What is the device 'question and answer' and 'leading and following' in choreography?

by Natalie
(United Kingdom)

What is the device 'question and answer' and 'leading and following' in choreography?

Comments for What is the device 'question and answer' and 'leading and following' in choreography?

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Oct 29, 2013
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Natalie,

'Question and answer' and 'leading and following' are two ways that are used while dancing, whether to improvise or as a strategy to generate choreographic content.

It's a very simple thing actually.

The strategy of dancing in a 'question and answer' way works in the same way as in a normal dialogue, but the difference is that the relationship between dancers is created through movement. For example, one dancer makes a movement and then the other dancer creates a movement that somehow 'replies' to the partner's first movement, as if s/he was giving an answer. After that, the roles switch because the first dancer is now in turn to react to the new movement proposed, and so on. In that way, dancers create a series of movements, (a choreography), in which they're constantly formulating 'moving questions' and 'moving answers'.

'Leading and following' works differently but it is also a way to create a relationship among two or more dancers. It works different if improvising or if dancing a defined choreography. When improvising, there's one person that decides all the movement or that dances freely (which is the one who leads) and the other(s) adapts movement to her/him (the leader). Adapting movement can mean for example, copying the leader, replying, helping, following in any way, and so forth.

When executing a defined choreography, the role of the leader is like the one of an orchestra conductor. Dancers will have the leader as the reference for rhythmical, spatial or any kind of unknown events that happen while dancing. For example, if there's a difficulty with rhythm and the choreography is a unison, all dancers should follow the leader's pace. Or, if during a performance, something unexpected comes up, all dancers will react according to the leader's reaction, etc.

Warm regards,


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