White Man Sleeps
Ideas for short answer questions
1) Briefly describe the two main arm gestures used as motifs within
White Man Sleeps in sections 1 and 2.
Section 1 contains one of the arm gestures used as part of a motif in
White Man Sleeps. All the dancers perform this arm gesture at some
stage in section 1 of the dance. This recurring arm gesture is in
introduced in section 1 where the right arm circles the head clockwise
and meets the left arm in front of the head where the hands end up
palm to palm and stretched out. At the beginning of section 1 this
motif is introduced by three dancers while they move from stage left
to stage right and are then joined by the two other dancers. Then
duets are performed which include a phrase of movement with this motif
and even when the music changes, repetition of the phrase occurs.
Later in this section, jumps are added to the phrase and the
choreography starts to develop with spatial and directional changes as
well as changing fronts. Finally all the dancers repeat the phrase and
transform it a little in accumulation canon to finish off this
Section 2 contains another of the arm gestures used as part of a short
phrase of movement in this dance. This motif is introduced after the
opening duet for section 2. It consists of a female dancer wrapping
her head with her hands as if to frame the head indicating that the
dancer may be supporting herself or holding herself together. It is a
sharp, and strong movement that is repeated three times in a diagonal
pathway and each time to a different diagonal.
2) Briefly describe the quality of the travelling movements
incorporated into White Man Sleeps, and the floor pattern over which
it most often occurs.
There are many travelling movements incorporated into White Man Sleeps
perhaps as a way of indicating the way in which Siobhan Davies
travelled when she made her visit to America. At the beginning of
section 1, the dancers join in one by one and move from stage left to
stage right. As two more dancers join in we see the dancers do a quick
skipping movement as a different way of travelling. In the duet of
section 1, we see the man and woman move more quickly in stepping
patterns mostly travelling in straight lines. They perform the motif
and turn to face different directions to perform the motif again. They
use much of the space then all the dancers perform a motif in canon
changing directions and front, and using a different amount of space
each time. Their movement is shown in a variety of different ways in
this section and this introduces us to the different ways in which
they may travel later in the dance.
Section two starts with an energetic duet performed by a male and
female dancer in which they travel in different ways from one side of
the stage to the other. They...