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Dancing Beyond Experiment

My study is to dance beyond what i know by preparing for the surprises in the movement of my physical body, my intention, emotion, and sensation. I work with energy as the basis for building signal networks in all these forms of movement.

I do this by working directly with the shift of focus between making specific connections to build signal networks and a focus on all energy connections happening at once.

Concentrating on the brain body ability to make distinctions between two connections, I concentrate on finding the simplest connections and vary the connections in one way to find new connections.

Dance is the perfect model for me to follow this process of simplicity growing into complexity by adding variation.

The principles of dance are directed toward this study of focus. The binary approach takes two realms of study and compares them. I am specifically interested in the variations between more and less force, circular and spiraled movement, extension and elevation of movement, directed action and imagery for moving energy.

My study is centered around my weaknesses of trying to force my movement and direct every action and my resistance to patterned and structured movement that seems to emphasize those weaknesses.

My process is derived from Ballet and Modern Dance and informed by study of many forms of technique, therapy, and improvisational dance.

Every day I set out with the goal to renew connections of energy and to discover new connections.

I lay on the floor and I stand. I move my entire body with each movement establishing support networks to move in every direction, with different levels of speed, intensity, and dynamic quality.

I use simple movements initiating from spine signals that go outward and inward.
i vary the directions of signals to go in the same and opposite directions.
I vary the movements from vertical with the spine to horizontal crossing the spine.

I establish a central image of spreading and elevating by following the action of my diaphragm expanding for inhaling and rising for the exhale. Then I transfer this image by pairing the breathing diaphragm with other diaphragms and platforms throughout my body.

I use spiral imagery of the double helix to enhance changing focus within continual movement and intimate relationships between different networks.

I check myself to make sure movement is a process of entering delight. If I am struggling and feeling strain, I simplify the connections and experiment with changes in the size and speed of my movements.
Tim Hurst 03/23/18

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Dancing Beyond

Dancing Beyond 032318 Tim Hurst

My experience of dancers and dancing is entering delight. Delight is the curiosity and anticipation of connecting everything that I know of myself and a willingness to prepare for any surprises I have never known before.

Movement is the agility of transforming energy much like cells dividing to create more life. The characteristics and qualities of movement are much like the sound wave and the light wave that is in perpetual variation and combination of color and intensity.

My shaping of energy is entering this realm of creation and recreation. My experience is agility of connecting and reconnecting energy.

Agility is the readiness, the awareness, and the willingness to move within all the types of energy that I represent as my self.

Agility is my movement as a person. My experience is like balance of human erectness that goes beyond the wobble, like breathing that goes beyond the actions of inhaling and exhaling, the emotion that goes beyond self control, the initiation of thought that goes beyond the physical circumstances.

What emerges is intimate relationship with every form of energy inside and outside myself. My experience is like an image of the spiral, the double helix of DNA strands. Every movement is a relationship that fosters connection of energy.

The character of movement is life giving and life receiving, energy expended and rejuvenated, energy spreading and rising into the new life of the spiral.

The study I seek is to enter this realm of life that is perpetually interactive within the experience of intimacy that is given and received. Within this realm, there are all the continuums of more and less, all the spectrums of light and sound.

Entering this realm is facing the changes from certainty to uncertainty, boldness to subtlety, confidence to vulnerability, The basis is reaching into the unfamiliar while embracing the familiarity of the self.

Simply, we act and we reflect. We gather and we sort. We shape a self that reflects as concise imagery and physical movement.

Where I find this study is in three disciplines that have grown from the same source, music, dance, and religion.

Each of these disciplines deal with the agility to interconnect every form of energy. They choose as their focus the shifting point between the goal and the image beyond the goal.

This shift of focus between self energy and other energy is the basis of their study that is skillful yet goes beyond any expectation.

The demands of each discipline is rigorous because the human system wants certainty, stability, and predictability. For this reason, today’s culture attempts to both stand in awe of dance, music, and religion while at the same time explaining them away as minor realms of study.
TIm Hurst 03/23/18

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Ballet as Simple

The more stressed I become with running a business and worrying about money,the more I search for ways to release the stress in my body. It has taken many years to understand the instant relief that dance gives me.

Trying many forms of dance I decided that my body was not going to do what I asked it to do. So I became an improvisational dancer. I learned about the qualities of movement without worrying about precision.

Searching for more control of my body, I studied Pilates as a form of exercise based on Ballet and Modern Dance. I discovered that I do not have the concentration or the memory structure to make ten commands at once to make my body move correctly. Something was not connecting.

Then I discovered that Ballet simplified commands for my whole body into a network of movements. The very beginning movement, the plié, seems like simple movements of bending the legs, lowering the body, and lifting the arms. When I discovered the basis of this simple, whole body movement, I knew this was the clarity of learning I was looking for.

Pilates identified one principle of Ballet that looked hopeful. They call it the Core, meaning the musculature, nerves, blood flow, around the skeletal center of the body, the spine. Pilates strengthens and stretches the muscles around the spine using an exercise model.

When I began to take Ballet, the Core became related to movement of my whole body with simple commands. Those commands were signals originating at the spine. This sounds a little detailed but I had to have a way to connect my movements that seemed to ignore my commands.

The more I studied the simplest Ballet movements I realized three things. Ballet teaches movements as signals that start at different areas of the spine. A network of signals can move my whole body with one command. And third, when several networked movements are bundled as a phrase, I learn how the effort of one movement supports the next movement.

So my study of Ballet is to train my spine to send and receive signals that guide my body movements. This seems to work because my muscles surprise me by releasing to let the signals pass through.

An added benefit is that watching other dancers learn, I am able to identify the networks that should be connecting for me. For me to get to the networks, I have to go into much more detail than the average person. This drives my Pilates teachers crazy with so many questions and requests to understand what connects to what. Ballet teachers move us through the phrases and ask us to experiment with balance and different speeds to get the connections between movements and to build networks of signals.
Tim Hurst 02/07/18

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Dancing the Self

One of the opportunities of dance is to let all of myself come through my movement. Letting all of myself show seems a bit out of control and the surprise of an unknown part of myself showing up can be a problem.

Because of difficulty learning patterns and having to relearn them every day, I developed several approaches that put me right at the center of my fears and my surprise. Every pattern had to be improvised and shifted from different directions, moods, and intensities. Nothing seemed to store in a concrete way so my memory had to be more like a poem of images than a set of lines with precise positions and angles.

This was especially interesting when performing memorized music or ballroom dance with a partner. I would basically enter a feeling state that included a series of experiences. Inevitably I would enter a blank space and have to improvise my way back into the series. Remembering lines in plays was the same issue.

My approach was to study movement exercises for theater and Modern Dance to get an idea of pattern while finding different dimensions of emotion and intensity. I gradually studied more and more improvisational dance forms with open possibilities for creating surprising patterns. I created performances that were so internal that I would begin with only an image and allow my movement to flow.

The results were that I would indeed find surprise that might be a blockage in myself that froze my thoughts and movements or I would create such a vulnerable place in myself that I was dancing my fear rather than allowing my self to come through.

Watching dancers has been my life and standing outside of the world of patterns has been interesting. I watch for how the person comes through the pattern and how alive that makes the pattern. From this perspective I naturally gravitate to dance that has a range of emotions and intensities. If the patterns of a dance do not shift from delight to seriousness, then I look for the individual dancer who allows themselves to experience a variety of intensities.

So my recurring question is how the dancer who experiences a full range of emotion and intensities relates to the patterns of the dance. Since dance is an interactive form, an even more involving question is how their individual experience connects with their fellow dancers and to the audience participants in their dance.

In my search I have discovered how movement patterns and the dance class methodically take a dancer into the realms of making these shifts of experience. Because dance engages every part of the person, each dancer recognizes the unending number of connections in different ways and at different stages of their learning.

So my process of watching dance is to experience each dancer as a unique composite of experience. This is a special delight since I can experience the baby, the child dancer, the professional or the beginner adult of all ages.

Then I have taken those questions to ask how I, a relative outsider in the realm of pattern, can enter the dancer’s experience of shifting perspectives and qualities of movement, emotion, thought, and even interaction with others.

With my round about ways of learning dance, I began to ask how I could really enter the experience of dance as a way of varying not just the emotion and intensity but also the pattern.

Having studied in depth several approaches to dance improvisation, movement meditation, singing, and theater, I came to the science of dance as we know it, Ballet. Taking ballet for the first time at mid-life was a rush of energy I had not felt. Maybe all those years of watching added up to give me a rudimentary structure to build on.

All this clarity of energy made my blocks even clearer. No area of my body would respond to a command and there were so many commands at once. Pull this, lower this, send energy here then there. I had to take one command to one body area at a time. That meant private class which limited my experience of learning with other dancers.

I enrolled in Pilates, in Balance Class, in combinations of Modern Dance and yoga, and finally in Floor-Barre directly related to Ballet movement. I was still caught in the command issue of trying to move this, hold that, and somehow hold it there. Obviously I still had no storage for the pattern necessary to put all this together.

So I started improvising Ballet movement and trying to find a way to simplify the commands in a way I could learn the movement. My desire is more than that. I want to experience what the dancer experiences when that one dancer enters the whole person that can shift from delight to seriousness, from laughter to reflection, from pattern to emotion in all its intensities.

To remember and to clarify all my rambling experiments, I have written this blog. Those who can wander with me are welcome.
Tim Hurst 01/22/18

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Dance as Network Model

Dance as a form of movement and training is a model, a template that networks the entire body.

The model has two basic operations. One is to switch focus from the micro view to the macro view of the entire person as a series of connected networks. Another is to manage the continuous networking of signals within the human system as both directed and surrendered through awareness of both processes.

To assist these operations dance uses two types of imagery. One is the categorization of signals that manage both the directed and the surrendered networks. Another is a master image that signals can pass through to network the entire body brain and to make detailed adjustments to specific micro areas.

To simplify the networks, dance offers an understanding of the sections of the body that can be networked together by signals passing through a master image. These body sections are called diaphragms or platforms. Each section has a purpose as a connector with its paired diaphragm and as a part of the entire body brain network.

It is my belief that dance is the repository of all this information due to the evolutionary growth of the human. Dance as a networking form grew from the earliest humans, from their imitation and communication with other life forms and from their insistence on communication within the unknowns of spiritual experience. I would conjecture that this is the reason dance has been able to contribute to and absorb the discoveries of every movement form including athleticism, martial arts, and religious ritual. I also believe this is the basis for the power of dance along with music to symbolize the experience of entire cultures and entire epochs of human history.

This is also the reason why dance as a form is offering so many innovations in the understanding and managing of disease and rehabilitation.
Tim Hurst 08/24/17

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Signal Inventories

What are signals to me today?
My Basics
System One
I experience everything rising and falling, everything turning, everything stacking top down and bottom up.
System Two
I experience specific signals initiating from my spine, radiating instantly through my pelvis, head, and my limbs.

My Access
I choose today which signals are easily accessible and which ones are nudging me to explore.
I choose how much awareness I can personally accept given my state of mind, body, emotion, and spiritual appetite.
I test my readiness to access every part of myself by observing both slow and faster motion.
I experience my willingness to see and feel and calibrate every motion.
I recognize my sending and receiving of connected signals as my song, my story, my dance for today.

My Challenges
How far can I take my signals today?
Am I willing to spend the time today to follow the signal and repair what I might strain?
Am I willing to drop physical and mental habits that limit my exploration of signals?
Am I willing to deal with a level of disorientation as my discoveries of clear signals conflict with established patterns of thought and body?
Am I willing to observe and respond to my building and rebuilding of my self?
Am I willing to enter states of vulnerability and certainty where my unknowns and errors are as important as what I know as my current level of skill and experience?
Tim Hurst. 03.13.17

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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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A Dynamic Vision of Dance

Welcome to a Dynamic Vision of Dance

Dance and music are time capsules from the first humans. These capsules are unique and go beyond our imaginations to explain. Artists say do not explain us because everything is said in our art. Educators or at least politicians say music and dance are extra curricular activities for people who want to become artists.

A Dynamic Vision of Dance is my experiment to find the simplicity of a dance process and a common thread of vocabulary that helps to understand how our dance capsules affect everything in our lives.

The benefits of music and dance are obvious. An ice skater who is a dancer is immediately recognizable. The crowd applauds loudly. On the other hand, it is more difficult to distinguish the influence of dance in a gymnast whose leap suspends her abouve the beam before making an elegant landing.

We experience the fun of dance and music. We become proficient, even exceptional. We connect the power of our capsules to everything from religion to addiction. We label them either brain food or exercise.

We feel the power of our music and dance time capsules or we deny they ever existed. The problem is the contents of these capsules are hard to describe.

We can say our capsules work powerfully. Music and dance can symbolize an entire generation or the innovation of an individual. Yet we are adrift when trying to explain the scope of dance alone with its power to blend emotion and movement, to influence learning, athletic skill, injury and disease prevention, and a full range of personal and body therapies.

In actuality dancers and musicians know the experiences in their time capsules. As teachers and choreographers they share the content of their capsules every day. Dancers know their experience in all its simplicity and complexity. They teach it. They perform it. Even with so much clarity and the ability to capsulize a personal vision and a vision of an entire generation, the benefits of music and dance are explained away as a mystery.
Tim Hurst. 02.03.17

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Dancer Cares for Energy

I Dance every cell of me
Every cell of me has its own group
Every cell group follows a pathway through me

Every pathway has a purpose within me
Every purpose follows my journey to form and reform all of me

My cell groups are simple
Some gather Energy
Some store Energy
Some launch and dock Energy
Some track and respond to disruption of Energy
Some honor and absorb Energy

I Dance to care for Energy.
Care shapes and reshapes my pathways for Energy
Care is a full spectrum of curiosity
from smallest to largest and shortest to longest
Care embraces all cell groups as a part of my journey
Care invites all cell groups to become one Image
Care grows one Image into many families of Images
I Dance to care for Energy.

Grasping the concept of caring for Energy within Cell groups can be seen visibly as waves in the sea.

Waves spread across an expanse and gather Energy
Waves gather Energy as they lower and as they rise
Waves shape Energy as ripples, as choppy peaks, as lapping and curling masses
Waves roar and whimper as they meet other Energy from the air and the earth.

I Dance as a wave of the sea
I spread Energy across the expanse of me
I gather Energy as I lower and as I rise
I shape Energy inside me and around me
I merge with other waves as we shape our journeys
I roar and I whimper as I meet all other Energy of air and person and earth.

I Dance to Care for
Energy within me,
Energy from me
Energy I meet
Energy I merge
Energy I absorb.

I Dance to Care for
the shaping of me
the joining of me
the growing of me in all my meetings.
Tim Hurst 01/28/19 6:44 am

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My Dance My Moves

Every year Ginger and I dance at a party for a Dance Retailers gathering. And every year I get the same comments. “I love all your moves.” “You have got the moves.” “I love watching you and Ginger dance because you make it all look so easy.”

What are all these people seeing? It is not expertise because we are improvising and mixing every possible sequence we have ever experienced from many forms of dance. And it is not perfection of any style that would be called good.

My favorite response to our dancing is when we are the first couple on the dance floor. Finally we have the courage to do that…sometimes. Another couple look at each other and one spouse says, “We can do that.” There are immediately three couples on the floor.

So what are they seeing in us? First we are just ourselves and we are letting that be seen. Second, we have spent lots of time learning to love every movement we make. Being satisfied no matter how subtle or bold goes a long way to growing our movement. Third, we have learned not to force as we extend ourselves and how to reveal our soft side in the transitions. And fourth, we know dance as moving in a full circle from center outwards and in every direction. In other words, every movement is a discovery of a fresh new angle or quality that we may never have experienced before.

All of our perspective adds up to be forming and re-forming all of our movements and emotions and hopes with every dance sequence. The Energy we share is our awareness. The including of other people is the same awareness.
Tim Hurst 01/23/19

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My Dance My Center

I just returned from a gathering of Dance Retailers where Ginger and I dance at a once a year party. Finally I understand why it is important for me to dance in public.

First for myself, I get to see how much I can love my movement while being seen. That sounds odd but my usual way of dancing in public is to enter a kind of full on interaction with the entire crowd of people. My awareness expands and I literally dance with everyone there.

This is fine with me except that I lose my center and ride huge waves of Energy where I get lost and often try to do more than my body will handle. None of this is bad except that I need to have a level of awareness in myself that I can return to as Center. From there I can inhale and reflect and rejuvenate any part of me that I have taken too far.

Why do I dance? I dance to learn how these moments work and how I can go beyond my capabilities and at the same time have the awareness to manage my movement and also rejuvenate any areas I over extend.
Tim Hurst 01/23/19

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The Dancer and The Horse

The PBS series Nature studies the horse as a social animal and as a unique physical species.

I often think of the horse when watching dancers simply because of the power and the elevated movement.

PBS has brought out a vocabulary that helps me to put together what I see as similarities between the Dancer and the horse.

The first term is “elastic energy.” A loose definition is Energy that simultaneously expends and rebuilds itself. This same principle has been studied in the kangaroo that can travel long distances without tiring.

The Dancer is a master of elastic energy. Like the horse, the Dancer engages every part of their body in a kind of give and take, unfolding and folding. This type of engagement is common to all animals and for the Dancer it means a singular full body focus. That focus has something to do with the springing motion of lowering and rising, folding and unfolding.

This brings out another similarity in the use of the legs and hooves. It deals with the question, why do dancers point their feet. The action of pointing is first raising the arch of the foot and the toes leave the floor last. This can be seen clearly in a frog springing in slow motion. The leg, the foot, and the toes form one line of projection.

The pointing movement is even clearer in the repeated spring of each step of the horse. The extended leg and hoof also shows a clear line.

Then comes the action that is identified as elastic energy. The tip of the hooves hit the ground first and provide a fulcrum of force. This is not muscle that is propelling the enormous size of the horse. It is Energy that is being simultaneously expended and rebuilt, sent into propulsion and received in a wave of refreshed Energy. The Dancer’s growth depends on this practice of elastic energy.

The Dancer also trains to place the weight of contact between the big toe and the second toe. This reduces friction for maximum efficiency of Energy.

Springing is also a key training for dancers. Like the horse, the primary purpose for the legs is for instant movement in all directions. Walking and running are springing actions rather than muscular pounding. Being erect and alert is also a rising motion of the entire body rather than a muscular pulling up.

The rhythm of the feet is also a similarity in horse and dancer with equal emphasis on the springing up and the landing on the ground.

A similarity that will take lots of study is the use of oxygen in the horse and the dancer. The horse can reduce their use of oxygen in order to go faster and longer.

The Dancer uses their breathing in a different way, more of a phrase that can vary than the horse’s breath on every reach and pull of the legs. However, like the experienced meditator, the dancer develops the ability to reduce the level of oxygen when necessary. I am not aware of studies of dancer breathing.

One similarity of dancers and horses is the love of moving. With the dancer there is always a curiosity, like the horse that enters their movement totally, fully engaged. For both there is an instant response of delight that does not need any discipline or procedures to begin.
Tim Hurst 01/18/19