Silent Disco

In this performance-drawing session, students dance and move to their own rhythm while they traverse large sections of paper. Charcoal clasped in their feet and hands capture their unique movements and trace their journey.


This activity was conducted in studioFive at MGSE as part of our Master of Teaching course.


  • Drawing as embodied experience
  • Dance
  • Movement
  • Body/Space relationships
  • Emotional connection and response

Skills and Techniques

  • Drawing
  • Movement
  • Abstraction


  • Butchers paper roll
  • Charcoal – sticks and compressed
  • Private music (student-supplied)


Students should prepare by bringing a phone/ipod and headphones with their own choice of music to listen to.

Clear some floor space and lay lengths of butchers paper around the room. A teacher demonstration or a viewing one of the videos below could be used before the student commence. The dancing/moving path should be clearly defined so that students do not clash – this activity is about personal expression and movement.

Students are provided with charcoal to hold in their hands and feet and asked to put on their headphones and start listening to their music. Students are set off to traverse the drawing surface one by one, allowing enough space between each student. They are asked to listen carefully to the music and move, react and draw in response.

This activity gives students plenty of time to observe the techniques of their peers as they are waiting to join the drawing and once they have finished.

Once completed students are invited to discuss the work – sharing details of the music they were listening to and the responses they drew.

Art Connections

This activity introduces students to the concept of embodied drawing. It encourages them to consider drawing beyond what they expect. The collaborative yet individual nature of the activity encourages students to respect the space and movements of their peers while they are working.

VCD Connections

This activity can be used to explore how people move through spaces and is particularly relevant to environmental design. Student gain an understanding of how much space is required between people and objects within a designed setting. It can also be used to discuss how user characteristics, like musical preferences, could be expressed graphically.

Related Artists

Next Steps

Following lessons can extend these concepts by:

  • This project was extended in the Mapping Country activity.
  • Students can re-dance the piece using different mediums and exchanging music with their peers.
  • Sections of the piece can be selected by students to photograph using black and white film or digital cameras. Sections can be emphasised or hidden using contrast adjustment techniques in the darkroom or Photoshop.