I have made great progress on my in-depth project over the past two weeks. I met with my mentor for a second time and she taught me the rest of the Tranky Doo, which we chose to dance to the song “Gangbusters” by The Cat and Fiddle. Throughout the routine there are many basic solo jazz steps, as I mentioned in my last post, and now that I have learned the last part of the routine, I have an even larger repertoire of moves. Some of the new steps I learned were the boogie back, the boogie forward, apple jacks, drunken sailor, hallelujah, low down, Shorty George, Tacky Annie, opposites, and more.
After I finished learning the routine, I practiced it many times with my mentor so I could master the steps. Next, she taught me how to stylize and create variations in my dancing, so I can start creating my own style. She told me to “really try to play around with the different steps to make them your own”. To help me understand this concept, my mentor created an exercise where we took turns taking a specific solo jazz move and creating variations on that move. In my lesson we used the mambo step to learn more about stylizing. This exercise helped me start to create my own style and I will apply this idea to several other steps on my own over the next few weeks.
During this meeting with my mentor I was able to practice many of the skills discussed in De Bono’s book. I was able to practice “how to be interesting” by using many of the methods De Bono provides. Since solo jazz and tap dance are closely related, I was able to create interest when my mentor would mention something in solo jazz that is related to tap dance. There were many instances where the steps were similar, and sometimes even shared the same name. However, they both had their own unique styles and differences. In addition, when my mentor and I were creating variations of the steps through use of different arm moves, I had to use the “what if” statement many times to help me come up with new ideas using my creativity. For example, I might have said, “What if I moved my arms like this or what if I traveled this way instead?” and my mentor offered useful suggestions.
Throughout the meeting I was able to practice “how to respond” by asking for clarification. If I was unsure of anything, I made sure to ask for clarification on the details of the step. I clarified if I should put my weight on the heel or the toe of the foot during the apple jack step. I also asked if I should lift my heel up in a step called the hallelujah. Also, there were several times that I shared a personal story to show I understood what she was teaching me. This past weekend I went to Calgary for a tap dance festival, and I shared many stories to expand her points and show a different perspective. I mentioned an arm a learned in one of the tap dance classes and we were able to apply to some of the solo jazz moves. Lastly, I was able to modify many of the ideas/moves to fit my personal preferences, and stylize the dance so I could express myself comfortably.
Overall, I believe that I have made very good progress on my in-depth project, and I can’t wait to continue to expand my knowledge and grow in what I am learning over the next few months!