Group practice in circle, son montuno maracas rhythm, atiempo embodiment rhythm, to music. Participants began in ensemble until they were synchronised. Three roles where specified, the:
cues the playing of maracas on or off while embodiment rhythm was maintained;
indicates the attack and its quality of implementation using the cues 'push' and 'return'; and,
assesses whether ensemble synchronisation is maintained or lost, and cues the group accordingly.
The exercise, for all its simplicity, proved highly successful. The ensemble underwent continuous improvement because participants: had to observe actively, and observe critically; experienced personal discovery through juxtaposition; and interacted constructively.
The latter, constructive interaction, was less successful because each designated person had assumed that their role was exclusive - possibly a custom imported from rueda de casino calling. Others where reluctant to intrude even if it was for the greater good, and there was a small measure of defensiveness from the role-holder when there was an intrusion. This will have to be addressed during an upcoming session. An example of this was when a Producer thought that the ensemble was pushing at the limit of the beat, when in fact there was room to push earlier, and a non-Producer was aware of this, yet was not comfortable to say so.
Some individuals had a better natural feel for one role over another. It leads me to think of potential talent being overlooked in rueda de casino where only one role - the caller - is prevalent.
A participant astutely observed that the role of 'Producer', whose responsibility is quality of implementation, should be a federated role i.e. that all dancers of the ensemble should assume that responsibility. I agreed completely, noting that the first step to doing so was to render participants aware of this role before rolling it out.
As for the attack itself, participants had improved since the last session. They understood the concept of 'push' and where able to mobilise themselves into the front part of the beat. However, that distorted their perception of where the 'return' (their original attack in the middle of the beat) was; their 'return' was earlier than when they began the exercise - and they where aware of this phenomenon. This will be addressed in an upcoming session.
By distributing various simple responsibilities across the ensemble, a heightened engagement was realised. This has led to a more involving learning experience, improved performance, yielded a better sense of musical self, a clearer understanding of others' abilities, and endowed the group with independence and a new coalescence.