When I move, I can not leave any part of me behind. If I only command my movements, I freeze in tension and I frustrate my desire to coordinate many actions at once. If I move without a command, I experience a free flow of movement yet their is no architecture to build upon and I both limit the range of my motion and I am not able to summarize and repeat the motions or the experience. If I apply sheer will and discipline to perfect patterns of movement, my attention cuts off my emotion and binds my ability to both enter the experience of moving and integrate what I have gained.
What I am left with is self doubt and self criticism as my tools to transform my body and to make a clear summary of my self and my experience in a dance. Dancing like any other repetitive study becomes almost a chore.
I say “almost” because dance by its nature engages the whole body brain, the whole person. We have to work so hard and expend so much effort to resist the dance process that opens all the parts of ourselves.
Whether the dancer tries to ignore emotions or the intricacies of body movement, the result is the same. Something has to give. Some thing has to break, either the body or the psyche, or the access to dance opportunities. The dancer ends up with rehab or the bottom of one addiction or another simply to find a way to include all of themselves in the process of dance.
The dance teacher has one main duty, to encourage the dancer to go deeper. The learning process is the same for meditation, for prayer, for the innovator. Go beyond the frustration, beyond self destructive determination, beyond the excuses of self doubt and impassible roadblocks.
The message is built in, “There is more. Go deeper.” Every person chooses their level. That is the beauty of dance, I can be satisfied with simplicity and allow a statement of myself to emerge. A musician only has to repeat a few notes with a single rough voice quality to be recognizable as a fully engaged person.
I can live in the full experience of my dance at the most simple level. If I am fully engaged I have the ability to notice and access many qualities of movement that carry me to experiences I could not imagine. Like the person in meditation and prayer, the dancer can open to experiences that grow slowly or that quickly shift to more curiosity.
The process of dance training is designed to make this growth with the most ease and with an awareness of a level of confidence within the continual challenges to pay more attention.
PS, I want to move steadily toward more acceptance of myself so I can go deeper.
Tim Hurst 09/09/17