Created by Marta Zawadzka, Małgorzata Skusa, photo by Mikail Bayirm, Sępólno Krajeńskie, POLAND, 22.02. 2020. no 1

Intention: building the trust, openness, awareness of my own body, coexisting with others

Participants: 14 young adults (16-29 y.o.)

Duration: 3 hours

Method: non-formal kinesthetic learning through movement and dance

Description of exercises.

  • How does my body work?

Everybody lies on the floor with the eyes closed finding comfortable position, releasing the tension and feeling every single part of their body. With very small movement they try to move joint by joint. The aim is to make the whole body move and travel through the space changing position having eyes closed all the time.

It was surprising that participants seemed not to be willing to move, their moves were small, unsecure, very delicate. It looked as if they were afraid to move, didn’t want to take too much space or bump into each other. Their bodies seemed to be tensed and not comfortable in this exercise.

Participants’ reflection:
I can do very simple things to feel my body and listen to my mind
– I opened myself when we were lying on the floor with eyes closed, I felt relaxed
Closed eyes is a great idea to lose the fear

  • How can I call myself?

The participants prepare their name cards. They put down their real names and a word which describes, reflects the state of their mind and/or body after the first exercise. They stick it to their chests.

Many of them put down the word which described more a feature of a character than the state of mind or body…

Participants’ name cards :
– Anita Freedom
– Ecem Lazy
– Melih Poor
– Iza Frendly
– Vaid Sleepy

  • Where am I?

Everybody walks around the room and focuses on the way of walking: pace, feeling the floor under their feet, directions of moving, walking among other people without any contact and
feeling the space around.

The fact that they opened their eyes made their attention transmit to other people: they found it difficult to be focused on themselves.

  • Who are you?

Still walking the participants are to catch the eye contact with each other. When they are ready they can stop and “get to know” the other person: without speaking they can read the name cards and smile or look into each others’ eyes.

It was difficult to “get to know” an unknown person – very often they chose “their friends” with whom it wasn’t easy to deepen the interaction.

  • How does your body work?

The aim is to choose a partner who they haven’t worked yet. One person initiates the other person to move by touching one joint at a time. The animated person works with eyes closed – till the end of the activity, moving only this part of the body which is touched. The first step is to get the impulse and come back to the initial position, the second – keep moving and reacting to new impulses. The last step is to continue the motion, transfer it; the partner stays aside and observes.
Then change the role.

It was a challenge to concentrate only on work with a chosen partner – for many animating people what was going around was very distracting.

  • “Who shot the sheriff?”

A game that involves everybody – the aim is to have fun, integrate with others, relax and check rapid response while playing. All participants stand in a circle, one person is in the
middle. His/her task is to “shoot” at a chosen person shouting “pif”. The “shot” person has to squat down while their neighbours have to react as well targeting into each other and
shouting “paf”. The neighbour who comes the second is out, the “shot” person if doesn’t squat down is out too. The game continues till there are only three people left.

It was a great fun for everybody. However, it demanded a high level of concentration and quick responses which wasn’t easy because the necessity of fast action and unexpected “shot” caused spontaneous reactions in mixing roles.

  • What is my body picture?

Cards with surreal images (DIXIT cards) were used to summarize the first part of the workshop. Each participant was to choose a card that was the best image of their body awareness, feelings, attitude towards what had happened. Everybody was supposed to show the card and tell the others why he/she had chosen it.

It was striking because the chosen card didn’t cover with expectation after observing the participants during activities. The other interesting thing was the participants’ associations connected with the cards – some of them were very critical towards themselves, some went quite deep describing their feelings in public, some found new opportunities.

  • Can I see me in you?

Work in pairs, standing face to face. One person is a leader, the other – a follower. The leader’s task is to move slowly so the other person can follow the movement. No talking, keeping eye contact. After a while – the roles are changed.

The most difficult part of this exercise for some people was to maintain the eye contact and make up the movement when they were leaders. Some partners weren’t able to work symmetrically like in a mirror image.

Participants’ reflection:
– This exercise let me open myself and discover something new in me and pass it through to my partner;
– It allowed me to look at myself from the other side.

  • Can you follow me?

The whole group works together like a shoal of fish with all faces in one directions. The person at the front-line moves and the others should follow “the leader”. When the direction of faces
changes – the leader is changed as well. The aim for the group is to move like “one body”.

It was demanding exercise: some participants didn’t want to be a leader, on the other hand some didn’t want to give up the role of a leader, the group moved too fast and not very precisely. Besides they concentrated more on the movement as such
forgetting about the space.

  • How close can I came?

People take positions in the space motionless like “trees in a forest”. One person with closed eyes tries to walk through the “forest” without touching but feeling the energy of “the trees”.
After walking through “the forest” another participant can do the same.

It was interesting that same of “the blinds” behaved like “harvester” – they walked straight line not paying attention to the energy of other people, bumping into “the trees”. Others, however, walked very slowly feeling energy of others but still they lost the direction, e.g. walking around one “tree”. They were surprised by the place they reached.

  • Where am I now?

Summary: time for reflection and an attempt to face the given issues:
– What does the openness mean to you?
– What allowed you to open? Are you ready to open?
– Did you “break” anything?
– What would you like to work on next time? – What do you feel you need to work on?

Participants’ reflection:
I have to work with my border of my openness. (…) To understand myself and understand when people are comfortable with me;
– To feel more secured
with my own body, to get to know myself;
– (…) To express myself and cross shyness;
– Not to be afraid of doing something else than the others, not to try to fit in a group but be myself;
– Openness is to feel comfortable around people. To express feelings (…) and not to be shy to name something or not to be afraid to name something wrongly;
– Try to set the hidden feelings free

  • How can I call myself now?

Name cards from the beginning of the workshop can stay the same or maybe the participants want to change them.

I’ve never been in a workshop like that. After that I felt my body was so relaxed. It was really good experience for me.

VIDEO EXTRACT created by Mikail Bayir:

The project financed by the Erasmus + Programme, which for years has been the leading program of the European Commission supporting educational activities in a form that is limited only by imagination, so if someone would like to try their hand at obtaining a grant for unusual international projects, they should definitely look at the website of the