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Experiment Dance Meditation

Continuing experiments with sending and receiving signals, my wish is to prepare my attention for the unexpected and become responsive to the messages of my body, my self.

I practice movement meditations that blend micro movements, spinning, and singing. One element of dance that is consistent to these experiments is curved motion, rising and falling in every movement and movement patterns that involve loops and spirals.

I may follow a sequence but mostly I practice listening to my inner messages and making shifts of direction and using pauses that seem to satisfy the flow of my sensations, emotions, thoughts.

Dance incorporates this kind of responsive meditation at the beginning of each Ballet or Modern class. These beginning sequences are often called Barre whether standing or laying.

A dance approach to meditation is different. For me it is important to understand what is involved in meditation and how it can help me to be more receptive to internal and external signals.

Dance has inspired and absorbed the wisdom of many traditions, one is meditation. Meditation is an attempt to be completely receptive, attentive to internal sensations, feelings, and thoughts. The process is to allow all these inner experiences to flow through the self awareness without interruption. By following this process, the hope is to train ourselves to an agility in our thoughts, emotions, and eventually our actions. The results can be peaceful or can be a flood of unattended emotions and fears that must be allowed to work their way through our self awareness.

Meditation is a ritual to follow and has been associated with holding ourselves in stillness and sometimes in a variety of positions as in Yoga.

Dance has also inspired and absorbed the wisdom of interactive prayer. Interactive prayer is the sending and receiving of messages that are designed to open the doorways to the person. Messages sent vary from gratitude to asking for openness. Messages received also vary from a kind of spacious anticipation to specific insights or even visions.

Interactive prayer is also a ritual that has been associated with both stillness, with singing, and with movement. Examples of singing range from communal singing to ritual chants. Examples of movement are monks walking a labyrinth and Sufi spinning dances.

Dance training mirrors this process as each dancer develops a receptivity to their internal messages, asks for an attitude of curiosity for the next moment, responds with melodic sequences that reflect their discoveries, and then hold a moment of silence to allow their whole self to integrate these experiences.
Tim Hurst. 04/05/17. D

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What is Human Power

Accessing Human Power
How much power does a human have? The basic question is how much access does the person as an individual and as a group have to human power?

Let’s look at an abbreviated inventory of the power of the human:
Synthesizes light and air into nutrients.
Assimilates and adapts to natural and synthetic nutrients.
Assimilates data and perspectives in the presence of nature and other people.
Cycles and recycles through challenge and self encouragement.
Has an intricate system of monitoring, adaptation, and defense for harmful substances and chemical imbalances.
Forms and reforms self healing adaptations to rejuvenate the entire human system.
Filters all circumstantial changes through a network of what we divide into physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual processes.
Activates a sensual network from smallest particle to intricate interconnections throughout the entire person.
This sensual network activates warning systems that translate signals through a wide range of messaging options. The easiest message to interact with is pain. Prior to pain are more subtle messages that have their own networks for attuning human perception to sensations, calibrations (of chemical and electrical status, of balance, agility and spacial placement), initiation and momentum, anticipation and hope, balance points of synthesis internally and externally, and the translation of each attunement into visions, verbal cues, and interactive conversation.
Actively modulates along many spectrums gauged by the contexts of vulnerability and certainty.
Negotiates with the internal and external push and pull of self interest and group survival.
Encapsulates large amounts of data into concise formative projections and artistic renderings.
This list of human power is filled to infinity with the individual and group experiences of all humanity past and present.

The practice of accessing all these powers began with the earliest humans and are preserved in the study of dance, music, and interactive prayer. The source of human power is life itself.

The process of accessing all the power available rests on the willingness of the human to enter the power of life. Entering life requires both vulnerability and certainty, qualities that humans constantly stumble over. Our entire systems prefer to operate on a narrow range of options that are controllable and predictable.

Dance, music, and interactive prayer open areas of experience that point to the variability of life. They codify ways to approach the building blocks of life so we can begin to digest principles and points of view beyond our imaginations, beyond our thought processes.

Just a simple example of the variability these forms bring into our experience. One of the elements of life we can see is the wave form that is continually varying along many spectrums. Each form, dance, music, and interactive prayer, bring an intimate experience of the wave form into every system of the human. The entry brings instant access to powers of life that are automatically given to the human.

The purpose of human life is to activate those powers by discovering access points and the courage to enter and experience the powers on deeper and deeper levels.
Tim Hurst 03/25/17

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Dance Experiment Yes

Yesterday I tried to describe a daily dance experiment. It became a boring play by play of another exercise system with a now I do this and then this. Unpublished that and spent a day writing about the brightness that is dance to me, to my teachers,and to choreographers and performers that explore the depths of dance every day.

My passion is to share this process of delight and diligence that as dancers we enter every minute of our lives. My 15 year old grandson describes me with the word exuberance that he defines as “overly excited to the point of being obnoxious.” And I have to admit I have been that exuberant when I want every party to be Ballywood with every one dancing and singing. Or when someone says, “I can’t dance,” and my energy fires up. Or when a choreographer has only a small audience to join their performance of excellence and new discoveries about the human spirit.

My search is for a common denominator that we all obviously share when it comes to dance and music. I will walk into any storm to support every person with an inclination to dance. At this moment I am looking at all the storms I have come through. What I see are layers upon layers of interconnected experiences that are obvious and fully described in the art, the lives and in the words of dancers.

Yet to clarify the processes and principles we express, my words turn to mush and I tear my hair at our denial of the massive influence dance has on our lives both as participants and beneficiaries.

The beauty of dance is that each individual samples its juicy delights and digests it in different ways. The nurture of those dance morsels emerges as a person who is more curious, more aware, more tuned to delight and despair. This nurture is available for the dancer and for those who join with the dancer on their explorations.

This is my search, for a place we can all enter this nurturing world of dance. In my life, I follow the trails to dancers who know this delight and who enter it fully. I find this ability to enter dance in the five year old as well as in the professional, in the social dancer as well as the brilliantly dedicated pointe dancer.

Within my search, the questions and the lists read like a composite of restaurant menus from all over the world and from the camp fires of our earliest ancestors. My main focus is, how do we enter what we know as dance, instant connection of everything we are, instant fun, a second wind insisting we dance forever.

As with any endeavor, the range defines the degrees of entry. The range is from a process and a procedure to the individual experience of the process. We sometimes think of dance as learning a form like Ballet or HipHop or Salsa. Yet when we taste the delights of the actual experience, we only want more.

Entry at this point is when the experience shapes the structure of the dance. In other words, the dance becomes yours. You shape the dance to be you rather than the steps and techniques being the only goal.

Dance is unique. The entry point is instantaneous. The first steps of a child instantly turn to dance with music. The beginner learning the waltz can feel the dance within them even if the body is trying to catch up.

The uniqueness of dance is a lifetime study. A particularly interesting point of entry is the activating of the personal monitor. It has something to do with the play between awareness and a generalized sense of everything working together. Dancers confront their internal emotions and traumas as well as their external interactions.

The monitoring is subtle signals or messages or conversations between the person and every part of their life. Dancers often describe their experience as spiritual or as meditative. I suspect that the reason is this aspect of monitoring that is a personal connection with insights, anticipations, and moments of creating new cells and new points of view.

Dance and music ride the line between the known and the unknown similar to religious ritual and meditation. Structure and form are there to develop processes like personal monitoring to navigate these sometimes challenging seas of uncertainty and vulnerability.

As I describe my exploration and experiments, my intent is not to create a structure or a way to dance. My hope is to find an entry way to making the kinds of connections that dancers and dance teachers make every day.

Will these entry points give you more access to yourself and to dancing? Will they give choreographers and teachers clearer ways to state the importance of their explorations? Will more audiences join choreographers to explore new discoveries of themselves? Again, my hope is to give insights for each individual to find the brightness within themselves where dance resides.

All along the way I could say, build your connections, “Do not do as I do.” As a consummate beginner of dance, I am the perfect person to delve into these murky waters that seem so confusing to explain. It takes me years to absorb a structure, relearning each time I return. Learning patterns requires sometimes hours of improvisation and play with the different pieces of a movement. My system sometimes overloads and freezes my ability to move. One of my Pilates teachers says, “You think too much.” My Floor-BarreTM instructor says I need more fluidity as I am learning the movements.

So my qualifications in doing this study are not what I do or can do, they are my passion to find the entry points that bring delight to every movement.
Tim Hurst. 03.12.17

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Stillness in Workouts

Stillness for the dancer is very different and gives insight into how we train our bodies. The information going through a dancer’s mind and body is vast. Stillness becomes an active inner sensation perceiving every part of the body continuing to move. This active sensation of stillness has dimension and can expand or contract energy beyond the body.

In everyday terms we think of stillness as inactive. For the dancer stillness is a musical term that gives active space and rhythm to a melodic flow of energy.

Stillness is a part of ballet training when the dancer seems to pause after a melodic phrase. This moment is filled with so much information for the dancer and for the audience who understand the importance of stillness.

Stillness at these completion points holds many images and they are understood in different ways by each dancer. Like the child spinning until falling, the dancer allows the motion in the body to equalize and return to a balanced state. This experience is one of gathering energy. The entire person is flooded with a kind of integration of everything that has happened and what that means to the rhythms of the breath, the senses, the emotions, and the understanding of the self.

For the dancer who is prepared to receive this much information, the stillness moment is a celebration of arriving with all the clarity of each success and also each wavering variation that may be seen as error.

For those of us simply basking in the joys of ballet, stillness comes to mean a basic jiggling of our energy back into place. The teacher asks us to hold the moment after a simple phrase. That is our time to breath and to integrate the connections we are making throughout our entire body brain networks.

For other dancers and other workouts, stillness plays an important role. After a workout, rather than hanging our heads and feeling overwhelmed, we can supercharge the end of the workout, or a rotation, or a distance run.

The principles are simple. When able, stand solidly on both feet. Enjoy the energy flowing through the entire body. Stand tall. Eyes are open. Accept the exhilaration of thoughts and hopes filled with so much energy. Appreciate the fullness of breath and the release of everything you are in this moment. These moments calibrate and integrate every experience in your workout, your creation of the day.

For the aging heart, these principles begin with the wisdom of the race horse trainer who takes a cool down walk after an intense sprint. Moving slowly in place or in a circle allows the heart to equalize. Eyes up when possible is a welcoming of breath through the entire body. Then take your moment of stillness.

The experience of this moment is worth a thousand meditations attempting to arrive at a balanced state. And yet there is a final closing step that we can learn from meditations. That is thanking ourselves. Yes for this little part of our workout, for this moment in our day, the greatest arrival is gratitude.

We forget that when we came to workout or to dance, our goal was to benefit ourselves. We did not exert ourselves so we could prove that injury is worth the effort. We came to benefit ourselves.

So the simple conclusion of every movement phrase is a quiet, “thank you!” The other messages might be “yes!” or “not quite there,” but the momentary conclusion is one of complete arrival at integration, “Thank You!”