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

Enter Dance Delight

Enter Dance Delight
Entering dance is entering delight. Dance is a way to engage my whole self, a way to focus all my attention on a full range of experience.

Dance has many forms that use basic principles. Ballet is the science that has organized dance principles into a progressive system of learning. The power of Ballet as a science has been its ability to add to and influence discoveries in other disciplines. Using the term dance applies to all dance forms and refers to the codification of movement by Ballet.

To fully engage, dance begins with simple movements using an image that guides the building of networks that interconnect the entire person.

Similar to the tradition of Tai Chi, dance imagery is the falling and rising of the body as one unit. This simple image will be applied to every area of the body and to every system from emotional to cognitive.

Also like Tai Chi, dance begins with slow movement allowing time and space for the body brain to record the movement and distinguish it from other movements.

When I lose the sense of delight in dancing, I simply return to the falling and rising. In Ballet it is the plie. In Tai Chi it is the basic lowering of the entire body by bending the knees and lowering the arms from an outstretched position.

In both Ballet and Tai Chi, this is a basic movement that prepares for many other movements from stepping to leaping. The slow connected movement is the gathering of power and the integrating of position in space.

Enter Dance Hope
Dance is the process of anticipating more life revealed in the connection of movement. The experience of anticipation is a recognition of the process of creation and growth in our cells. The cells divide as a creation of more life. Neurons interconnect by the creative process of sending and receiving signals.

Hope is the process of anticipation, response, and integration that brings us to an active curiosity.

Anticipation prepares to recognize the surprises and the shifting of these different networks.

Enter Dance Networks
Dance is a way of training our focus to manage creative connections between our different networks. One network related to focus is the specific goal oriented focus that can identify specific actions and proactively adjust them. Another network is the broad spectrum focus that oversees full person acting at once.

Another pair of networks are the directive and the collaborative. The first is specific and directional while the last is reflective and integrative.

Enter Dance Image
The image simplifies all the complex work of the body brain and empowers the person to wield an instantly changing focus.

One key image is energy. Energy in dance, as in sound and light, can be varied to many levels of force, speed, intensity, and quality.

The dancer uses imagery to shape energy that goes beyond their limitations physically, emotionally and mentally. The interaction and interconnection of energy is studied both within the individual and between members of a group.

Dance is a way to build the curiosity of anticipation and the images as tools that can apply to the uniqueness of the individual and the unity of a group.

Enter Dance Complexity
Dance is a process of beginning with simple movements, adding variations that are easily distinguished, and integrating the movements so they can be combined in multiple ways.

The unique realm of dance is to distinguish the connections within each different network encompassing the entire person. This process recognizes not only skill development and structures of mathematical, geometric, and motor calculations. Training distinguishes experiences of intention, malleability, and states of network collaboration. Building the care for the self as an interactive part of life is at the center of all learning.

Enter Dance Power
Dance is an experience of power from many different perspectives. Clarifying signals through all the types of entry mentioned, the dancer creates a moment by moment portrait of their experience in the form of dance. This portrait is changeable with the wide range of qualities and states of experience. Claiming and building this dance of the self represents a long journey of entering dance.

The source of power is the interactive nature of our systems that receive and send signals allowing the person to evaluate their location in space, the intensity of force they are applying, and their relationship to emotion and intention.

Two other aspects of power are important. One is the openness to surprises that may exceed any expectation. The other is the willingness to ask for help and to experiment with the help given.

Asking for help may be a personal action of specifically asking within the self for the attention and courage to recognize the help that is offered and for the vulnerability to fully receive it.
Tim Hurst 03/24/18

Posted on

Sustenance in Melody

Singing today I fell in love with the overtones that connect a musical melody into a whole.

Since the qualities of dance and music is so close, I wonder what the connecting elements are for dance in a movement melody.

With musical overtones, the resonance of one tone fills the spaces of one note to the other. Their is a continual flowing movement no matter what rhythmic spaces occur for emphasis and anticipation.

Dancers also know how to fill a movement with different levels and qualities of resonance. Each movement, each part of the interconnected body, each cell and organ, fills with a resonant energy that continues like music through any rhythmic space into a melodic phrase.

Yet there is something more basic below the energy. That is the movement of the curve that dancers understand as connecting any transition from one movement to the next. The curve can be a loop that can double back into what seems like a line. The curve can be a continuous spiral that intertwines with other spirals from many areas of the body, the emotions, and the intentions of the person.

The basis is of course the wave that makes up sound and light. The wave like the dancer extends to a peak and rides the curve into a rejuvenating exhale before receiving another inhale at the lowest point to rise again.

Each point along the way connects in millions of ways with the next points changing direction into a fresh movement. The dancer studies the wave form as the sustenance between each movement and the sustainer of the melody creating an imprint of the individual and the group of dancers.
Tim Hurst 02/06/18

Posted on

Dance Trains the Spine

Dance trains each area of the spine to command horizontal and vertical signals. Two principles seem to be that each section of vertebra engage the nearest part of the body, and that each section networks with other parts of the spine to interconnect the entire body.

My search is for a simple way to engage myself in movement physically, emotionally, and intentionally. The building blocks to simplicity seems to be signals originating at the spine.

With one simple image of a signal connecting an entire area of the body, I can bypass all my thinking about which muscles need to move and which muscles are restricting movement.

Rather than two separate intentions of sending signals and receiving feedback, the spine becomes the instantaneous sender and receiver of information.

Dancers learn this simplicity in the process of a detailed study of movement engaging the entire body at once. I had to go through the back door to understand this simplicity that becomes apparent to the serious dancer.

A common dance image is to send energy from the feet up through the body and out the top of the head. This is one signal. The signal can be varied to activate each area of the body as it rises. The signal can even go beyond the feet to ground the body or beyond the head to extend the sense of lengthening the muscles.

My clue for understanding horizontal signals was the ease of raising the arms in Ballet. The dancer describes the signal coming from the spine between the shoulder blades, traveling under and around the arms, lifting the forearms, and continuing through the fingers of each hand. As the fingers of each hand approach each other, the signals continue making an energetic connection between each finger. A spreading movement of the arms emphasizes the returning signal to the spine.

The signals in each area of the spine travel to every edge of the body, front, back, and side. I loosely refer to these areas as diaphragms because they are interconnected tissue of all kinds muscular, neurological, vascular, Limbic, and glandular.

This is only the beginning of training this area of the spine that I refer to as the dancer’s diaphragm. Signals are varied to spread and raise the arms while maintaining this energetic circle within the arms. The signals are clearly only for the arms allowing the shoulders and neck to be supportive but not fully engaged.

The training extends the range of the spinal area with slight twists, and the rolling of each vertebra forward and back. Engaging these muscles around each vertebra requires specific training to bend and slide horizontally in each direction.

Using these upper vertebra as an example, the next step of learning is to network the signals from this area with other areas of the spine. Networking signals means that the vertebral areas are interconnected through both sending and receiving signals.

The breathing diaphragm, attaching at the lower vertebra of the rib cage, networks signals to the dancer’s diaphragm. The signals are spreading,suspending, and releasing that correspond to breathing.

Receiving signals from the breathing diaphragm, the dancer’s diaphragm opens the upper chest and the back to allow breath into the upper lungs. The arms in any position receive sensations of these spreading and suspending signals.

Signals to the dancer’s diaphragm also network to the pelvic diaphragm. The pelvic diaphragm engages the lower vertebra connecting the support from the inner legs, ankles, and feet. Lifting the pelvic diaphragm also sends signals to the erector muscles along the spine that contribute to the sensation of lifting and spreading throughout the entire back as well as the chest and neck areas.

The lowering and spreading of the pelvic diaphragm also sends releasing signals to the breathing and the dancer’s diaphragms to support the sensations of suspension and continuous lowering.

The value of networking is so all these interconnections can happen at once with the least amount of directed commands. The access to each vertebral,area gives the opportunity to monitor and respond specifically to the areas that need adjustment or support.
See also Spinal Imagery
Tim Hurst 01/23/18