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What are Hands to a Dancer?

When a dancer touches palms together an integrated circuit is formed connecting the entire body.

When the hands are touching and move apart, leaving space between the palms, the integrated circuit continues with signals passing between the palms and between the inner surfaces of the arms.

I love watching babies touch their feet and mouths to establish these circuits.

I experiment with touch as I initiate different dance movement. From my experience as a practitioner of Craniosacral Therapy, I experience touch as both exploratory searching and receiving of information. With this kind of touch, I dance allowing my hands to initiate a movement and catch the movement in mid air.

With dancing I experience a wide range of emotions and qualities of movement. More and more I discover how these experiences build networks of signals. I draw from my Craniosacral Therapy experience to identify diaphragms that cross the entire body and to seek connections between these areas of the body.

As I experiment with the hands, I remember the ways many people use their hands in different situations. This is a review of what I have seen or experience myself.

Touching both knees with my hands, I experience a crouching sensation ready to stalk and pounce.

Hands on my hips is a readiness stance while I straighten my pelvis and pull energy from my feet and pass energy through my body.

Hands to the lower back is a resting pose common to frontier women performing back breaking labor.

Hands to the belly is responding to internal turmoil of some kind.

Hands to the lower ribs in a caving in motion is a response to a blow from trauma, either physically or emotional.

Hands to the solar plexis at mid chest is a sense of surprise and curiosity.

Hands to the collar bone is gasping for breath to deal with a sudden flood of signals rushing from the body to the head.

Hands to the sides and back of the neck is a grasping for understanding and an attempt to stabilize from a flood of new data.

Hands to the temples is a sense of unbelief and a call to all systems to integrate to face what is happening.

Hands clasped at the back of the head is a meditative resting pose that connects to networks for gaining a broader view of our experiences. This is also an important position of the hands in Craniosacral Therapy.

Hands on the brow between the eyes is another call to all systems for help in integrating experiences pleasant or troubling. In some systems this is called the Third Eye.

Hands on top of the head is an anticipation of surrender to new information passing through the body.

How do the understanding of hand movements relate to the dancer?

Each area of touch is a sensory platform or diaphragm that dancers explore to build signal networks. The dancer explores each area being touched as platforms to initiate movement and to gain access to sensory data. Improvisational dance movements will often touch these sites to vary the dancer’s experience of an infinite variety of qualities.

Different qualities of signals within a touch requires a level of awareness and access to sensory data that is not easily studied. My guess is that the child is moving at light speed through subtleties of emotional and physical connections. This level of growth and learning may be overwhelming to us as we get older. This might explain why we relegate this kind of sensory data to spiritual exploration and to the realms of the artist. The isolation and demeaning of these sensory explorers might be just an adult fear of traveling at light speeds within us.

Just a note is that within a light wave are many spectrums and a variety of speeds that produce an infinite range of intensities and qualities that require the human system to slow down in order to process. This experience of slowing down and speeding up may be one of the ingrained phobias of the human.
Tim Hurst 11/01/17

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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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Can We Mirror Image Ourselves?

We can make a mirror image of what we see and experience.
Can We Mirror Our DNA?
Is it possible to replicate in a mirror image ourselves?

How would we conceive of ourselves?
As DNA strands? As a string of experiences? As a dance, a song?

What is a mirror image?
Is it something that we could visualize, alter and download back into ourselves?

Could we conceive of the intricate network interconnections that make up all that we are?
Could we conceive of the parts separately?

Can a mirror image be done best internally or with the assistance of a digital devise?
Tim Hurst 10/17/17

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What’s Movement to a Dancer?

What appears to be physical changes of position and poses is for the dancer a refining of complex networks of signals connecting, dissolving, and reconnecting throughout all the systems of the person.

These signals travel in curved pathways that have been understood by dancers for centuries and are now studied as Structural Integration. It is the curved pathways of signals that a dancer experiences as continuous movement of sensation, anticipation, initiation, completion, and transition into multiple directions at once.

The dancer’s tools of compression and extension are related to signals that are continuously in motion. What appears as stillness or a pause is actually another state of movement.

An audience can immediately identify the delight of a dancer’s simple movement. For the dancer also the movement is an instantaneous connection of physical, emotional, and intentional signals.

From the viewer’s point of view, the movement looks automatic as if a body memory has taken over. For the dancer, there is a rapid shifting of many kinds of focus. One type of focus is from the micro view to monitor a specific skill and the macro view of the entire person at once. Another type of focus is in the awareness which shifts the view from foreground to background.

Even though it may seem as if some movements are directed and others automatic, for the dancer patterns are variations of experience that work at levels sometimes called heightened awareness and sometimes requiring less attention. Both levels of the patterned skill are interconnecting with each other, the difference is the focus on foreground or background.

The dancer’s view is more of a malleable system that is in continual responsiveness. Automatic movement and muscle memory do not adequately explain their complex process.

For the viewer and often for the choreographer, the pattern is seen as a repetition, a replica of a specific movement. For the dancer, the pattern is also a malleable experience that is varied by the thoughts, emotions, and energy of the moment. This is one of the reasons that no two dance performances are the same.

Another astonishing perspective is the dancer’s ability to alter the experience of any movement with a set of modulators. A physical analogy is a musicians sound board. Any sound can be modulated and blended with dials that give more or less of different qualities.

The dancer modulates not just speed or duration but also the qualities that bring emphasis, heaviness or lightness, subtlety or boldness, to name only a few. Like the musician the outcome is a confluence of emotion and interpretation of melodies, rhythms, and harmonies.

Imagery is a tool to assist the dancer with the complexity of shifts in focus and with interconnecting the centers of movement, emotion, and formation of meaning. Signals are shaped and managed with imagery.

Also the anatomy of the body is managed with imagery. Physically, the dancer is also working with the body as a malleable system. To do this the dancer has developed imagery within a training processes for understanding the body movement.

Imagery is often indicating the direction of energy flows. Using the image of signals different areas of the body can be viewed as signal initiators and receptors. Rather than commanding a body part to move, the signal begins at a location and travels back and forth to other sites in the body. These specific locations are interconnected into networks.

Signals move between different areas of the body are called diaphragms and platforms. They usually cross the entire body and give the perspective of the dancer as moving three dimensionally and in every direction. Each one is a major sending and receiving point for many nerve endings and flows of energy.

The platforms are the arches and surfaces of the feet, the palms of the hands, the collar bone and scapula that suspend the shoulder girdle, the base of the skull, and the Fontanelles or meetings of the cranial bones at the top of the head.

The dancer makes detailed studies of each platform to refine the nerve and energy flows to and from each area. Then they connect their access to each by establishing networks between them.

The diaphragms are muscular and give clues to the dancer’s detailed training of large and small muscle groups. The diaphragms are the pelvic diaphragm also known as the pelvic floor, the lower rib cage diaphragm also known as the respiratory diaphragm, the mid chest diaphragm also known as the dancer’s diaphragm, and the Centrum Brain diaphragm with one known moving part the soft palate.

The diaphragms are the dancer’s keys to lifting up from feet to head, to spreading the body horizontally to engage front and back muscles, to arching and rotating the spine, to connecting the torso and the spine to movement of the legs and articulation of the knees, ankles, arches, and toes of the feet.

What difference does the dancer’s perspective make? Movement is a springing motion rather than a pounding one. A balance of extension and compression takes less effort and training goes past the desire to try too hard. The shifts of focus bring a sense of delight to movement. Every area of the body is accessible and trained as a supportive network.
Tim Hurst 10/09/17