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Choreography in the era of COVID-19 with Angelica Bell

Portrait of Angelica Bell. She has long brown hair and it wearing a black tank top. She is posed against a purple background.

Hello! My name is Angelica Bell and I am a dance educator/teaching artist. I am the Artistic Director of a non-profit dance studio in Southeast Ohio called Factory Street Studio, and an Art Possible Ohio teacher at the Carleton School! I want to “pull back the curtain” and share the ways I have adapted my teaching since the COVID-19 crisis began and give you a composition prompt to try at home:

I virtually deliver weekly choreography and dance improvisation prompts for my students to engage with at home. Students send me video footage of the dances they create in response to the prompts in whatever space they have available to them. Here is the current prompt my students are working on:

“Explore ​confinement ​and ​freedom​ through movement. Dance for 30 seconds embodying confinement​, then 30 seconds embodying ​freedom​, then 30 seconds switching back and forth between confinement ​and​ freedom. Total= 1.5 minutes exploration. Note: We are working with our own perception of time (i.e. 30 seconds) and not necessarily being super precise.”

I would love to see your physical interpretation of this improv/composition prompt! Would you like to share your dance? I would love to see it! Send to director@factorystreetstudio.org​. I will not share it anywhere, will just watch and respond with gratitude for your sharing 🙂

I am interested in exploring these concepts, confinement and freedom, on a kinesthetic level because I experience both polarized feeling states in my current daily life in quarantine. I am literally confined to home and other “essential” spaces like the gas station and grocery store, but there is mental and emotional confinement felt with social distancing and physical separation from usual routines. Simultaneously, the daily structure of life has been demolished since radical adjustments have been made to quell the pandemic, and it brings with it a sense of freedom; there is nowhere to be at a specific time because we are ordered to stay put and work from home. This is a strange, bittersweet freedom for me. I have heard from friends and students that being at home has forced them to self-reflect more and contemplate aspects of life they would normally ignore. Again, this forced reflection is bittersweet, uncomfortable, and potentially fruitful in some ways.

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