At Full Force, our rehearsals begin with flocking. Angie, a registered dance movement therapist (R-DMT), incorporated the dance therapy technique into our warmup as a way for us to be present in the space and in the moment of the rehearsal experience, share a mindfulness as leaders create spontaneous movement for the followers to replicate to the best of their physical ability, and the ability for a leader to relinquish control and rejoin the group as a follower.
I must admit that I prefer to warm up either on my own or under the routine of a class, and I was originally resistant to the idea of flocking. I relied on the stability of set movements to guide me through a warmup. With set movement or a series of movements I am able to let my mind wander as I shift from exercise to exercise, pose to pose. The more often I flocked, however, the more I came to appreciate flocking. I am more aware of my fellow dancers’ sense of style, and the moods and emotions that serve as inspiration for their movement. I have a greater appreciation of what I can learn from them. I became so accustomed to flocking weekly that I missed it while we were on our break from rehearsals between seasons.
Flocking now makes me very aware of the experience I share with fellow dancers and choreographers. As we begin to flock, I am now able to rid myself of the events of the day so that I can be sensitive to the changes in movement that the leader is making. As a leader, I am able to focus on any particular stretches or exercises my body may need, and also choose movement influenced by my unique movement repertoire. In this fashion, we are able to learn each other’s personalities as dancers and relate to each other better during times of group improv and choreographed dance.