Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Capsule Vocabulary

Last evening was our first Solares for 2016 and we started with the building of a 'capsule vocabulary'. I developed the idea out of Susie Faux and Donna Karan's concept of the capsule wardrobe.

For external consumption I define dance's capsule vocabulary as:
"A collection of the fewest, simplest, most representative movements and moves which convey the essence of a genre's embodiment."
For internal consumption, I would define the solares dance capsule vocabulary as:
"A collection of the fewest, simplest, most representative movements and moves which convey the essence of multiple related genre embodiments."
The capsule vocabulary is intended to provide a portable context for the development of skills; my answer to encouraging psycho-motor manipulation (see earlier post). The word 'portable' is in there because it has to be a vocabulary which encompasses the majority of genres in the Caribbean and Latin America, including: the son rhythm group, merengue, and bachata.

I reckon that it will take about three months to learn the capsule, barring interesting detours. Many elements of it could be found also in British salsa as it was danced pre-introduction of the cross-body style, in what Rondón (2008) refers to as 'salsa of the South'. Consequently the framework of the dance is based on the Caribbean sway, and not the international salsa/mambo step.


Rondón, César Miguel (2008). The Book Of Salsa: A Chronicle Of Urban Music From The Caribbean To New York City [El Libro De La Salsa, English Translation]. USA: University Of North Carolina Press

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Some Assembly Required: Clearing Imitation

At the start of the new calendar year, I've decided it was time for a change in tack at Solares.

The previous few months had been about getting to grips with the elemental constituents of Caribbean dance:
  1. the fundamental relationship of tension and release between clave and pulse;
  2. putting rhythmic weight on start of the African rhythm cycle;
  3. gaining familiarity with African vocalisation practices; and
  4. establishing a vocabulary of individual turn elements - the building blocks of turn combinations.
But as any pedagogue will tell you, "understanding isn't doing". And I wasn't seeing enough doing. This presented as a lack of fluency with the material in its context. In terms of Bloom's psycho-motor domain (below), we weren't even out of the ground floor.
From All Rights Acknowledged.
Put another way, the 'Guided Response' of imitation does not indicate learner independence, the 'Mechanism' of manipulation does (see below).

From All Rights Acknowledged.

What this means, is that I have to get Solares attendees to imitate manipulation, for which I'll have to demonstrate the skills of manipulation in context through a series of case studies. And I have just the thing!

Loo Yeo