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Dance and Movement Exercise: Still Forms

This is an excerpt from Interdisciplinary Arts With HKPropel Access by Suzanne Ostersmith & Kathleen Jeffs.

Walk through the space. Stop and form your body into the shape of a pin, then change. How can you be a different type of pin? Change again into another pin. Forming yourself into more than one type of pin engages your body more as you realize there is more than one way to make each of the still forms.

Continuing this exercise, begin to move again.

Move through space as though you are moving through a thick substance such as glue or peanut butter. This allows you to engage your body with stronger movement. Then freeze. Holding a position, ask yourself which of the still forms you are most like.

After experiencing each still form, turn to some inner reflection. Using a whiteboard or a notebook, write out the symbols and how you related to each one. Writing and reflecting after movement helps solidify the concept.

Asanas, or poses, can be done together. Then think about which of Laban’s still forms connect (see figure 3.2a-e).

Figure 3.2 (a) Pin = tree pose, (b) wall = warrior II, (c) ball = ball stretch, (d) tetrahedron = extended lateral triangle, (e) spiral = revolved lunge.
Figure 3.2 (a) Pin = tree pose, (b) wall = warrior II, (c) ball = ball stretch, (d) tetrahedron = extended lateral triangle, (e) spiral = revolved lunge.

The still forms, and the transitions between them, form the basis of many movement sequences in dance. Familiarity with how your unique body responds to each of the still forms will help you develop your own expressivity by giving you an initial vocabulary. From here, you can begin to create other patterns.