Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Extended Playshop in Cornwall

Lynn used to be a student of mine when I taught Nia in Manhattan. She long ago became a teacher herself and opened up a Nia studio in her home-town of Cornwall-on-Hudson, about an hour north of NYC.

I was still in NY when she opened it, and she invited me to come up and teach a series of classes and playshops on the weekend the doors were officially opened.

And now I'm returning to the successful studio about ten years later. It is burgeoning and popular, and my class was filled with people.

I was bringing the Orchestra routine and tacking on an extra hour of FloorPlay. At first, I was trying to quickly put together an hour of classical music to do FloorPlay to, but it didn't take me long to realize that that was going to take a lot of work to make it any good. I could easily play some music and 'wing it' but I feel like the students that come to my classes deserve my best work, which comes from preparation and much consideration of my movements before being presented.

So I opted instead to use the stuff that I have already choreographed and figuring out a way that it flows musically from an hour of classical music to The Who and Kiss.

So, I decided that after Bach, I could transition into the symphonic piece from the soundtrack of Goldfinger. That is about a nine minute piece of music that I used for FloorPlay at the end of the Goldfinger routine, and it flowed perfectly from the classical set. After that, I went into a Shirley Bassey song . (since her voice is so closely associated with Goldfinger, it flowed perfectly.) I followed that up with Beth by Kiss. By that time, I was well transitioned from the classical to the rock and was able to blast The Who. So I went through my full FloorPlay set and finished the whole thing up with Moonlight Sonata, the last piece from Orchestra, to give it a feeling of completing the circle.

My goal was to show the students that FloorPlay can be as fun as FreeDance or even choreographed dance, and that anyone, no matter what they're dealing with, can participate in FloorPlay to some degree. I showed lots of options for adjusting the moves and even for doing "FloorPlay" against the wall for people who didn't want to or couldn't go down to the ground.

After class we gathered for a snack and beverage reception.

The drive between NYC and Cornwall is very scenic. Surprisingly so. I took the Palisades Interstate Parkway, which winds through lots of green grass and trees. In the fall, of course, the colors and spectacular, but in the middle of summer, the ubiquitous bright green is pleasant enough.

At one point, we drove right alongside the Hudson River to gorgeous effect. Sorry, I was driving and didn't whip out my camera, but you would've loved it!



After class, one of the best comments I heard from one of the students was spoken through emotion. Fighting back tears, she tells me, 'I've been struggling a lot with death, and you gave me life."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I do what I do!

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