Children moving (very, very, very) slowly and other thoughts from Segni Mossi
Back in July, Bernice and Faye from Rolypoly Family were in Taiwan with Segni Mossi, a movement and trace research project by Simona Lobefaro and Alessandro Lumare (Italy). Here, Faye writes about her observations and what surprised her on the trip.
It’s been slightly over a month since Segni Mossi. We spent our days in a large dance studio of Wanxin Elementary School, experiencing movement through our bodies and the visible traces left behind – the oil pastel markings, the shape of the paper, and the stirred emotions swirling within and around us. It was clear within the group that though Segni Mossi began as a movement and trace project with children and developed for children, the adults in the room felt immense joy from moving with playful specificity and seeing in the most literal way the effects of their movement on their surroundings (eg. swinging left on the hammock while holding an orange crayon against the floor creates a sweeping orange stroke to the left).
Here, I share 3 of my observations from my time there. It was tough to pick 3 but well, here they are!
1) Young children are able to move very, very, very slowly
With the right conditions, children can move as slowly as a snail. (Ok, maybe not just any snail but a snail going out for a run.) In one session, we saw the children embody the image of slow- growing roots and it was truly breathtaking how they took their time and dedicated themselves to the task of slowly stretching out their bodies, from a curled up position to a fully-extended one. Now, it wasn’t just one of them – the whole group of children patiently took turns and watched each other in this mini-performance. What are the right conditions, one might ask. Based on what I saw, it had to do with the children seeing value in accomplishing the task and enjoying the challenge of doing it well. Here, I witnessed intimately the difference between setting an expectation for the children to aspire towards, as opposed to using authority and rule to get the children to accomplish the task. To set the context – between turns, the children were free to get up and leave to get hugs and water if they wanted to. Yet, they returned.
2) It is important for the circle to be a circle
When we form a group circle that looks like a circle, it sends the message that we have intentions and we mean them. I witnessed in Segni Mossi (and some other meetings I’d been to) that a strong circle sets a precedence for how we relate to each other the rest of the session. When we communicate the reason for making a circle, such as the need for everyone to be able to see everyone, the intention of the circle is stronger, and it can help to prime the group to be more aware and respectful of each other.
3) Working and teaching as a family
Simona and Alessandro are a couple and they run Segni Mossi programmes and training together. While we were in Taipei, their daughter, S, was also present and joined in when she was interested. The openness with which Simona and Alessandro led the sessions offered us the reminder that as co-teachers, co-facilitators and partners, we don’t always have to agree, but the foundation of our work together has to be solid. Their difference in perspectives was comforting for me – there is no one “right” way to approach this project and there is room for us to find our way. Their emotions and needs were also very much present in the room, eg. feeling of delight, confusion, and disappointment, and need for clarity, boundaries, and affection. I always felt safe in the sessions because Simona and Alessandro came across as united in their desire to share Segni Mossi with us and clear about their intentions. They did not hide the joys and frustrations of working as a couple (and a family) and we were better for it.
Thanks for reading! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time,
Interested in our Segni Mossi-inspired programme? Find out more about Dance Playground here! We have run Dance Playground at The Artground and with Let’s Go Play Outside (LGPO). Contact us if you would like to bring Dance Playground to your school, event or homeschooling co-op. We are also able to customise the programme for corporate team-building or family day. Contact us today!