Leslie’s Observations

I found it really interesting that throughout the class Aakash kept mentioning muscle memory over mental memory. Throughout the lesson, Aakash repeated the idea that one’s body will remember what needs to be remembered. In doing this he spoke to his iterative process and building muscle memory. I found this particularly interesting because this seems to be the way Aakash remembers best. Throughout the lesson he never pulled out a piece of paper or a video but simply paused to work his body through the movements in his mind.

Focus on bodily energy; allow it to inform next move. Throughout the lesson, this seemed to be one of Aakash’s main focuses. While he never explicitly mentioned it, he did talk a lot about energy and how the energy created the flow of the movements. This focus on energy seems to be a key part of his dance philosophy.

Another thing that intrigued me was the clumping together of students during the water break. While Deb, Bill, Sebastian, and Aakash largely remained on stage, the students quite eagerly ran off to their water bottles and began chatting. Aakash then had to beckon most of the students back on stage. This was really interesting because most of the students seemed at that moment of break created a very stark contrast in the energy of the room. While previously they had been very quiet, during break time the talking (although not that loud) seemed loud due to the quiet that had previously persisted in the room. The clumping together as a group also clarified a divide between professors/instructors and students. Knowing now that there is a 7 minute break in between the dance instruction and class time for the students to in a sense turn off, I’d like to see of there is a way students could learn to more fully utilize all of their dance lesson (even water breaks) as a learning opportunity.

While 15 students sounds like a reasonable class size, I was quite surprised how full the stage looked. 15 students + Aakash + Sebastian + Bill + Deb created a lot of bodies on stage which was even more noticeable when people ran into each other or ran out of space along the sides or the wall.

I was highly conflicted when people paused to take breaks during the dance routine. I definitely understand needing breaks and have taken many myself during workouts and practices; however, a previous professors phrase of “stay in the attempt” kept coming to mind. I think it will be interesting to see how these spontaneous breaks will affect the room in the future. Will other dancers notice leading to an increase in personal time outs? Will bodies become used to the exertion leading to less need for future pauses? Can the energy in the room spur on people who feel they might need to take a pause? Is it better to take a small pause than produce multiple iterations of lower quality work (thereby recording a sloppier version into muscle memory)?