String dance

In short

Students developed this idea for an imaginative dialogue with elderly people in care homes during the intensive week in Helsinki, 2021

By Eva Blaak, Maggi Asbjørnsen and Moona Nevalainen

Students invited the participants to sit on a cushion placed on the floor in a circle. The facilitator explained the key rules such as the importance of being oneself in experiencing the practice and the possibility of stopping participation at any time when participants feel like letting go of the yarn.  

As the soundtrack played, the facilitators started to offer the yarn to the participants to hold it. As all the participants got the yarn, they started to move the string, creating pulling movements spontaneously. Changes in tension and the direction of the yarn are created by the movement of the hand transmitted from person to person through the yarn. As the sound of waves filled the space, more facilitators distributed different colored yarn to the circle randomly selecting the holders. A circle-like form is made by the first yarn, multiplied by the different irregular shapes made by additional threads. Facilitators stepped inside the circle holding and connecting more threads with the participants and generating various peaks and valleys-like shapes and movements. The entanglement of the thread got more complicated as the practice went on.  

As the sound of waves changed into music, the facilitators encouraged the participants to stand up as they gestured and pulled the thread. The movements of the facilitators and the participants gradually changed to more dance-like responses to the cheerful music. The participants actively took part in dancing, mimicking the movement of the facilitators or standing up from the cushion and playing with the different heights visualized by the string.  

As the music slowed down the facilitators started to move more statically, and the participants took this as their signal as well. As the sound of waves played once again, the facilitator sat down in a circle along with the participants and together the whole group viewed the interconnected web of threads.  

A facilitator invited the participants to drop the thread and ended the session.