Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hand signs and symbols in HICP

I have described the pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) of the hands in HICP work in various ways: sign language-like, choral conducting, baseball hand signals, ballet-like, etc. The best analogy for me has always been classical dance of Japan and India. Having attended many dance performances in both traditions, the use of hand and arm movement still seems to me to best illustrate the ideal felt sense of PMPs in our work. The problem with bringing in those artistic "hands," has always been the lack of a description or analysis accessible to outsiders, not those of the culture.

Clip art: Clker
This link to an article by Parimal Phadke in a less-than-scholarly website (w/apologies, of course), is one of the best I have seen in conveying the meaning of the hand and foot engagement in (some) Indian classical dance. The "take away" from the piece, is that the hand and arm movements--from that cultural perspective--do not have intrinsic meaning, are not associated with baseball or iconic gestures, but, instead, serve to give "rhythmic form" to the dance so that the artistic expression can be more freely presented.

And so it is with HICP: the PMPs need to be learned at some level initially for the process to work. The PMPs of each of the six protocols take about 30 minutes to learn sufficiently so that the instructor can begin to integrate them regularly into the classroom instruction. If you do or have done or love interpretative dance or a related form, you are a step ahead. Or, might want to start here . . . HICP hand and arm movements across the visual field should not be thought of as conveying any deep "social meaning" or connection to common conversational gestures. They comprise but a form to put the dance in . . .

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