Perimeters, Bisections, and Centers
Contributed by Krishna Washburn
This activity is an introduction to taped floor dance, which comes from blind dance tradition, and introduces the idea of using a taped cross on the floor as a way of keeping track of orientation and direction.
- Each student has a tape cross of their own on the floor. Each of the two strips of tape should be roughly the length of the student’s own leg, and the strips should cross in the center to make four right angles.
- Introduce the following concepts to students one at a time:
- Perimeter: Using the four far points of the tape cross, each student will determine the widest possible perimeter for movement for the day, tracing, taking note of physical markers, objects, textures, sources of sound, and perhaps choosing to use and remember the maximum performance space, or selecting a more specific perimeter.
- Bisection: Using the two strips of tape themselves, and the implied diagonals created by the tape, the students will use touch and movement to split the performance space across horizontal, vertical, and the two diagonals, tracing them multiple times in multiple ways.
- Centering: Finding, through this travel, that place which feels like the center, rotating there, conceiving of those pathways traveled to find this center of the compass.
- Conversation: After each one of these three concepts are introduced, invite students to describe what movements they did, what parts of the body they used, and what they noticed about their exploration of the tape cross.
Transition Into Activity
Ask students to think about how they remember directions in space when they move. Do they use sight, words, physical sensations? Tell them that in blind dance tradition, dance students use a taped floor to create a sense of direction and orientation. Student groups with more time can make their own tape crosses on the floor; student groups with less time might be asked to find a tape cross on the floor to claim as their own, one per student.
Transition Out of Activity
Tell students that the taped floor is a replacement tool to use instead of a mirror to keep track of direction. Have students consider what makes the taped floor and mirror similar, and what makes them different as learning tools.
The movement space should be clear, and there should be a tape cross on the floor for each student.
Non-marking gaffer tape in a bright color is preferred for this activity in either a 1 inch or 1.5 inch width. Orange is the best color for most floors, whether a dark or a light color. A source for music during each of the three directional explorations can be helpful for maintaining student focus. If desired, students can record their observations in written form on paper or digitally, or verbally with a recording tool or a voice recording application.
- This lesson was designed for the educational needs of blind and visually impaired students. If using a pre-taped floor, students should feel free to use their canes or feet or fingers to select a tape cross.
- For students who use mobility devices like wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches, they should be encouraged to think about how their wheels or other devices make contact with the tape, how they perceive it, and what it feels like in their bodies.
- Students can explore direction from any physical position: standing, sitting, lying down, crawling, walking, rolling, anything that works for their bodies.
Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals
- Model movement, and speaking while in movement, while exploring perimeters, bisections, and centering.
- Give further verbal clarification for students who need more explanation, or students who feel like they need permission to take these simple tasks in more creative, out-of-the-box directions.
Adjustments for Remote Instruction
This lesson plan was originally developed as a remote lesson. Each student has their own tape cross on their own floor, wherever they happen to be. This lesson is great for remote learning, because each person’s floor might have unique characteristics that they can describe when sharing with the other students.