Embodying the Spirits: Puppets in the Dance Studio
Author: Moss, Suzan
Source: Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 1 September 2006, vol. 77, no. 7, pp. 1-58(58)
Abstract:The tradition of using giant puppets in dance rituals is widespread throughout Africa. Huge puppets can communicate spiritual and moral authority, which is all the more easily accepted because it is delivered with a sense of playfulness. Giant puppets also create unique movement possibilities. This potent combination of symbolic meaning and choreographic challenge make the use of puppets a valuable tool for teaching African dance, and for creating a sense of unity in an educational setting. This article explores the educational advantages of using puppets in the dance studio, and explains how dance teachers can make giant puppets with their students. The puppets can help to convey choreographic principles, cultural context, the power of ritual, and an interdisciplinary approach to artistic problem solving. These gains are directly related to the goals in the National Standards for Dance Education.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2006