Gilded Serpent presents...
it double vision?
No, its double tambourines!
of the Poetic Dance Theater
We dancers have seen that
whenever any figure is photographed, drawn, or sculpted and that
figure is holding a tambourine, the context is more than likely
to be dance related. What other instrument can, both objectively
and subjectively, infer that the figure is probably a dancer? Pictured
with a lyre, is a figure automatically believed to be a dancer?
No. Let us consider bells. No, not bells either. A drum? Perhaps
a little "hand-drum" but not a drum per se. All other
instruments are apart from the clear connection between the dance
and the tambourine. Additionally, a tambourine can be incorporated
into (and referred to) either classical or contemporary dance. It
is versatility itself! Interaction with your chosen instrument (finger
and hand cymbals, hand-drum, castanets, or tambourine) will influence
the way in which you dance.
As a dancer, you have assumed
an indelible inheritance. In selecting the tambourine you are also
invoking a portion of history! Its traditional use as a single instrument
permits the unengaged hand to create rhythm, chiming, and the design
of the dance. Surprisingly, the double tambourine still permits
one to have a free hand for creating the same traditional, musical,
and visual opportunities as dance without the encumbrance of holding
an instrument. The double tambourine dancer can enhance creative
options and new additional pictorial ideas.
Let us begin with the question, "What
can a tambourine do for a dance?" Aha! If the dancer is creative
and innovative he or she may use it to:
She may also use it for:
- musicality and
For some dance roles, it may
be used to demonstrate:
- control and deft
- powers of stagecraft.
Used by a group, the tambourine
may increase and emphasize the volume of sound, the beat, the unity,
and the direction of movement. For a group, this chance to redesign
the use of dance space in way previously unexpected may add to the
impact of the performance.
using the double tambourine to augment all of these features and
to enhance your dance. They provide new visual interest and new
potential for the varieties of sound, color and intrigue. For sound,
as a small hand drum, the tambourine can define a staccato, produce
regular or irregular rhythms, and notable changes in volume. As
cymbals, the tambourine cymbals can be announcing, accompanying,
gentle or demanding, continuous or intermittent and are definitely
noticed when absent. As a body contact instrument, the tambourine
rim to body sound is distinctive and can be generated from the
side of the knee, the hip, the shoulder, the elbow, the palm and
the fingertips. (The knee cap may have very limited use and present
distinctly ungainly appearances. Sometimes, these gestures can
generate humor in a comedy style routine. Try them with a mirror
What may surprise you is that
tambourines may also color co-ordinate and compliment your costume
choices. They have their own color as originals, and can be distinctive,
blend with each other, blend with the costume or contrast with the
costume. They may have a front design or you may be displaying both
the front and the back of the instruments. They may be accessorised
with ribbons or light scarves.
Tambourine playing technique
is secondary to the ideas you wish to express in your dance. Dancing
with this instrument can help you express the joy and exuberance
of young love or poetry as a creative motivation. Translating poetry
and poetic phrases into pictorial images can be heightened with
the double tambourine interest, increasing action and sheer volume
Individualizing artistic gestures,
features, instruments and color is a dancer's forte. Just as a beauty
mark for the cheek may bring attention to the lips or eyes, tambourines
brought to the face can bring attention to that location. Double
tambourines can intensify all of the attentions you wish to highlight.
In addition, where the instruments are placed and how those areas
are stressed will clearly communicate to the audience your intent
and add to the design and purpose of your movements.
The ideas I have mentioned here for developing an extraordinary double tambourine
dance may be of help in your own new discoveries in the still unusual dance
application. Consider; will the audience be presented only with the rim and
the cymbals? Both of the instrument faces together? One instrument forward,
one backward? Experimenting with old and new concepts stimulates your own quest
for interest. In this continuing search for new ways of capitalizing on the
traditional while keeping sacred the inherent emotions, cultural expression,
and personal feeling, one can share through beloved dance forms. TWO tambourines
can enlarge the dimensions of your regular dance!
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