Viewpoints grid︎︎︎
In the Viewpoint system created by Mary Overlie at the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU, there is a simple walking pattern on a grid that brings attention to our choices as movers, working as a group and composition. There are many more like this in the The Viewpoints Book, but this is a good one to start with. It's also easy to do with participants from any discipline (not just actors and dancers).

Have half the group sit and watch and the other half in the space. Get the group to imagine a grip on the floor and start walking on the grid—not curves or diagonals, only right straight lines and clear right angle turns.

Have the group find the natural tempo of their walk. Once this is established, instruct them to play with changing their tempo (how fast or slow they walk). This change can be initiated by a clap or saying 'go'. Notice the different attention in the bodies and patterns created.  Once this is clear have them return to normal walking for a bit. Then instruct them to play with tempo again but paying attention to kinaesthetic response. This means making choices about how fast or slow you are walking based on your response to the choices and movement of the other bodies in the space. You will see many more relationships between the bodies—and a sense of unified connection between the bodies. Again, have the group let that go by returning to the normal walking. Then have the group continue to play with tempo and kinaesthetic response but now add duration (how long you stay with any given tempo or direction?). This one is interesting because it reminds us of our temporal habits.

There are lots of other combinations you can choose to play with in this system. A fun one to try is giving the group only two choices, extremely fast or extremely slow. The change in how the bodies are listening is palpable. There lots to see from the outside for the participants watching, and this work creates great discussion about how the space works architecturally and making clear choices. Not only when it is working compositionally, but when it isn't working and why.
︎︎︎from Mary Overlie