Posted on

Dance Basic Ease

Today i need to quiet myself from being busy and worrying. I follow my process of slow circular movement crossing the midline of my body. I do not need the busy activity of the spin but instead gently move arms, palms facing, back and forth across my spine.

My head is networked to balance on my spine with a slight bobble as my eyes and head move the opposite direction of my hands. My hands face each other, arms easily outstretch away from my body. Signals from my spine lift my elbows and soften my hands as they travel in spiral movements up each vertebra of my spine.

My experience is connection of my entire self, a sensation of ease.

It is this study of ease that make up my experiments to find a balance of directed and collaborative movement. The networking in today’s movement comes from Tai Chi but I understand the principles from the detailed training of Ballet and Modern Dance.

I keep trying to verbalize the simplicity of the Ballet learning process. I try to trace the principles in action.

The basis is that energy must be allowed to move through me. A dance image allows my arms to float up. My arms lift from energy traveling from my spine, under my shoulders and around my arms. The action is more than muscles moving from mental direction or from intentional force. .

The pathway of the energy is a spiral traveling through my arms and beyond each finger. The palms facing activate the connection of energy between each hand.

Basically an energy field is created between my arms and energy connections of my torso that begin and end at my spine.

The training of energy movement is the focus. Anatomy is adjusted to encourage the easy flow of energy. Arms are softened by the spiral of energy passing through. Elbow, wrist, and finger joints are flexible from energy passing through their gently curved positions.

The result of this focus is an approach to anatomy as alignment to foster easy flow of energy. Maintaining an erect spine is no longer the commands to hold myself up and pull my shoulders back. Each vertebra is balancing within a flow of energy that is traveling through and spiraling around my spine.

This detailed understanding of movement is why Ballet and Modern Dance have been at the forefront of innovation in training for both flexibility and strength. The effects are a deeper understanding of injury prevention and movement rehabilitation.

One goal is an ease of movement in any direction responsive to any variation of speed, intensity, and quality such as lightness or heaviness. Another goal is the networking of energy signals that create a continual energy loop through the horizontal plane of the arms and the vertical one of the spine. The image of energy loops are applied to every area of the body to respond as a supportive network.

The image of spiral energy is one key to dance as a way to generate delight by engaging the entire person.

I experience the image of spiral energy as a way to generate new connections, a way to go beyond my limitations, and a way to respond to strains to avoid injury.
Tim Hurst 03/25/18

Posted on

Dancing Beyond Experiment

My study is to dance beyond what i know by preparing for the surprises in the movement of my physical body, my intention, emotion, and sensation. I work with energy as the basis for building signal networks in all these forms of movement.

I do this by working directly with the shift of focus between making specific connections to build signal networks and a focus on all energy connections happening at once.

Concentrating on the brain body ability to make distinctions between two connections, I concentrate on finding the simplest connections and vary the connections in one way to find new connections.

Dance is the perfect model for me to follow this process of simplicity growing into complexity by adding variation.

The principles of dance are directed toward this study of focus. The binary approach takes two realms of study and compares them. I am specifically interested in the variations between more and less force, circular and spiraled movement, extension and elevation of movement, directed action and imagery for moving energy.

My study is centered around my weaknesses of trying to force my movement and direct every action and my resistance to patterned and structured movement that seems to emphasize those weaknesses.

My process is derived from Ballet and Modern Dance and informed by study of many forms of technique, therapy, and improvisational dance.

Every day I set out with the goal to renew connections of energy and to discover new connections.

I lay on the floor and I stand. I move my entire body with each movement establishing support networks to move in every direction, with different levels of speed, intensity, and dynamic quality.

I use simple movements initiating from spine signals that go outward and inward.
i vary the directions of signals to go in the same and opposite directions.
I vary the movements from vertical with the spine to horizontal crossing the spine.

I establish a central image of spreading and elevating by following the action of my diaphragm expanding for inhaling and rising for the exhale. Then I transfer this image by pairing the breathing diaphragm with other diaphragms and platforms throughout my body.

I use spiral imagery of the double helix to enhance changing focus within continual movement and intimate relationships between different networks.

I check myself to make sure movement is a process of entering delight. If I am struggling and feeling strain, I simplify the connections and experiment with changes in the size and speed of my movements.
Tim Hurst 03/23/18

Posted on

Double Helix Dance Image

The double helix image is very helpful when I a learning new movement and when I am correcting old habits that create strain.

The problem I have is concentrating too much on one spiral at a time. My mind can conceive of only one spiral at a time unless I conceive the entire image at once slowly spiraling through my entire body. The image is applied only once from head to toe and allowed to move gently and continuously.

My thinking wants to follow a single spiral but that does not give me the agility to adjust. The problem this causes is I have to focus my specific thoughts on one area of movement.

The advantage of the double helix is that I can switch the entire image to a broader focus and allow it to operate as one part of my networking. The image itself does not require my attention or direction.

Rather than thinking the image, I can grasp the image as a whole and make slight adjustments to improve the range of my experience and my movement. Said another way, once the image is an active part of my entire networks, I can adjust a range of actions to affect the quality of my sensations and my movement.

My actions are first to adjust the shape of the double helix. I can narrow the space between the two spirals to surround specific vertebra and clarify signals to different areas of my body. I can expand the two spirals to the edges of my body for a more three dimensional experience and instant changes of direction and dynamic.

I then can add another specific image to the double helix since my focus already conceives of my full self in action. For example I can add the image of spreading and rising to specific horizontal areas of my body and emphasize the action with the double helix with larger and smaller space between the strands. I can connect the body sensations of my breathing diaphragm to the image of spreading and rising.

By adjusting specific areas of the double helix, I can connect platforms and diaphragms from my feet spreading and rising all the way through my body, up each spinal vertebra, through the top of my head. The double helix only has to be widened or narrowed in the areas that I am connecting.

All this is done while the full image is in continuous movement through my body. Any adjustments are making changes to the actions and connections of the double helix image.
Tim Hurst 03/07/18

Posted on

Ballet as Simple

The more stressed I become with running a business and worrying about money,the more I search for ways to release the stress in my body. It has taken many years to understand the instant relief that dance gives me.

Trying many forms of dance I decided that my body was not going to do what I asked it to do. So I became an improvisational dancer. I learned about the qualities of movement without worrying about precision.

Searching for more control of my body, I studied Pilates as a form of exercise based on Ballet and Modern Dance. I discovered that I do not have the concentration or the memory structure to make ten commands at once to make my body move correctly. Something was not connecting.

Then I discovered that Ballet simplified commands for my whole body into a network of movements. The very beginning movement, the plié, seems like simple movements of bending the legs, lowering the body, and lifting the arms. When I discovered the basis of this simple, whole body movement, I knew this was the clarity of learning I was looking for.

Pilates identified one principle of Ballet that looked hopeful. They call it the Core, meaning the musculature, nerves, blood flow, around the skeletal center of the body, the spine. Pilates strengthens and stretches the muscles around the spine using an exercise model.

When I began to take Ballet, the Core became related to movement of my whole body with simple commands. Those commands were signals originating at the spine. This sounds a little detailed but I had to have a way to connect my movements that seemed to ignore my commands.

The more I studied the simplest Ballet movements I realized three things. Ballet teaches movements as signals that start at different areas of the spine. A network of signals can move my whole body with one command. And third, when several networked movements are bundled as a phrase, I learn how the effort of one movement supports the next movement.

So my study of Ballet is to train my spine to send and receive signals that guide my body movements. This seems to work because my muscles surprise me by releasing to let the signals pass through.

An added benefit is that watching other dancers learn, I am able to identify the networks that should be connecting for me. For me to get to the networks, I have to go into much more detail than the average person. This drives my Pilates teachers crazy with so many questions and requests to understand what connects to what. Ballet teachers move us through the phrases and ask us to experiment with balance and different speeds to get the connections between movements and to build networks of signals.
Tim Hurst 02/07/18