Invisible Balls engages students’ imaginations as they pass energy across the circle in the form of an invisible ball with a specific size, shape, and weight. In this activity, students practice ensemble-building skills, accepting offers, and using detail in their pantomime.
Invite students stand in a circle. Introduce the activity: I have an invisible ball in my hands that has a specific size, shape, and weight. Then, use pantomime to demonstrate the characteristics of an imagined ball by throwing it back and forth in your hands e.g., imagine holding a very large, round, heavy ball. Ask students what they saw you do. Develop vocabulary about how artists use body, shape, and attitude in pantomime. Explain that when the invisible ball - that has a particular size, shape, and weight - is passed to another player they should keep the size, shape, and weight consistent as they catch the ball. Pick up the imaginary large, heavy ball again and toss it to another participant to model the action. Once the new participant has the ball, invite that participant to change the invisible ball to a new imagined size, shape, and weight and pass the ball to a new person, who then repeats the process. As the group passes the ball around the circle, encourage each player to use their body, shape, and attitude to establish the characteristics of the ball of each ball as it is received, transformed and thrown to someone else. The imaginary ball can travel randomly across or person-to-person in sequence around the circle.
- What did you notice about yourself as you participated in this activity? What did you notice about the group? What kind of balls did we imagine?
- What did we need to do in order to be successful at this activity? (Useful to reference aesthetic skills here, detail, imagination)
- Where else in our work might we also use these skills?
- Really see the ball. Feel its weight in your hands. Be specific and detailed with your movements.
- How do you throw this type of ball? How do you catch this type of ball?
- Don’t think or pre-plan what you’re going to do ahead of time – just receive the ball as it was given to you and let the changes occur naturally.
- Add sound when the ball is thrown and the receiver echoes the sound when s/he receives the imagine ball. Then, as the receiver changes the size, shape, and weight of the ball to become the thrower, s/he uses a new sound, which s/he uses when s/he throws the ball to someone else.
- SCIENCE: Have students throw and catch balls with different densities. The teacher should coach them to pantomime these details with specificity. Explore how to make solid, liquid, or gas balls.
- READING/WRITING: Using a list of adjectives/adverbs, have students demonstrate/explore their understanding of the words based on how they throw/catch balls with different physical qualities.