Zenia Dancing from 22 to 55 months

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22 Months – Marking the Beat At 22 months, Zenia is dancing on beat. At first she hops with both feet to punctuate the beat she hears. Then she shifts to a sort of exaggerated stepping action, using the down step of one foot at a time to mark the beat. Perhaps she senses that a dance has more than one type of movement. 30 Months – Capturing the Form Eight months later, Zenia is not as concerned with marking the beat as she is in creating the shape of a movement; in this case, shaking her calf while her thigh is lifted. She realizes that to "do a particular dance" one needs to replicate the form of the action, which is more than marking the beat. 36 Months - Dance as Performance Zenia dances and sings alongside an animated Mummy that plays the song, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. At 36 months, Zenia has progressed from marking the beat, to capturing the form of the dance, to projecting her talent to an imagined audience. The pedestal defines her station as a performer, and the mike could designate her as the lead singer, with the animated mummy as her back up. She captures the power of a strong voice by opening her mouth wide as she sings, perhaps aware of the effort required to sing loudly or to hold a note for a long time. 42 Months - Precise Choreography Now, six months later, as she dances to a music video (“Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson), Zenia shows a heightened awareness of detail as she dances and pauses to study the choreography. Some of her initial moves appear abbreviated as if she is trying to isolate position before committing to a more expressive move. She becomes more expressive and dramatic when she sees a move she can easily execute. We expect Zenia at this stage has set a higher standard for herself to dance the dance she sees, and this motivation results from the very fact that now she sees more nuances in the dance she is watching. 48 Months - Free Style Six month later, Zenia invents a unique freestyle dance that is inspired by, but not an imitation of, the professional dancing she has observed on television. Remarkably, Zenia demonstrates a strong sense of tempo as she dances without music. She situates most of her dance moves in her feet, as we have seen in the earlier clips. The fancy footwork has become a signature of her personal style. To mark the end of her dance, she strikes a pose and smiles for her audience, showing that her sense of dance as a performance has solidified. 52 Months - Expressivity within a Genre In this video, Zenia is dancing to the song, “Party Rock Anthem” by the duo, LMFAO. Along with this song, a form of freestyle street dancing known as the “Shuffle” became a worldwide pop-culture craze. Zenia’s dance moves suggest the free style form of the Shuffle. Notice that the movements she selects differ considerably from the creative dance we saw her perform just four months earlier (see previous video segment). In addition to the choreography, Zenia now works to convey an emotional quality with her dance. The Shuffle dance is challenging; the body language of the dancer appears heavy, with torso and shoulders forward, casual arm movements, and the head sometimes looking down. Zenia’s dancing suggests this “street” quality. Notice that her movements have expanded to include more elements such as: full-body rotations; swinging her extended arms while twisting her torso around; alternately raising each shoulder and rocking the suspended arm to and fro; shimmying her bottom; kneeling on bended knee, and a movement on the floor where she supports her weight on one hand while walking her feet around as if break dancing. Click here to watch a slowed version of the Shuffle dance. 55 Months - Isolating the Mid-Section A few months later, Zenia observes her dance movements in a full-length mirror in a retail store dressing room. The store is playing the rap song, “What’s Luv?” by Fat Joe, featuring Ashanti and Ja Rule. As Zenia focuses on the sharp movements of her hips, she further articulates the dance styles affiliated with different genres of music. Notice that she pops her hip strongly to the right, in sync with the accentuated beat. She then focuses her attention on moving her hips in a complete rotation. Zenia discovers it is challenging to isolate the movement of her hips. She works to stabilize her body by moving her feet further apart. Throughout, Zenia enjoys observing the movements of her reflected image in the mirror. The attention she gives to her reflection suggests that Zenia has a sense of how the dance moves should look, and may indicate that she has taken a self-evaluative stance toward her own performance. 55 Months - Synthesizing Dance Elements In this final example, we again observe Zenia dancing without music. At this stage in her development as a dancer, she is able to coordinate an array of elements involving all parts of her body. There is a fluid joyfulness to her almost aerobic movements. Watch as she poses in a lunge with one leg extended behind, adds large, expressive arm movements to her repertoire, and executes dramatic sidekicks. As we saw her do previously, Zenia signals the end of her performance by striking a pose and smiling widely to her audience. Keywords: invention, creativity, movement, imitation, dance, body Length of video: 4 minutes 2 seconds