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Chance Dance: Baylor Tries An Innovative Form of Dance
Amanda Chen

Merce Cunningham, an American modern dancer and choreographer who introduced multiple new forms of dance movements, created Chance Dance, a unique technique that is created through movements selected and assigned by a random method such as rolling dice, drawing a card, or flipping a coin.

In Baylor’s Choreography and Dance Studies class, students had the opportunity to experiment with this special form of dance in their own way. Introduced and assisted by Margaret Harman '14 and Elizabeth Roemer '05, students were instructed to draw cards that include different combinations of movements and elements, then using those assigned movements, create their own choreography that lasted for around ten seconds. This process challenged students' ability to form and put together dance moves in a rather short amount of time. 

In addition to the random movements, choreography and compositional devices were also suggested and provided. Choreography devices such as repetition (repeating a movement), retrograde (rewinding of a movement), and rhythm (changing rhythm of a movement) are often used, and compositional structure such as AB Form (theme and a contrasting theme), Natural Forms (progressive occurring in nature), and Narrative (storyline) were also introduced to the students to inspire them with their creation of a variety of dance moves.

After each individual student created their own movements, their names were put on different cards where students had to draw cards. The person being chosen had to perform their movements and teach everyone else in the class how to do it. After all the students performed, they joined each individual dance moves together to create a full choreography composed of randomly chosen moves and elements.

The students also chose their song for their final choreography. It was created with cooperation and everyone’s effort, so stay tuned for their excellent work and performance!

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