To begin with, a modern dance teacher must decide whose style is close to him. In a jazz modern dance lesson there is no specific sequence of exercises, as there is in classical dance. Many teachers, having studied the basic techniques, create their own teaching system that combines several techniques. There is no single methodology in the American and Western European systems of choreographic education. Each teacher is an independent creative person and has the right to search for their own pedagogical techniques and methods.
The main sections of the lesson modern – jazz dance (every teacher uses them):
1. Warming up – the main task is to bring the muscles into working condition. There are options for warming up – at the barre, in the middle, in the stalls. But the main task is a consistent warm-up, no matter where the performer is: feet, Achilles tendon, knee joint and popliteal ligaments, hip joint and groin muscles, back and torso muscles. The warm-up mainly uses movements with warming up the legs, in a pure and variational form, as well as movements borrowed from other techniques. There are no clear rules for warming up, but it should be saturated with five to ten exercises for various muscle groups, it all depends on the level of training of students.
2. Isolation and coordination. As a rule, all centers are subjected to isolation from top to bottom, from head to toe. Initially, all movements are studied in their pure form, and it is possible to perform them in two ways: slow contraction and expansion (for example, a slow tilt of the head, forward and maximum tilt of the head back) or abruptly reach the maximum position. But in either case, the center set in motion must reach its extreme possible position. The second stage of training: connecting the movements of one center into the simplest combinations: cross, square, circle, semicircle. The next stage is the connection into more complex geometric combinations, more complex rhythmic structures. And, finally, the last stage is the connection of the movements of several centers, i.e. coordination. The main task of the teacher during the study of the movements of isolated centers is to ensure that the movements are really isolated, so that during the movement of one center, the other does not move. This, at first glance, a simple task causes difficulties, since anatomically all centers are closely connected. Coordination is present in all sections of the lesson, wherever it is necessary to combine the movements of two or more centers in one combination. The first stage of training is the coordination of isolated centers. Two, three, four centers are coordinated in simultaneous parallel movement. Then this coordination is complicated by the movement into opposition, the introduction of complex rhythmic patterns. And finally, the last stage is the coordination of several centers during the movement. The process of studying coordination is built from simple to complex. At the first stage of training, it is desirable to use even rhythms 2/4, 4/ 4, 6/ 8, etc. in musical accompaniment. Then you can move on to polyrhythms of a more complex level, odd levels 5/ 4, 7/ 8, 9/ 8. Exercises to polyrhythm are closely related to coordination, but the task becomes more complicated, since it is necessary to combine not only the movements of two or more centers, but also various rhythmic patterns and sizes.
3. Parterre. Modern dance uses stage space not only vertically, but also horizontally. The movement of the performer on the floor is an essential part of the choreography. In the lesson, this section has very important functions:
Warming up can occur in the stalls
There may be isolation exercises in the ground
Exercises can be performed in the stalls – stretch character
In the stalls are very effective exercises for the development of mobility of the spine
Transition from one position to another, creation of chains to change the level, additional training for coordination and orientation in space
4. Adagio. Vadim Nikitin considers the tasks of adagio in the lesson as three main goals of combinations on adagio:
· Working out of stability and development of height of lifting of a leg.
· Practicing rotation in poses.
· Development of spatial arrangement.
Combinations are considered in this order:
· Combination using tilts, torso spirals, contraction and release with simultaneous lifting of the “working” leg by 90° and above.
· Combinations using tour lent and other types of parterre tours, fouette en tournant and pirouettes.
· Combination using different angles, changing the level, moving around the class space.
5. Movement (Cross) steps, jumps, rotations – this is the final part of the lesson. Its goal is to develop danceability, a sense of style, and coordination. Cross is the most improvisational part of the lesson, each teacher sets the steps, rotations and jumps that he considers necessary. This part of the lesson is akin to the allegro lesson of classical dance, however, it should be noted that modern dance is very careful about jumps, especially “big ones”. The technique of jumping and spinning, with minor changes, is completely borrowed from classical dance. Therefore, in general, teachers use combinations of steps, rotations, and to a lesser extent jumps. Cross is usually performed along the diagonals of the class or in a circle. Depending on the objectives of the lesson, Cross can be in various manners and styles of modern dance, for example, using steps of a folklore nature, i.e. Afro dance, steps and rotations of Latin American dance are used, cross combinations with elements borrowed from modern dance are possible, t i.e. using falls, rolls on the floor, etc. But with all kinds of combinations, it is desirable to maintain one style and manner of movement.
6. Combination. The last section of the modern jazz dance lesson is the dance combination. Usually the combination is studied for 3-4 lessons, polished and practiced. Naturally, at the first stage of training, the combinations should be simple enough to master, their duration should not exceed 32 or 64 measures, then, improving and complicating, the teacher should create detailed dance combinations. The main difference between the combination and the production number is that there is no idea in it, except for technical improvement. The combination can be performed to any “square” music and does not require specially selected musical material. Unfortunately, at the present time, many choreographers, especially in amateur groups, bring choreographic numbers to the stage that resemble a combination – a set of movements, without thought and development.
4. The components of the lesson, their proportionality in different periods of training, the sequence of exercises in the middle of the hall.
When preparing a lesson, it is necessary to divide the material into sections and determine the time for each of them. There is no need to use all sections of the lesson each time, a more detailed study of two or three sections is possible. Vadim Nikitin offers an approximate distribution of time for an hour and a half lesson:
– Warming up – 5 – 7 minutes
– Isolation – 10 minutes
– Parterre – 10 minutes
– Adagio and grand battement – 20 minutes
– Cross 20 minutes
– Combination 20 minutes
At the end of each lesson, you need to have a few minutes to restore breathing and some relaxation exercises. It is rational to divide the course of modern jazz dance into three stages: preparatory, basic and advanced. The level of the course depends on the abilities of the students.
Preparatory level: basic positions, levels of modern jazz dance, basic movements, steps, jumps are studied. In the “Combination” section, combinations of 32 and 64 measures are studied, including movements of isolated centers, steps, level changes, etc.
Basic level: new technical concepts are introduced in each section of the lesson, in the “Combination” section, combinations are studied with moving in space, using level changes, various methods of rotation and jumps.
Professional level: this third, advanced level is intended for professional performers who master not only the basics of modern jazz dance, but also the technique of classical and folk stage dance. Exercises are performed according to the same sections, but with polycentricity, polyrhythm, with coordination of all centers. Jumps and spins become more difficult. The warm-up time is reduced as much as possible.