This set of Dancing cards were photographed in New York City by Payton Leihgeber. Featured Dancers are NYU graduates,  Lil Aronoff and Megan Paradowski. These Dancing cards tasks were documented in September 2017 in various locations on Manhattan. The Dance tasks are designed by Dancing cards team. 

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Dancing the trees

Choose three different trees, take few minutes to watch each one of them. Pay attention to the shape of the trunk, the branches, and the leaves. How does the tree move in the wind? What type of sound do the leaves make when they move?

Write down the answers to these questions and draw the shapes of the trees or, create your own questions. Build movements that resemble each tree. Repeat the movements in order to create your tree dance.


Dancing the trees movement task draws the attention to the environment. Through this exercise dancer strengthens the relationship with their surroundings, using senses such as sight and touch to observe the trees. 


You can add different plants natural to your habitat. Learn to identify all the trees and plants in the dance. Write down the plants in your dance, name your dance. #dancingcards #dancingthetrees to share your tree dance with us. 

Continuing task

Practice abstract thinking by listing qualities that can be used to describe all the trees in general. Make a dance from these qualities and add it to your tree dance.                     

   Notes: When you are dancing the qualities or shapes of your trees you can dance from a visual idea in which you form shapes by repeating the actual shapes of the tree. Or, you can think about how the forming the shapes or qualities of the tree would feel in the body and dance the tree for example from the idea of maintaining a curve or reach in your body while moving in space.

Interesting read

How do trees communicate?

For a dance class

Dance how trees communicate. Mother trees send signals to others….Position the dancers how the mother trees are positioned.


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Floating body

In this exercise called Floating body, imagine space/water/air in between your bones. All of your bones become liquid, and you keep moving as if you were a spaghetti in a boiling water. Gently go through all of your joints. Finger, elbows, shoulders, toes, ankles, knees and the hip. Your head is supported and it gently floats upwards on the top of your spine. Always draw your navel up and in towards your spine to create support for your lower back. Keep breathing, taking long inhales through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Create your floating dance.

Draw attention to all the joints in your body (how many joints are there in the human body?). Imagine air/space/water in between all joints and gently let your bones “float” while in motion. Never let go the head all the way to the back. You want to have smooth movement on the joints.


The floating body task is wonderful for a quick wamr up for the entire body. It promotes the flow of synovial fluid in between the joints, which helps to protect the joints from friction. While dancing your floating dance, remember to float the joints gently, no extreme movements required. Rather try circulate as many joints in the body simultaneously as possibly. 



How many joints are in the human body? How quickly did you feel warm with the Floating task? Hod did you feel after dancing the floating task?



Brushes and paints.Tape paper on the wall or thicker paper material on the floor. Paint your dance.

Balancing with a book. Place a book on the top of your head and make a dance while balancing the book on the top of your head.

Fabric. Experiment with different kinds of fabrics to create abstract dances.


A sample of objects, pick 4 to 6 objects and place them on the floor in front of you, make a movement with each object, keep alternating with objects, create an order for the objects, perform the moves of each object in the order without the objects. Congratulations, you have danced your objects.


Which objects did you choose for your dance? Are there something incommon with the objects you chose? 

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Edge of balance

Balance on the balls of your feet until you are at the edge of your balance where you are about to lose your balance. Take different poses and find your edge of balance. Let your body catch you.



to empathy

With a partner

Stand side by side and produce symmetrical movement as if you were mirror images of each other. Keep changing the roles of the leader and the follower. Can you change roles organically without talking?


The person leading closes their eyes. Move slowly throughout the exercise. While taking turns in miming each other’s movement, try to sense the feeling of your partner while dancing. Write down the feeling you were experiencing when you were the leader”. Your partner will write down the feeling they sensed off of your movement. Switch roles and repeat the task. After a couple of rounds change your papers to see if you matched.

When we mimic each other’s movement, we develop kinetic empathy.

multidisciplinary dance video inspired by Freudian psychology, symmetry task. 

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Find opposites with movement. Keep moving from one opposite to another. From up to down, slow to fast, detailed to vast. Discover your own opposite.

With a partner, take turns in one person creating a movement and the other answering the movement with an opposite movement.


The theory of opposites yin and yang in Chinese medicine

“One becomes two, two becomes three, three becomes ten thousand things.”

Opposition: Opposite of something

Interdependence: Once you have one thing it automatically creates what it is not.

You can’t have one without the other

Mutual consumption: They are continuously changing

Inter transformation: One can change into another but not randomly. Only when the time is right

If you’d like to share your tree dance take a photo and #dancingcards #opposites



Hold each other’s arms from the wrists. Standing on one foot, slowly and gently lean away from each other finding a point where you can balance. Change arms and legs, repeat the task. When you get comfortable with the task, you can integrate levels and movement qualities. Eventually, begin to move in a circle while leaning away from each other and keeping the hold with the partner. Once you have completed a full circle, change direction. You may do this task alone with a sturdy structure such as a tree.

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hide and open

What does it mean to have an open mind or open body?

Investigate this topic by first hiding your face behind your arms. Take in the feeling of hiding, then when you are ready, open arms and jump or quickly move to the direction of your gaze while opening your arms and chest. Make sure you have enough space to safely practice the concept of opening.


It is easy to get used to routines in thinking and moving, the hide and open task asks you to step out of your routines with awareness. Journal your experience of Hide and Open. Are there things you like to hide and things you like to show in the open?