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Bunraku Puppetry Movement

Moving As One Part 2


Moving As One Part 2


Students will be able to will be able communicate with their puppets by participating in a puppet charades.


National Theater Breathing

Mexican Opera

Charade Cards

Brain Dance Outline

Hook Breathing

Puppet Clips

  1. Ask students to gather reasons why breath is important to moving? You can get ideas from what the people say or just what you are seeing?
  2. Show National Theater Clip first, then show Puppet Opera Clip.


  1. Ask students to report what they saw and heard about the importance of breathing?
  2. How were the puppeteers actually accomplishing breath in their puppet?


  1. Explain that we are going to push ourselves today to explore different ways of moving realistically. If we have extra time we can start playing with non-realistic movement.
  2. So before we can know what is realistic movement for our puppet’s body we need to know what is realistic for our bodies.
  3. I will lead you through an exercise called the brain dance.

Activity Brain Dance (Self)

  1. Direct students to find their own personal space in the room.
  2. Put up movement poster.
  3. Define Brain Dance “a series of exercises … comprised of eight developmental movement patterns that healthy human beings naturally move through in the first year of life…”
  4. Breath
  5. Tactile
  6. Core Distal
  7. Head Tail
  8. Upper Lower
  9. Body Side
  10. Cross Lateral
  11. Lead them through the eight patterns of movement, stressing that nobody will or should be quite the same. If they are at a loss for how to move check up on the movement poster for another idea.
  12. Name, Model, Lead students through each Movement Pattern


  1. Ask students to compare how they feel now after they have completed the brain dance, compared to before they started the brain dance? Physically or Emotionally? Compare your breathing? Did you were feel limited by your anatomy? Were you ever surprised that you could move a certain way?



  1. Explain that we will now do the brain dance again with our puppets. Using what we learned about the limits of our movement.


Activity Brain Dance (Puppet)

  1. Repeat Brain Dance Movement Patterns.
  2. Side coach by calling out names on the movement posters.
  3. Remind students of their breath.
  4. Encourage students to go slowly.



  1. Now we are going to put our exploration of movement to work in a character walk.
  2. Ask students to switch their puppet role from the one they just performed.


Activity Character Walk

  1. Compare this to a standard character walk many of the students have already participated in.
  2. Those who don't know, your puppets will walk around the room and adjust your movement to the things I call out.
  3. Subjects could be emotions, settings, characters.
  4. You may interact with one another but the purpose is to get a flow of your team's own way of moving before you try to start connecting with others.
  5. Emotions
  6. Sad
  7. Excited
  8. In Love
  9. Afraid
  10. Angry
  11. Bored
  12. Laughter
  13. Settings
  14. Swamp
  15. Hot Coals
  16. Jello
  17. Moon
  18. Water
  19. Blizzard
  20. Fog
  21. Intense Wind
  22. Hail
  23. Characters
  24. Principle
  25. Old Person
  26. Broken Leg
  27. Princess
  28. Pirate
  29. Ninja
  30. Sumo Wrestler
  31. Music
  32. If students are doing well push them to interpret music from the Bunraku Puppet Walk Playlist.


  1. Explain that just having good movement isn’t enough in performance. We want our movement to communicate.


Activity Charades

  1. We will now play a game of charades.
  2. Ask each puppet team to write down 3 charades. It can be people, places, phrases, or things.
  3. Mix up the charades and hand on to each puppet team.
  4. They will each have 2 minute to plan out and practice how they will move to communicate their word.
  5. When each group performs, the other teams will be in charge of guessing. Whichever team guesses first gets a point.
  6. Performers can use breath but not words while performing.
  7. Keep track of points.


Activity Journal

  1. Ask students to identify what communicated well in performances and what made the communication difficult between performers and audience?


  1. Explain how the next few classes are going to go:
  2. Devising Scenes
  3. Preview


  1. Final/Transition.