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Working With Dance


Basal Tears
Reflex Tears
Emotional Tears



[Image: Bethany Millns, photographed by Judie Waldmann]


What Are Basal Tears?

Basal tears are constant tears, which stop our eyes from drying out.

The Basal tears only pause when we sleep, then begin again when we wake.

The human body produces an average of 1.2 ml of these continuous basal tears each day. Basal tears drain through the nose, through the nasal cavity.


Central Idea to Explore

We thought about the quality of basal tears, which is that they are continuous, except when we sleep.

We explored the idea of moving all of the time, except when we sleep, so showing this sleep in a pause or stop.

We explored the idea of creating movements about blinking.

These could be small gestures with the hands, shaping the movements on the face.

These could be changing or repeated movements.

Then these movements can be put together with pauses to illustrate the pause of basal tears in sleep.



Basal Tears: Are They Really Continuous?

Format: colour stereo video
Duration: 3:07 minutes

In this film you can listen to our scientist Dr. John Tiffany talking with the young people about basal tears.



Continuous: Two Solos

Format: colour stereo video
Duration: 3:02 minutes

In this film you will see Frances Weir and Bethany Millns develop their ideas on basal tears, by looking at continuous movement before sleep.



Further Ideas to Explore on Basal Tears

  • We explored the idea of ‘the journey of a tear drop’.
  • We explored thinking about tracing a teardrop, which falls from your face and travels around your body.
  • We put into this idea the idea of it starting when we woke up.
  • We tried this with music with a strong beat
  • We tried this with dancing in front of mirrors to dance with your reflection
  • If you don’t want to ‘imagine’ tracing a tear drop, you can use a small clear water bottle to represent a ‘tear’, and dance with this.




The Teardrop

In the following films you will see this idea of the teardrop.

You will also see different ways the young people used the camera to film the dance, as they thought about tears and the eye.


The Dance of the Teardrop performed by Luke Need

Format: colour stereo video
Duration: 2:37 minutes



Developing the Idea

In the following film we see what can be achieved by changing the focus of the camera lens.

The film was shot by Andrew Wint. By filming images of the dance off a video screen and making the picture look out of focus, Andrew was able to make the images look blurred.

The effect is a bit like looking at the world through tears on the surface of the retina.



Blurred Vision

Format: colour stereo video
Duration: 2:47 minutes





Key Words List

Here are some new words for you to learn:



Basal tears








Nasal cavity







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