Living Things Move

Living Things Move

Dates: 9/13-12/13
Tuesdays 10am-11am Ages 5-9
Tuition: $150 Drop ins $15 per class

In this class we will explore  the evolution of movement in living things through the medium of dance.
Can you move like a bacteria? Like a plant? Are there movements that a grasshopper can make that you cannot?  In this class we will learn the biological definition of life and get a sense of the vast diversity of living things on the planet.  We will also learn some basic building blocks of choreography and performance, and construct dances influenced by the diverse modes of movement present on earth.

Every week, class will start with some movement warm up sequences based upon body-mind centering and on breaking down movement into planes.  Some classes will be supplemented by short video clips of the living things we are learning about.  At the end of each class we will draw and/or write about about what we are learning about.


Week 1: Life Moves: how do you know something is alive? How do biologists define life?  We’ll talk about movement as being one of the defining characteristics of living things, and move like a variety of plants and animals.  We’ll end with some games like Magic Rocks.

Week 2: Biomass!  Are there a lot of people on earth?  How many compared to the number of trees or bugs? Or to the amount of algae, bacteria, fungi or viruses? We’ll take a more in depth look at the variety of life on the planet and WHY living things move.  We’ll play the Food Chain Game.

Week 3: Life arising: We will talk a little about the origins of life on the planet, and dance about primordial soup and about molecules coming together.  It will be a little like blob tag.

Week 4: Flagellum, Cillia, and pseudopods: How single cell organisms get around.

Week 5: The origin of vision & phototropism: How does sight effect how you move?

Week 6: Complexity, differentiated organs, SYMMETRY: Exploring movement based on the radial symmetry of jellyfish, sea anenomes.

Week 7: Lateral symmetry: We will look at flatworms first, then Cambrian radiation, including the development of lateral symmetry and hard body parts, which also means many more fossils.  What types of movements do your bones allow you to make that a soft bodied creature cannot?

Week 8: Beyond flatworms: development of an internal body cavity.  Breathing as a way of experiencing this central cavity.

Weeks 9, 10, and 11: Evolutionary niches & movement qualities. For the next 4 classes, we will explore how different movement strategies allow living things to thrive, including fast and slow (hummingbird v. sloth), staccato and legato (praying mantis, sea turtle), continuous even movement vs. sharp acceleration and deceleration (caterpillar, butterfly, vs. cat or fox), and stealthy vs. clompy (squirrels v. deer)

Week 12: Reviewing the “new tree of life” and favorite games and movement activities.

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About the instructor:

Tara Vamos has been a Feldenkrais practitioner since 2002 and an Anat Baniel Method for Children practitioner since 2006.  Prior to becoming a Feldenkrais Practitioner, she taught children and teens with multiple disabilities at the Texas school for the Blind and Visually Impaired and taught literacy through dance in NYC public schools.