I am so impressed with the quality and concept of this book series (this is our third). The images are crisp and beautiful and the ideas for using the book are SO MUCH FUN! My kids (age 6-11) and I are having a great time trying out the activity ideas that go with the images. I was leading them through the activities and then realized they could be child-led too so they have been taking turns leading the exercises, which they love. The activities are stretching us in many ways: dissecting and recreating poses down to the smallest details, using dance/movement vocabulary, team work, problem solving, thinking creatively, etc. The book is also helpful as a springboard into more creativity exercises "beyond the page". I think the book is perfect for my kids ages, but it would also be a great tool for teen+ dancers, especially if used in choreography and improv type exercises. (Erica)
Give each student a card and 10 seconds (adjust as needed) to re-create the shape. When they hear a bell, clap, etc., pass their cards in a circle.
Spread a subset of cards around the room or tape them to the walls. Have students find a card, copy the shape, and head to the next card.
Have one student copy a shape and the other check details, then switch.
Put out boxes or stuffed animals to leap over; a rolled up carpet, board, or tape line to tiptoe across; a hoop to do a card-pose; a chair to crawl under; tape spots to jump from spot to spot; a sturdy filled box to step up on, etc.
Group students in threes (or more). Have one look at the card and make the shape.
Have the second copy the shape from the first, and the third copy the second’s shape.
Then have the first and second compare the shape with the picture.
Give each student a card and have them change a small detail about the shape.
If there’s time, students could present and ask other students to identify the difference.
Give students cards and ask them to tell you all they know about the picture (ballet position, curved/straight/bent parts, parallel/turned out, etc.). Then have all students make the shape.
Read part of the companion book, Dancing Shapes. Pass coordinating shape cards around for dancers to see. *Not all images are included.
Time students sorting cards by characteristic, for example flexed/pointed/both.
Put a shape card out for each student in a circle. Have students create each shape moving around along the circle. Speed up on the second and third rounds. Take the cards away and see if students can remember the poses for a fourth time around the circle.
Tell a Tale: Group students into small groups. Give each set a picture and ask them to choreograph a dance story to explain what’s happening in the pose.
Say my Shape: Pair students and give one student a picture card. The student with the card tells the other student how to pose, trying to re-create the picture as closely as possible using only verbal clues. If you do this activity a second time, the posing student could be blindfolded.
Cut out the pose squares from the grid. Give each student a mini-picture or two and have them find the corresponding picture card/s scattered around the room.
One student creates a shape. The other student has a magic wand (real or imagined) and wherever it touches, a lit bit of the shape melts.
This could also be dynamic with a start/stop magic wand, and students would have to melt slowly until instructed to stop.
One student creates a shape. The other touches (or points/identifies a place) where a twist should initiate. Try another couple spots.
Combine with Magic Melt, or add a dynamic start/stop.
Pair students and give one student a picture card. Have the student with the card physically manipulate the other student to match the shape. (This would only be for a group very comfortable with each other).
It’s always interesting how different bodies have different strengths. Spread cards out and have students move around the room trying each shape. Have students check the number of their hardest shape and compare answers.
With the arms cards, have students line up with different arm shapes. Pass a stuffed animal along the line-up while students try to keep their arm shapes as close to original shapes as possible (bending their bodies to retrieve the animal).
In pairs...One student names three-four body parts, and chooses a starting position card. The other creates a mini-dance only moving those parts. Switch.
Each student creates a pose. The instructor calls out instructions (either Simon Says or just the instructions) such as bend one knee, soften the fingers, flex one wrist, round your back, smile, tilt your head, point a foot, rotate a leg, stick out your tongue, collapse on the floor, etc.
Each student creates a pose. The instructor calls out instructions (either Simon Says or just the instructions) using the instruction cards.
This could also be adapted for pairs.
Start the stopwatch for 10 seconds (adjust as needed) create the shape. When time's up, choose a new card.
Choose 2 cards - those are your beginning and end poses. Create the dance that goes in the middle.
What can you say about the picture (ballet position, curved/straight/bent parts, parallel/turned out, etc.)?
Create the shape then change a small detail about the shape, change another detail. Keep going until it's a very different pose.
Read a section of the companion book, Dancing Shapes. See if you can order the pictures from memory.
Sort cards by characteristic, for example flexed/pointed/both.
Take a quick look at the shape and turn it upside down. Try to create the pose.
Choreograph a dance story to explain what’s happening in a pose.
Create the pose in different ways: mirrored, corresponding (right side to right side), try an upside-down or sideways version.
Randomly choose three-four body parts, choose a starting position card and create a mini-dance only moving those parts.
Re-create a pose. Then think of a character from a recent TV show or book and re-create the same pose while pretending to be that person. Did the pose feel different? You could try the same activity adding movement from the starting pose.
Choose an image. Imagine a photographer has a stack of photos from a photo shoot. What does the next image look like?
Make the shape taller. For an easier activity, only use shapes with feet on the floor.
Shuffle the instruction cards and apply to your shape.
Even better, have a friend read them to you.