Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Contratiempo Embodiment Rhythm: Pregón

Last week we split open a dance basic and looked inside it. We explored the relationship between the two pieces based on the martillo synchronising timeline: coro-pregón; and began to define the properties of one of the pieces: the pregón.

As is normal with new concepts, solares participants only fully appreciated the value of the early exercises after the fact. It made sense to repeat the content of last week's session since they now knew how better to approach the exercises. Slight modifications to exercise design were made to add variety and widen perceptual scope.

Briefing: Developing the pregón [call] through isolated practice
Having come to appreciate the importance of the Caribbean sway's side step as the contratiempo embodiment of the pregón, the theme of this session was to give the pregón primacy in practice; to establish it as a tangible artefact in its right.

Exercise One: Caribbean sway, maracas, and vocalisation
Solo practice. Caribbean sway performed contratiempo. Maracas playing pregón: "tok" (beat 4) with the hembra and "tik" with the handles. Full vocalisation "tok-tik-tuk-tik" on beats 4-1-2-3 respectively. The maraca accents are a proxy for the bongó's martillo tones which voice the contratiempo embodiment timeline's pregón. Participants whom encountered difficulty where first asked to play the "tok" hembra tone (beat 4) only. Once they got in the groove, they were able to introduce the "tik" handle click tone (on beat 1).

Exercise Two: Switching between 'coro-pregón' and 'pregón' phrasing in Caribbean sway, maracas, and vocalisation
Solo practice. Caribbean sway performed contratiempoMaracas playing pregón: "tok" (beat 4) with the hembra and "tik" with the handles. Full vocalisation "tok-tik-tuk-tik" on beats 4-1-2-3 respectively. Participants alternated between 'coro-pregón' (i.e. full Caribbean sway) and 'pregón' (i.e. side step only), switching at their own choosing.

This was a challenging evolution from the previous exercise, since it demands independence of the embodiment rhythm - switching between coro-pregón and pregón only - from the vocalisation and maracas timelines. Participants required a few songs to get into the swing of things, but their interpretation was still mechanical (to be expected). I then reminded them of the principle the exercise: the development of call-and-response phrasing in the embodiment timeline, focusing on the call.

Briefing: What movements correspond to 'tok-tik'?
The "tok" cues the commencement of sideways movement (i.e. weight transfer) in the side step. The "tik" coincides with the instance when the hip, knee and ankle are directly vertical, but movement is still continuing. The relaxation phase, which marks the completion of the side step, occurs after the "tik".

Exercise Two (above) was repeated, this time with emphasis on the quality of the pregón in commencement, continuation, and completion.

At session's end, participants remarked that paying attention to the call-and-response phrasing using a 'triple-lock' of vocalisation, martillo, and embodiment rhythm is a more immersive learning experience. It gives them direct access into the music.

There might be plenty of room for improvement, but I've chalked that up as a win.

Loo Yen

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