Recipe for Creativity

By Allman, Barbara | Dance Teacher, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Recipe for Creativity


Allman, Barbara, Dance Teacher


How to guide younger students in choreographing a dance based on the dessert inspired by Anna Pavlova

Pavlova's grace and expressiveness are legendary. Over the course of a career that spanned three decades, she became the first international dance star, introducing ballet to remote corners of the world and inspiring a fanaticism previously unknown in the world of dance. Your students will be fascinated by her story, just as Pavlova was enthralled by the stories her teachers told her about famed ballerina Marie Taglioni.

Help your students put together the dessert invented in Pavlova's honor when she visited Australia in 1926, then guide them in creating a dance based on the recipe. In making and sampling this tasty treat, they'll not only discover an important part of dance history, but learn to relate words to movement and explore their own creativity as well.

The Right Ingredients For Dance

Creative movement can provide children with alternative ways to express what they have learned. After assisting your students in assembling the dessert known as the pavlova, guide them in an imaginative interpretation of the recipe.

Introduce the activity by giving a bit of background. Explain that the chef at an elegant hotel created the dessert in honor of Pavlova when she toured Australia in 1926. Using the fluffiest egg whites, frothy whipped cream and colorful fruits (including the kiwi, at the time unique to that part of the world), he created a confection that was one of a kind and light as air, just like the ballerina he admired. Today the pavlova is considered the national dessert of both Australia and New Zealand.

Read the recipe aloud and have students listen for descriptive words and phrases that bring to mind images and actions, such as "beat together," "thick and glossy," "make dollops," "whipped cream," "bake," "sprinkle" and "let cool." Next, divide the class into groups and give each group an index card with a phrase from the recipe. Ask the individual groups to experiment and come up with a dance sequence. Be sure to explain to students that not everyone is required to do the same movements in the group, and that they should use their whole body. Discourage simple pantomime (for exampie, holding a hand mixer). Rather, encourage students to be the eggs, be the mixer, show the whirling movement and so on. …

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