The Outlet Dance Prompts
We hope that these movement seeds sprout into something fun, creative, and generative for you and your family. They invite us to consider our world with fresh eyes. It is powerful and restorative to move together (even when we are physically distant from each other). There are lots of prompts here. Scroll down to see them all. See which ones you connect with.
Share your explorations! There is no wrong or right with these prompts. Tag us please @theoutletdanceproject #theoutletdanceproject #todprompts
While some of these movement ideas are not completely suited for the world we are living in right now, we hope that they will give you inspiration for other site-specific dance experiments. And we have included suggestions for adjusting the prompts too!
Dance Like a Bird
#1: Dance Like a Bird! What would it be like to have feathers? To be able to fly? To have bones that are hollow and can catch the wing. How would your walk change? What would you start paying more attention to?
Spend some time observing birds. Perhaps there are some you can see and hear from your window. Then shimmy and shake! Move like a bird!
Photo by donia salem harhoor
Dance With Plants
#2: Dance With Plants! They are all around us...how are we influenced by them, how do we move in, around, and through them?
How does our movement change because of their smell? Their sounds? How does being close to them change your breath? Do you want to slow down? Speed up? Share your explorations!
Photo by Gala Derroisne
Dance Near a
Body of Water
#3: Dance Near a Body of Water. How does being near this element affect how we move?
How do our bodies, composed of so much water (an average of 60% overall), change, shift, connect, echo the dynamics of H2O when we are close to large quantities of it?
Photo by Kenneth Nacario Lee, taken on Bantayan Island, Philippines.
Dance on a Sports Field
#4: Dance on a Sports Field. How do the locations of sporting events shift how our bodies move?
Do we feel the residue of losses and victories while in such places? What does it mean to play? What kinds of memories possess us when on a court, pitch, field, etc.?
Still from the pulse-quickening DIH.breath by @dasa.grgic & Luca Quaia - one of our 2017 Dance on Film selections.
Dance Within a Single
#5: Dance Within the Space of a Single Sidewalk Square. What freedoms can be found in self-imposed restrictions?
How does the body respond to borders? What role does time play when we consider smaller spaces...does duration affect our comfort when our ability to expand beyond boundaries is limited?
How are we affected by the many lives that have stepped into these squares before us?
Photo by donia salem harhoor
Dance in a Doorway
#6 : Dance in a Doorway! How do we navigate in-between places? How do they transport us from one world to another, From the past to the future, and back again and again?
How does the liminal live in our bodies? How do we access the secrets of portals? Are we gatesways too?
Photo of Katherine Maxwell of Hivewild who created a piece in conversation with Walter Dusenbery's exquisite sculpture, Damascus Gate during our 2014 festival. Photo by Gala Derroisne
Walter Dusenbery, Damascus Gate, 2002, travertine, 240 x 176 x 51 inches, Grounds For Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.
Dance in a Library
#7: Dance in a Library!* How are we shaped when in proximity with the stories of so many? How do their labor, investigations, and obsessions move us through the quiet cacophony of libraries?
What knowledge can be found here in the encyclopedia of our own bodies? Where do the curves and spirals reside in all these rectangles and lines?
Share your explorations and tell us your favorite books!
*Alternative suggestions: Dance as though you are a character in your favorite book. Dance near the books you have at home. Dance the books you hope to write one day!
Dance in a Cubicle
#8 : Dance in a Cubicle! How do we connect to our bodies in places that may not always give us space to do so? How does our periphery influence how we move?
What of the way sounds, sights, and other sensations are affected by the partial walls of cubicles? How does all that affect us? How can we find expansiveness in a container?
*Alternative suggestions: Dance in your current work space. Dance at your home desk or under your desk! Dance the architecture of an office building. Dance in a computer chair. Dance a flowchart.
Dance in a Post Office
#9: Dance in a Post Office! What can be expressed with and through the body that cannot be conveyed in a letter?
What kind of movement messages do we receive in a place that is filled with messages in transit? How does written language shape our dancing? What might an embodied love letter addressed to yourself look like?and can catch the wing. How would your walk change? What would you start paying more attention to?
*Alternative Suggestions: Dance near your mailbox. Dance around, over, under your mail. Embody the most meaningful letter you have ever received.
Dance in a Kitchen
#10 : Dance in a Kitchen! How can we shift and alter the patterns and paths that we have created in our kitchens? What nourishes us in such a location?
What are we craving and longing for while there? How does that manifest in our bodies? What kinds of discoveries can be made about a place that we engage with so often that we may no longer consciously see it? Share your explorations! Tag us! @theoutletdanceproject #theoutletdanceproject #todprompts.
This prompt is deeply inspired by a conversation with the dynamic and generous Sharon Leahy and her playful percussive layered film, Ground Fine. Photo is a still from it.
Dance in a
#11: Dance in a Train Station! What are our bodies waiting for and reaching for when we allow ourselves to be still in this place of so much activity?
How does time slow down and speed up here? How do we feel connected and distant from fellow travelers? What does the regularity of the schedule here do to our movement? How do the sounds of metal on metal, whistles in air, and feet on pavement transport us in and of themselves?
*Alternative Suggestions: Create a commute path through your home. Transform one of your rooms into a station. Explore.
Dance Under the Stars
#12: Dance Under the Stars! What of the whirl and swirl of different heavenly bodies spirals in us? How do we move differently when the sources that illuminate our worlds change?
What feels new, fresh, unknowable, uncomfortable, mysterious in the velvet of night? How do we allow time to shift us when beholding the cosmos? What future lies among the stars (shout out to the queen, Octavia Butler)?
How can we move our bodies now towards that? Share your explorations and tell us about how visible or hidden the stars are by you!
Picture is a detail from the ceiling of the Van Gogh Cafe @groundsforsculpture. After Starry Night.
Dance on a Hill
#13: Dance on a Hill! How does a change of elevation affect how we understand and move through the world around us? How does gravity pull us as we move up or down an incline?
Hills are formations that have been shaped by erosion and elements, or by hands and machines...how might we connect with and embody these histories? How do we come to understand time when considering entities that seem to be static but are actually continually and imperceptibly evolving?
Photo of Maxine Steinman's work at our 2016 festival taken by our incredibly talented and dear friend, Levi Gershkowitz. Sculpture is Eolith by the masterful Isaac Witkin.
Dance in a Church
#14 : Dance in a Church! Or a temple, mosque, synagogue, prayer hall, meditation center, sacred space in a forest, etc.
How can we find sanctuary in our movement? What is a moving meditation? How do we embody what brings people to places of community gathering and prayer? How does the intention of these places and the impressions of those who have brought their sorrows and joys to them manifest in and affect our dance while here? What comes up for you in such a place? How might movement be a liberatory practice?
Still from HERStory by Jasmine Lynea and Ani Gavino, part of our 2018 film festival.
*Alternative Suggestions: Find sacred space within you and connect with it. Create a reflective refuge in your home, sit quietly and listen to how the quiet moves you. Follow your impulse.
Dance on a Rooftop
#15 : Dance on a Rooftop! What changes when we are able to move from the highest point of place? How does experiencing the sky feel when we are a bit closer to it?
How does what is below us ground us, bind us, uplift us? How do the risks of being up high shape our movement choices? What can we shout from a rooftop with our bodies?
Still from the deeply moving film, A Guide to Breathing Underwater by Raven Jackson, Donald C. Shorter, and Felipe Vera de Ray, one of our 2018 film fest selections.
Dance in the
#16: Dance in the Dawn's Light! How do we experience our bodies, minds, and spirits at different times throughout the day? What illuminates our movements internally and externally?
How is our knowing of ourselves and the world around us shaped by light? What does the quietness of dawn do to distill our gestural vocabulary? Share your explorations!
Still from the breathtaking film, Bhairava by Shantala Shivalingappa. Marlene Millar, amd Philip Szporer, one of our 2018 Film Fest Selections.
Dance on a Bridge
#17: Dance on a Bridge! What does being held up, above the earth feel like? What does spending time in a location that is often quickly passed over do to our bodies?
How and when are we bridges? How might we express our own capacities to link and suspend through dance? How do your movement choices reflect the physical structure of the bridge you are on. How do the different types of bridges change your stability and sure-footedness?
Still from Traverse by Marlene Millar and Sandy Silva, one of our 2018 film fest selections.
Dance on a Porch
#18: Dance on a Porch (or a deck or a balcony or a patio)! What do these spaces that are not quite home and not quite the outside world do to us? How do they allow us to explore the in-between? (Shout out to the liminality of prompt #6: dance in a doorway!)
What kind of safety do they allow us in our movement experiments? How do these spaces shape sound and visual context from our environments?
Still from We are Here by Sima Gonsai, Freefall Dance Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet, one of our 2018 Film Fest Selections.
Dance in a Tree
#19: Dance in a Tree (carefully)! How do we find balance? How do we experience height differently when in the boughs of a tree?
What is present for you while climbing? While descending? How do we connect through movement with an entity that is not always visibly in motion? Share your explorations!
Inspiration for this prompt comes from the many Peacocks of Ground For Sculpture.
Dance With a Bike
#20: Dance with a Bike! What moves us? Where is stillness in motion? How can we move with what moves us? How do we negotiate our own mobility while collaborating with an object with mobility at its core?
What and where are our brakes? How do we connect with our need for things to pause, stop, come to standing?How do we encounter something that we are used to completely anew? Share your explorations! Tag us @theoutletdanceproject #theoutletdanceproject #todprompts.
Inspiration for this prompt comes from Kopp's Cycle of Princeton.
We hope that these prompts help you connect with your body, the physical world around you, your imagination, and the ones you hold near and dear.