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Dancer Going Deeper

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

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Assessment May2017

I can only guess that all my study and writing is an attempt to summarize my own life process. So I hope I can take a look at my broad picture.

The Physical
“You are leaning to the right.” “You are twisted. Your right hip goes forward and the right side of your ribs protrude outwards.” “Everything at the bottom of your rib cage shifts to the left and your head and shoulders lean to the right.”

The Mental
Some kind of split occurred very early between my right and left side. Everything I do is either all from feeling and reflected from metaphor or I control it with planned thought and force.

The Results
Memory is mostly feeling based. To remember physical patterns or even directions at a stop light, I have to consciously reconstruct a thought process of how I got to my present moment and how to move from there.

Vulnerability is a given. I throw myself into activity with only feeling markers and an acceptance of ambiguity. All research and planning is a separate realm for reference and reflection.

Physical adjustments, therapy, and instruction to remedy my physical splits and torques have proved to be only temporary and do not translate into awareness. Conscious and continuous attention do not hold for long as my feeling state takes over.

My personal attitude bounces from anger and concentrated force to total acceptance and patience. When I take on a new skill, my projected time for learning is years not months.

My Remedy
Music and dance have been my preferred study since they insist that I integrate both feeling and physical states. Through both, I discover how to initiate and follow the process of learning and expressing myself.

Every moment is an experiment to integrate my feeling and metaphorical states with my conscious directed thought and movement processes. I live in an improvisational world. Music and dance improvisation are my play and my study.

Meditation and prayer bring me to a state of hope and anticipation to continue improvisation when planning, control, and force do not work. Since I get lost in feeling states, combining movement and singing with meditation and prayer is a natural process. Luckily many people have explored this realm in spiritual rituals and I have delved into many of them.

My thought processes go immediately to metaphor so poetry and automatic writing have been a tool to explore my states of awareness. I discovered that writing is a way to observe my states of awareness and also to connect with artists engaged in similar exploration. I began to combine automatic writing with observing dance.

My Perspective
Hope is a constant. Everything is in flux and I can make small adjustments and daily routines to manage the flux in ways that are encouraging.

Gratitude and awe are essential to receiving and applying every insight that comes from dancing and singing.

Daily repetition is constant play with the many variations that music and dance offer. My goal is to encourage myself with the curiosity of new approaches each moment.

I take advantage of melodic phrases in dancing and singing to build awareness of the depth of my personal experience.

I observe the variations of each dancer and musician and share my observations to encourage them and to express my appreciation for the insights they bring me.
Tim Hurst 05/26/17