Kinetic, Performative Writing Exercise

This is an exercise designed to warm up writing muscles and get your into your full range of motion

Pick one small section from a version of The Dying Swan. It should be no longer than 10 seconds of material. Cite the URL and minutes and seconds that you are analyzing (e.g., Fokine, Michel. 1906. The Dying Swan. <>, 13:48-14:01 [accessed 3 Oct 2018]).

Write a description of every movement of that section. 

  • Use kinetic verbs and luscious adjectives, and heaps of similes and metaphors (e.g., “her foot launched gleefully skyward, though tethered to the earth” not “she kicked her leg up”). 
  • Try animism: the sense that the floor and props are alive. Dip into reversals: not “she lifted her foot from the floor” but “the floor spewed her fuchsia-clad ankle and thigh toward the rafters”). 
  • Be specific! Not, ‘flowed like water’ but ‘bubbled like boiling cola that had been forgotten on a stovetop.’
  • DO NOT: use words like: is, went, grabbed, lifted, etc. (booooor-ing! = Re-write). 
  • Feel free to use ellipses (…) and parentheses. Pile on the prepositions! E.g., ‘Her foot wooshed out and above then shrieked toward, through, and into the audience’s eye sockets.’
  • Include some personal anecdote. How does this segment resonate with you? What does it remind you of? Are there any moments you feel more than others? 

You do not need to offer an interpretation. Do not tell us what the movement “means.”

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