Space is shared by both dance and architecture as a medium either to frame or to express conceptual, emotional and also very concrete ideas. How do artists and architects experience, understand, consider, think, use space?
– Mirna Zagar, Executive Director, The Dance Centre, Dance Aesthetics: The Significance of Space
I did a presentation today with my school buddy Tim, and Pierre, one of our very flexible profs. It was for our department research day. Tim takes students on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Pierre is involved in ecotourism in Asia. I take people on more urban expeditions.
Tim’s pictures were far more dramatic than mine. But, we attempted to give our participants an experience that showed them that you can turn any site into a powerful and educational tour, event, moment, expedition, whatever you want to call it.
We called our session: Going out there: Using a dance metaphor to investigate two pedagogical approaches to sustainability education.
We used the dance metaphor because the event was held at the Dance Centre and we presented in an actual dance studio. So being in (and around) a beautiful building (which this one is) and mingling with dancers, invites a discussion of space and aesthetics, which is not a stretch when you’re on tour in an urban setting, pondering sustainability.
First Pierre had participants do a little warm up and rehearsal at the barre. He said he was much better at bar than barre, but he did an admirable plié. That was followed by two very brief presentations of our research, kind of a pas de deux. Then we tried a little “choreography” outside. We had charted a route along Granville Street, through a parking lot, down a back alley and winding up in Emery Barnes Park.
Along the way, we asked people to describe the place, say what they found beautiful and how the space made them feel. We had a wonderfully rich conversation and wound up in the park. The only rule here was that they had to play. It could involve pirouettes or hopping across the rocks in the water feature, or rolling in the grass. Most people chose to play in the designated play area, climbing, swinging and sliding. After a brief cool down, we chasséd back to the Centre.
It is end of term, so it felt appropriate to close with such a happy dance walk.