I stand in the presence of dancers in awe of the worlds that they experience every day. Not that dancers are different from anyone else. It just the level and quality of their experience touches me.
In my rough understanding of mathematics, there is this elegance of binary shifts that balances everything. Dance is not only shifts in the intricacies of physical experience but also shifting between different levels of focus and an agility to move between different dimensions.
My search then is to experience all those different kinds of shifts. I choose Ballet as a starting point because of its completeness as a discipline and because I come as a relatively fresh beginner. My love of metaphor gives me a perspective on the detailed use of imagery in Ballet. Flights of fantasy I try to reserve for my poetry yet I will push the patience of the experienced dancer. In any case, I hope my experiments raise questions and maybe even alternate responses from dancers both beginners and professionals.
My belief is that dance instruction challenges each dancer to build a composite of imagery that fits their body and their personal learning style. I explore what that composite is for me.
What drives me to experiment, even as I venture into many ambiguous areas, is the delight and exuberance I see in dancers from the toddler to the professional. I see a brightness that inevitably gives their bodies a sense of springing. I see an agility to change directions physically as well as in thought and emotion. I see their bodies as an integrated network, connecting and reconnecting every moment. I see the inner workings of curiosity based on anticipation, experimentation, and surprise. And most of all I see the formation of a growing self with a new hypothesis every moment.
Needless to say, I am inspired by dance and by dancers.
I can not leave out what is most important. When I watch dancers preparing for a class or a performance, I see the attention of a dedicated yogi. The dancers meditative focus is light and malleable while attending to the detail of how their body is working that day. It seems that within every part of dance training there is built in injury prevention.
I want to experience that agility to direct my body while listening to every nuance of sensation and information from every part of myself.
Tim Hurst 07/13/17
A current summary of my goals for daily experiments.
I experience dancers as models of agility who experiment daily with a range of variations for specific results in skill, attention, focus, and exuberance for learning.
I want to experience how the dancer can access every part of the body brain.
I want to experience the dancer’s curiosity and surprise with each set of variations.
I want to discover how dancer’s build signal networks throughout the body.
I want to experience signals as instantaneous connections that build networks throughout my body.
I want the agility to vary the qualities of signals as bundles of physicality, emotion, sensation, perception, and rejuvenation.
I want the agility to alternate my focus between a micro and a macro view within every system of myself.
Likewise I want the agility to direct my self formation and also to release my attention to interconnections too complex for the body brain to conceptualize.
I want to experience continuous movement as forming myself in relation to other life.
I want the agility to apply imagery as a way to shape the forming of myself.
I want to experience my movement as melody and rhythm to build ongoing synopsis and markers of my growth.
Tim Hurst 07/31/17
Had two Pilates sessions to introduce my grandson to an intense workout. This was a perfect chance to test out my experience of the pelvic floor for three dimensional responsiveness through the body.
So far I am playing with the pelvic diaphragm for vertical lift sending signals to both the lower limbs and the upper torso. Horizontal wave motions regulate the position and signals to and from the hips,
First exercise of pushing out with the legs, Karin Carlson helped me identify my overuse of the thighs and need to connect the back of my legs and gluts. By alternating between horizontal and vertical lift motions of the pelvic floor I was able to immediately change my orientation. Signals moved easily through the front and back of my legs. My thighs were supported and I was able to continue to push against a heavier weight than ever before.
I continued to use this experience as I explored extensions. Balancing countering actions with each leg meant sending signals down each leg. Finding the passage points on the pelvic floor came quickly and made it easier to equalize a shorter leg and keep both hips engaged and aligned.
In the second session, I asked about the tension behind my knees. Karin suggested that I pull up from the knee caps to engage my entire thighs front and back. After feeling the sensation, I applied outward compression to both hips engaging the thighs and simultaneous lifting of the pelvic floor.
I had access to more movement in the back of my legs. Sending signals through the entire knee area gave me the extra freedom to release into more of an extension. Long way to go and lots of Ballet classes before all will be functional.
Coordination of the legs brought new sensations in muscles I had not experienced before. New cooperation had to be worked out. Stretching also felt different.
Tim Hurst. 05/14/17
My experience of the pelvis floor today is a feeling of integration. I am aware of the full surface going all the way through my body from edge to edge. A sensation of wideness is unusual.
Signals are easier to pass from different areas of a wider surface to connect with legs and feet as well as sending lifting signals through my torso and head.
My practice is to slowly lift and lower the pelvic diaphragm sending signals up through the top of my head. Figure eight wave motions across the width of the diaphragm connect with the lumbar spine and send signals through the legs to the ankles and arches of the feet. Tilting the entire diaphragm makes subtle adjustments to the pelvis.
The results are a full body network centered in one location. Adjustments are small that are not related to commands to move body parts. For example, no longer needed are the conscious physical requirements to separate the top of the legs from the pelvis or squeezing of the buttocks to engage the inner thighs.
Laying on my back, I can roll on my pelvis and use Skinner Technique movement of the legs to clarify signals coming from the pelvic floor and the lower lumbar spine muscles.
Tim Hurst. 05/12/17