Also distinguishing the work of NBE is its collaborative relationship with the equally creative music groups, Cañadú and Mahera. Both dance and music entities are committed to exploring and expanding the boundaries of flamenco by drawing from other forms and styles.

Concierto Flamenco. Danced by Ángel Rojas, this piece displays the dancer as percussionist, supported only by the hand-clapped beat and eventual outbreak of song supplied by two singer/palmeros (clappers).

Creative Process of the Artist or Culture: The history of flamenco is a multicultural story: Flamenco is woven into the culture of southern Spain (Andalusia) with its roots in the gypsy community. Believed to originate in northern India, the gypsies were nomad tribes, some of which migrated across Europe and Africa. As they went, they gathered a multicultural weave of dance and musical influence until they settled in Andalusia in the mid-1400s. By then the Moors had occupied Andalusia for over seven centuries, so flamenco music contains strong Moorish threads along with those of Jewish, Catholic and local music. Towards the end of 15th century the Catholic Kings expelled the Moors, initiating a two-century era of persecution of non-Catholics. (Continued on page 2.)

Photo: © Vallinas

“This is a flamenco that reflects our generation…” Ángel Rojas & Carlos Rodríguez


Creative Process of the Artist or Culture Continued: Flamenco expresses the pain of the gypsies during this dark period, much as the Blues was born of the suffering of black slaves in the United States Over time, flamenco has enjoyed spurts of evolution provoked by exposure to other forms such as jazz, Indian, hip-hop and Latin music as well as tap, ballet and modern dance. Some purists feel these influences and fusions contaminate the form but others recognize that as long as its practitioners maintain artistic integrity, the art form is simply staying true to its multicultural origins.

Discussion Questions: After the video has been viewed: • What other kinds of dance have students seen or participated in? Compare them to flamenco dancing (e.g. flamenco is strong, grounded, and earthy, while classical ballet is light and aerial). • What is the beat (e.g. the constant, unchanging pulse in a piece of music)? See Vocabulary, page 3. • What other things in our world have a beat (e.g. clocks, machines, the heart)? • What is rhythm (e.g. changing patterns of beats and offbeats)? See Vocabulary, page 3.

Audio-Visual Materials: • Artsource® video excerpts: Playas del Alma from the show Flamenco Directo. Solea X Bulería from Concierto Flamenco. Courtesy of Nuevo Ballet Español. • Photos: courtesy of Nuevo Ballet Español.

Additional References: • Flamenco – a documentary film by Carlos Saura showing the array of flamenco styles from traditional to modern. Juan Lebrón Productions 1994. • Latcho Drom - a documentary film by Tony Gatlif showing the connections between the dances and music of gypsy cultures worldwide. New Yorker Video 1998. • Flamenco World website: www.flamenco-world.com.

Sample Experiences: LEVEL I * • Learn strategies for viewing a dance by studying the

videos of Playas del Alma and Solea X Bulería.

• Explore palmas (musical clapping) using the pictures in Level I Sample Lesson. • Discuss gesture which is a way of speaking without words. Identify some gestures seen in the NBE video excerpts. Ask students to compose a sequence of gestures that they can repeat. In partners have students teach each other their gesture sequences.

LEVEL II * • Study both NBE video excerpts. What parts of the

body can be used to create percussive sounds? What different sounds can these produce? Assign teams to produce each of these sounds, e.g. clapping, stomps (golpes), slapping the chest and thighs, snapping the fingers. * • Using clapping (palmas), one group maintains the steady beat while other teams explore the different rhythms that can be done against it. Define the order and number of times each group will perform their pattern. Compose an ending that all participants will perform together (in unison), then perform the work. • Learn how to do golpes (flamenco foot stomps) using directions in Level II Sample Lesson. Divide the class in two. Have one group clap a steady beat with a leader dictating changes in tempo (speed) while the other group does golpes, one golpe for every two claps.

LEVEL III • The term “isolation” in dance refers to the moving of only one part of the body at a time. For instance, the robotic movement that is often an element of Break Dancing is made up of isolations. What parts of the body most lend themselves to distinct separated movement (e.g. the head, shoulder, hips, hands)? Students explore these possibilities by creating their own isolation sequences. Try hip-hop music or simply a steady beat supplied by a group of students clapping in unison. * • Assign groups to create choreography for each rhythm pattern of the percussion music created in Lesson II. Use a variety of steps, shapes, contrasting qualities and floor patterns. Take turns being musicians and dancers to perform the final dance. * Indicates sample lesson

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Vocabulary for this Unit: Spanish Vocabulary Flamenco – a dance form from Spain Andalucia – Andalusia - southern Spain Nuevo – new Español – Spanish palmas – musical clapping of hands palmas sordas – mute sounding claps palmas claras – sharp sounding claps golpe – stomp of foot or feet zapateado – footwork cante – song English Vocabulary percussion – musical sound produced by striking something beat – the constant, unchanging pulse in a piece of music offbeat – beats between the main beats of music (produces syncopation) rhythm – changing patterns of beats and offbeats. tempo – speed locomotion – traveling in space locomotor step – a traveling step gesture – movements (usually with hands or arms) that communicate something without words to another person or people isolation – moving a body part on its own choreography – the creation of and planning for a dance choreographer – the creator of a dance score – piece of music, musical composition unison – all participants doing the same thing at the same time

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DANCE

LOOKING AT A FLAMENCO DANCE ENDURING VALUES and FREEDOM & OPPRESSION

LEVEL I Sample Lesson INTRODUCTION: The experience of a dance is in the relationship between the audience and the performers. An audience that is practiced in looking at the various components that go into a dance is better able to appreciate it from different points of view. Through multiple viewings of a dance, guided by questions and followed by discussion, students learn to see, appreciate and describe the various parts that go into making it. The task of analyzing, making comparisons and then describing what one has seen develops an awareness of the creative possibilities of dance-making. This is a creative process in itself.

Playas del Alma from Flamenco Directo Nuevo Ballet Español Photo: © Vallinas

OBJECTIVES: (Student Outcomes) Students will be able to: • Demonstrate knowledge of the various components that go into choreographing a dance. (Responding) • Discuss their deeper understanding of the nature of flamenco dance. (Responding & Connecting) • Analyze and make comparisons between the steps, shapes and qualities used in the dance. (Responding) • Use a richer descriptive vocabulary. (Connecting) • Describe, discuss, analyze and connect information and experiences based on this lesson. (Responding & Connecting) MATERIALS: • Artsource® video of excerpts of Playas del Alma and Solea X Bulería • Background information on flamenco and the Nuevo Ballet Español 4


PROGRESSION: • View both segments of the Artsource® Nuevo Ballet Español video several times. The viewings can be done on separate days. When both have been viewed and discussed, then students can compare and contrast their perceptions. The following questions can be used to discuss both pieces. • How are the rhythms made? • In what different ways are percussion sounds produced by the dancers and musicians? • Especially notice the palmas (musical clapping) and discuss how it is used by both musicians and dancers in the piece. The hands become musical instruments that can make distinctly different sounds. Look at the palmas directions below and try them out.

palmas sordas (deaf, as in muted.) Cup the right hand crossed over the left, keeping the hands slightly rounded as though holding a bug. This is to create a space to capture the air. Clap and notice the dull or bass sound made.

palmas claras (bright.) Straighten the hands and slap pretty hard with the right hand on the palm of the left. This should make a sharp sound. Note: With both sordas and claras, emphasize keeping the hands closed at the end of each clap rather than letting them fly open again. Correct palmas are performed with the hands held away from the body just opposite chest level, elbows lifted and rounded and shoulders down (imagine embracing a large egg.) • What different kinds of shapes are used (e.g. round, straight, wavy)? Try making different shapes with the arms. • What different kinds of movement are used in the dance, e.g. locomotion steps, turns, jumps, stomps, 5


claps, isolations, etc.? After the viewing, have students identify and describe them. • What different movement qualities are used, e.g. smooth, jagged, soft, hard, loose, held, relaxed, tense? Ask students to identify and describe them. Repeat moving the arms in the different shapes with these different qualities. • What directions and floor patterns do the dancers move in (e.g. up-down, side to side, diagonals, in circles, etc.)? Students identify and discuss these. • Analyze the structure of the dance – how does it begin, develop, end? What is important in performing an ending (e.g. dancers freeze in a strong ending pose)? Is the dance dramatic, sad, or funny? Is there a story? If so, what do you think the story is about? • What about the music, vocals or dancing suggest the ideas of Freedom & Oppression? VOCABULARY: See page 3. ASSESSMENT: (Responding & Connecting) DESCRIBE: Describe and name the movements you observed as the dancers moved. DISCUSS: Discuss the feelings or emotions the dancers expresses. Did you feel these emotions as well? ANALYZE: Compare and contrast the two different dances. How were they the same? How were they different? CONNECT: What words, ideas, feelings or other forms of expression or work come to mind when you think of Flamenco music and dance? Emphasis on: Common Core - CA State Standards for Language - Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking

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DANCE

BODY DRUM - CREATING PERCUSSION WITH THE BODY THE HUMAN FAMILY

LEVEL II Sample Lesson INTRODUCTION: Part of the essential core of flamenco is rhythm (compas) whether audible (i.e., rhythm we hear) or rhythm patterns we see. In many dance forms the dancers move to music and rhythms supplied by musicians. In flamenco and other percussive dance forms, such as tap, Indian Kathak or Irish Step Dancing, the dancer is also acting as a percussive musician while dancing. While all of these forms are usually also accompanied by various instruments, percussive dance can sometimes be seen without any other musical support. In its most pared Playas del Alma from Flamenco Directo Nuevo Ballet Español down form, flamenco can be Photo: © Vallinas performed in total silence, with only the percussive sounds produced by the dancer being heard or to nothing but the steady beat supplied by one or more clappers (palmeros) as in video excerpt #2, Solea X Bulería. This lesson focuses on this latter possibility and explores the various ways that flamenco dancers can produce percussive sound using only the body. OBJECTIVES: (Student Outcomes) Students will be able to: • Identify the characteristics of flamenco dance. (Responding) • Discuss rhythm as distinct from steady beat. (Responding) • Produce percussive sounds and build a rhythm pattern using only the percussive possibilities of the body. (Creating & Performing) • Demonstrate good listening skills. (Connecting) • Work cooperatively in groups. (Connecting) • Describe, discuss, analyze and connect information and experiences based on this lesson. (Responding & Connecting) 7


MATERIALS: • Artsource® video of excerpts #1 and #2, Playas del Alma and Solea X Bulería • Background information on flamenco and the Nuevo Ballet Español PROGRESSION: Watch both segments of the enclosed Artsource® video of Nuevo Ballet Español and use the “Discussion Questions” on page two. • Ask students to explore what parts of the body they can use to create percussion sounds (e.g. palmas (musical clapping), golpes (stomps), slapping the torso and thighs, and snapping the fingers). See directions on performing two different kinds of palmas in Lesson I. Golpes are performed correctly by bending the knees with the feet together, lifting the lower leg behind you and dropping the feet with a relaxed, heavy weight. Easy alternating motion between the feet is achieved by relaxing the hips so that weight can be shifted from side to side without bouncing up and down or jamming the knees. (See below. The drawings show a dancer wearing heeled flamenco shoes, but golpes can still be done in flat shoes or trainers.)

• Describe the various sounds these different percussive uses of the body can produce. • Assign small groups to create a rhythm pattern (see samples below) and perform it using a combination of the above possibilities.* One group serves as the support group, maintaining the steady beat. The other groups practice performing their particular rhythm against it. * Vocalizing the rhythms is an effective way to learn each pattern.

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Examples of rhythms in four beats: The first line is the steady beat. The other 4 lines are some possible rhythm patterns with suggestions for vocalizing them. Students may come up with other possibilities for both: Steady beat 1 (da) 2 (da) 3 (da) Rhythm pattern 1 1 (um) 2 (pa) &(pa) 3 (pa) Rhythm pattern 2 1 (um) &(pa) 2 (um) &(pa) 3 (um) &(pa) Rhythm pattern 3 &(ba) &(ba) &(ba) Rhythm pattern 4 2 (ta) &(ta)

4 (da) 4 (pa) 4 (pa) &(ba) 4 (ta) &(ta)

TASK: • Decide on a sequence for the different rhythm patterns and the number of times each will be repeated. • Groups perform their rhythm patterns in this sequence against the steady beat of the support group. • You will find it needs an ending. Explore different ways to end it. Decide on an ending for everyone to perform together (in unison) and perform it again. Examples of an ending could be a stomp, vocal sound or stop. CRITERIA: • Clean and consistent forms • Demonstrate good listening skills. • Follow directions. • Find variety in the ways that different percussion sounds can be combined to create a rhythm pattern. • Group cooperation. • Maintain steady beat, working with rhythm patterns • Maintain rhythms • Make all sounds clear and in unison EXTENSION: • Describe the performing experience. What was challenging or surprising about it? • Discuss ways that the experience changes student perceptions of being a musician/dancer. • Analyze how the work can be improved, both visually and in terms of sound. • Watch the NBE video again. In what ways did this experience relate to the NBE dance video? In what ways did it change student perceptions as well as their own abilities? MULTI-DISCIPLINARY EXTENSION: • Write a poem that expresses an emotion communicated by flamenco dance. This can be based on an event in a student’s life that made them feel proud, angry, frustrated, powerful, etc. • Using clay, paint or crayons create artwork that expresses this emotion. • With pencil or crayons draw some of the floor patterns seen in the dance or shapes made by the dancers. VOCABULARY: See page 3. 9


ASSESSMENT: (Responding & Connecting) DESCRIBE: Describe the performing experience. What was challenging or surprising about it? DISCUSS: Discuss the way they felt when they were dancing any two contrasting ideas. ANALYZE: Discuss the contrasts in energy (strong/weak; heavy/light), space (close/far; large/small), time (fast/slow), and emotion (sad/happy; afraid/brave; angry/calm) that they experienced when they danced each opposite concept. CONNECT: Identify all the places where opposites are found in students’ lives. Emphasis on: Common Core - CA State Standards for Language - Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking

RUBRIC FOR EXTENSION TASK: Advanced: • Consistently focused • Highly inventive use of the body to make percussion sounds • Excellent ability to hear and maintain rhythms • Excellent ability to hear or maintain a steady beat • Excellent team cooperation and participation Proficient: • Focused most of the time • Some inventive use of the body to make percussion sounds • Some ability to hear and maintain rhythms • Some ability to hear or maintain a steady beat • Good team cooperation and participation Approaching Proficient: • Inconsistent focus • Lack of inventive use of the body to make percussion sounds • Inconsistent ability to hear and maintain rhythms • Inconsistent ability to hear or maintain a steady beat • Lack of team cooperation and participation

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DANCE

MAKING A DANCE ENDURING VALUES and THE HUMAN FAMILY

LEVEL III Sample Lesson INTRODUCTION: This lesson should be done only after completing Level I and II Lessons. By now, students have studied a flamenco dance in depth with guided viewing and discussion of the NBE Artsource® video excerpts. They have then created an original percussion composition with the body. The next step is to enter the world of choreography and create a dance. A large space, such as a gym, multipurpose room, or auditorium would be preferable for this lesson. OBJECTIVES: (Student Outcomes) Students will be able to: • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the various components that go into the making of a dance/choreography. (Responding) • Use their imaginations and creativity to explore the infinite ways the body can be used expressively. (Creating)

Playas del Alma from Flamenco Directo Nuevo Ballet Español Photo: © Vallinas

• Work cooperatively in groups. (Connecting) • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the nature of flamenco dance through discussion and performance. (Responding & Connecting) • Describe, discuss, analyze and connect information and experiences based on this lesson. (Responding & Connecting) MATERIALS: • Artsource® video of excerpt from Playas del Alma (1st segment) PROGRESSION: • Students have now learned about the various components of dance-making analyzed in Level I–shape, steps, contrasting qualities, floor patterns, directions and structure, e.g. beginning, middle, end. Using these elements, a dance can be choreographed to the percussion score created in Level II. • Assign a different group to create choreography for each rhythm pattern created in Level II. Define a 11


space in the room for each group to perform as well as an area for the musicians. Then develop each choreographic component as follows: • Using contrasting shapes (e.g. round, straight), create some shapes to be performed to the chosen rhythm. • Apply these shapes to different kinds of movements and steps (e.g. locomotor steps, movement on the spot, turns, jumps, gestures, isolations). • Apply contrasting qualities to the created movement (e.g. smooth, jagged, soft, hard, loose, held, relaxed, tense, etc.). Perhaps think of an emotion or attitude you wish to express (i.e., pride, strength, anger, sadness, etc.) • Define floor patterns and directions in which to move. • Be certain that the piece has a clear beginning, middle and end. TASK: Once each group has created choreography for its rhythm pattern, divide the class in two groups to take turns beings musicians and dancers. The musicians perform the rhythm score created in Level II while the dancers perform their choreography to it. (NOTE: If there are a sufficient number of students, these two groups can also be divided in half so that students may also take turns being an audience and performing.) CRITERIA: • Strong, consistent focus • Clearly defined shapes, steps and floor patterns. • Variety in the ways that different shapes, steps and floor patterns can be combined. • Contrast in movement qualities. • Group cooperation. • Performance energy (fulfills rhythm and movement) EXTENSIONS: • Ask students to create a way to draw (i.e. notate) the dance they have created and performed. • Ask students to draw a picture that expresses the essence of flamenco as they have experienced it. ASSESSMENT: (Responding & Connecting) • DESCRIBE: Describe the various roles and experiences in this lesson: creating, performing and being an audience member. What was interesting, challenging or surprising about the roles and experiences? What parts of the self did these experiences challenge and involve (e.g. body, brain, feelings, thoughts, etc.)? • DISCUSS: Discuss ways that the experience changed student perceptions of being a musician, dancer, choreographer, and/or audience member. In what ways have these experiences changed student perceptions of themselves as people? 12


• ANALYZE: Analyze ways that the dance is interesting to watch. How could it be improved? • Watch the first NBE video excerpt again and then discuss how student perceptions of it have now been transformed. (e.g. How has their appreciation of the dance changed? How has their appreciation of the work of the dancers and choreographers changed and/or grown?) • CONNECT: Discuss what you learned that can be applied to other areas of working together with others. Emphasis on: Common Core - CA State Standards for Language - Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking RUBRIC FOR MAKING A DANCE: Advanced: • Consistently focused • Highly inventive combination of steps, shapes, floor patterns and directions • Excellent ability to dance to rhythmic music • Excellent ability to perform movement with contrasting qualities • Excellent team cooperation and participation • consistent, strong performance energy Proficient: • Focused most of the time • Some inventive combination of steps, shapes, floor patterns and directions • Some ability to dance to rhythmic music • Some ability to clearly perform movement with contrasting qualities • Good team cooperation and participation • Good performance energy Approaching Proficient: • Inconsistent focus • Lack of invention in combining steps, shapes, floor patterns and directions • Inconsistent ability to dance to rhythmic music • Inconsistent ability to clearly perform movement with contrasting qualities • Lack of team cooperation and participation • Lack of strong performance energy

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