In spite of the earliness of the hour and the cold wind blowing outside, about twenty conference attendees were still called to come to the very first interest session of the Boston Conference: Vital Force - Using T’ai Chi Chih and Movement Techniques to Teach Conducting. In the small room where the session took place, the lights were dimmed, and calming music was being played to create a space of meditation. The presenter, Stan Engerbreston, lead the group in some very basic T’ai Chi Chih moves, stopping along the way to explain how each can be applied to choral conducting. Though we only learned the basics, the practical uses of this approach were clear to everyone in the room. The concepts of remaining grounded and beginning all movements from the core are central to T’ai Chi Chih, and these principles could also be used to teach the foundations of choral conducting.
As we practiced each move, we focused on breath movement and stability, which seem to be essential for both Tai Chi Chih and good conducting form. By keeping the breath connected to each movement, the participants were able to execute several simple moves and poses. This session was a great way to start off the first morning of ACDA Eastern 2016!
-Annie Brady, IC ACDA Special Events Coordinator
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