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The Dancer’s Imprint

I have often wondered why the dancer has been satisfied to create intense experiences that are not recorded well even in photos and film.

My experience of dancers and their choreography is of their imprint as individuals and as groups. The imprint they create is every aspect of their experience as a person.

That imprint can not be reproduced mechanically. Their imprint is created within and in connection with fellow dancers, dance students, and audiences.

In neurobiology, this imprint is referred to as the mirror neuron. The mirror neuron not only records the experience of the dancer but also creates its own version of a sound from music or a movement from watching dance. This all sounds mysterious but it is a process that we respond to and recognize easily.

What the dancer is doing is sharing an imprint of their experience through their creation of dances. That imprint is replicated in many different ways in the fellow dancers, their dance students, their families and friends, and each audience that chooses to share that imprint.

This is of course only the beginning. Each person that experiences a dancer’s imprint reflects their own perspective by building on their excitement with slight variations. These different perspectives and moment by moment growth of delight and intensity are what we see as audiences.

Then as audience we amplify the delight, the anticipation, the excitement of the imprints we are witnessing. We are taking the dancers’ imprints and making our own which can explode into laughter or sighs or sometimes personal distress.

At the end of the performance, no person present is the same. Imprints have been created and recreated, shaped and reshaped. Each person’s experience has been expanded or compressed in some way.

This experience after a performance is often more than we can manage. Sometimes I do not know what to say or what to think about this new person I have become and my witness of new creations emerging before my eyes. What has just happened?

This is not the same thing that happens when watching a mechanical representation in media. In a live performance, I can access the real energy and the varying pathways taken by each dancer’s of their experience.

Basically, that performance with that group of dancers and that audience is a unique experience that will never happen in the same way again.
Tim Hurst. 02/06/18

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Give My Heart

The prescription for every lifestyle is always to go beyond oneself. The Beatles say to find someone to love. For a parent the gift is giving to the child. For the entrepreneur the gift is creating something useful and desirable. For the financial life, gathering assets is to benefit a family or to participate in a group. For the universal mind, the gift is gratitude to a creator or awe in the face of the vastness of the universe.

For the performer, the gift is sharing a vision with one person in an audience or with a complete spectrum of groups. In the study of dance and music, building energy fields is a matter of changing focus and imagery to include a fellow dancer or musician and to invite a wider group to experience unique combinations of movement, emotion, and intention.

Each artist devises their own configurations that reveal surprises and more demands to give of themselves beyond their wildest imagination.
Tim Hurst 12/22/17

In a search to lower my stress and get my blood pressure under control, I have begun giving my heart to a source outside myself. From my perspective of shifting focus from a broad view to a narrow one, my broadest view is a creator of the universe. This is a poem I wrote exploring this experience:

Giving my heart to my creator releases my desire for proof that I am the author of my energy.

If my energy is beyond my desire to torque and to force, what freedom I have to allow rejuvenation to live within me.

All is beyond my imagination anyway. Why must I struggle so for an opinionated desire?

Where does the dance, the music come from then? What need to ask if my creator is the author of my energy?

How much more unique my energy must be than I can imagine?

Yes it is true I must now ask and continue to ask to give my heart to my creator?

How can I possibly ask for that?
Tim Hurst 12/21/17

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What’s a Child to a Dancer?

There are many delights in my life. One of the greatest is experiencing a child dancing. My delight is the child totally engaged, no other thought, no other focus. As an adult I have to slow myself down enough to really receiving this kind of engagement.

I have to experience their delight as a new state like none other I have experienced before. Like many dancers, the child is moving through many states, experiencing them, playing with them, trying them out in many different ways until they discover a new state.

I am trying to just juggle a few states to pull them together so I have to stop and breathe to accept the constant flow of information that the child is mirroring right into me. I accept that mirroring and follow it both along with the child and within myself connecting up my experiences with it.

My experience of dancers experimenting and performing is the same. I take a deep breath and slow myself down enough to accept the immense flow of information through each dancer.

Each of us as dancers goes through different stages of focusing on the flow from state to state and going back to sort through the moments of delight and doubt that represent us as unique and as a part of the mirroring we participate in.

We get caught in one phase or another and that is why we go to a teacher or a choreographer to help with the sorting and the cleaning of ourselves so we choose what is the clearest representation of our experiences.

So when I experience a dancer individually or as a group, I look first for their flow of delight that I know from slowing down with a child. The clues are if they discover a new part of themselves and allow me to see that in their dancing.

This is my second greatest delight, to be a witness of a dancer becoming a new person right then and there. That process takes courage to put every part of themselves on the line. To even begin to see that, I have to also put myself there ready to be changed as we mirror each other’s experience in the moment.

That is another level. The dancer and the audience mirror each other’s experience. That means the moment is being transformed by the curiosity and courage of each person present. Could be that is why we are mystified that no two performances are the same even with the same dancers and the same audience.

So I take a deep breath, call up what little courage I can and enter a space that is unique to dancers willing to show everything they are. That space is a toggle between two kinds of engaging, vulnerability and acceptance. The opening of all the stops is vulnerability which is essential to a dancer. The willingness to send all the power available through the body is acceptance. Vulnerability is recognizing doubt and anticipating a fully engaging experience. Accepting is claiming this statement as oneself at this moment taking full responsibility for the experience of mirroring that is taking place.

The child is the example. There is complete vulnerability and complete responsibility. There is no quibble about being loved or unloved, about there being a God or no God, about being skilled enough or approved enough. There is only total commitment and not to prove anything but to be a completely new something.

So I recognize how vulnerable I am and pull my total self into a slow space of being able to accept what will come through me. I am audience and I love this moment.

I see the dancer and the choreographer toggle between delight and doubt, between acceptance and vulnerability, between the known and the unknown. And what I commit to our mirroring process is anticipation of the toggle that will bring more engagement that may result in something subtle or something bold. Always I look toward the curiosity of the dancer for accepting those moments as representations of them selves, refreshed, renewed, recreated.
Tim Hurst 10/23/17

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Listen by Tapestry Dance Co

Tapestry performance, Listen With Ears Wide Open, March 30, 2017

Acia Gray of Tapestry Dance Company has her own direction as an artist.
Putting together personalities. Each personality has a melody, their own musical scale, their own unique quality of sound. Each moves into their melody with a little different focus of energy, lightness and heaviness.

Each personality takes a different pathway, some a little more direct with a focused intensity, some with a winding fluid ease that builds its intensity in intricacies, some build a storyline based on their personal power.

Putting personalities together in a unison environment creates an engine run by fireflies, delighting, surprising, personalities more visible at some times, less at others.

The excitement of personalities is when they meet and they create a new personality between them. Of course as audience we form three way personalities as we build our focus, interest, and excitement. Our experience explodes when paired personalities meet, especially tap dancers with a commitment to melody and the anticipatory spaces of rhythm.

Then Acia adds the added twist of improvisation allowing the tap dancers to let their personalities roll on the energy of interaction with each other and on personal intuition. Memory and planning would not be able to keep up with the delight and surprise of personalities bouncing off of each other.

For the audience, the thrill is catching the full on surrender in the faces of the dancers as they juggle between too many choice interactions. For example the ending piece of Listen with Ears Wide Open was called I’ve Got Rhythm. A rhythm was established by each dancer in a sand box interacting with the sand and interacting with the rhythm of each dancer as they added one at a time. Each dancer had a unique sound and movement related to tearing paper that was a part of their rhythm. Each dancer picked up the other dancer’s approach to the paper, their rhythm, and their movement in the sand box. Mix all that together and the audience is roaring with the combinations occurring in the moment. Fun. Synthesis. Catharsis. By whatever name you call it, that is tap dancing with Acia Gray.
Tim Hurst, 03/30/17