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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 Unpublished that and spent a day writing about the brightness that is dance to me, to my teachers,and to choreographers and performers that explore the depths of dance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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Search May2017

What I Learn.
My search is personal and a constant reminder that all artists build their own imagery and daily regimes to encourage themselves and to express the results of their search.

What I Want to Learn.
What is the brightness I experience observing dancers and musicians?

I experience them as being “on top of the movement” and “on top of the beat.” Brightness becomes an ease and agility to move in any direction with any variation of quality and emphasis.

I experience also the free flow of energy carrying emotion, sensation, and physicality through every part of their bodies.

I experience the growing of the artist as creating a capsule of themselves, all that they think and feel, and hope in this moment.

What I Want to Experience.
Brightness. I want to experience the brightness that I see in dancers and musicians.

I want to experience being “on top of every movement” with agility and infinite choices for blending movement qualities.

I want to experience the free flow of energy through every part of my body at once.

I want to experience the intersection of all my thoughts, emotions, sensations, and hopes as an expression of my world at this moment.

I want to experience myself as a growing changing melody that rises and falls through a full range of experience.

What I Ask For Myself and Others
I ask for the trust to see my strength and agility grow daily.
I ask for the wisdom to know when I use my skills for harm rather than growth.
I ask for the receptivity to rest and allow all my concerns, insights and goals to wait their time.
I ask for the empathy to notice when someone, even myself, needs encouragement.
I ask for the humility to ask and receive help.
Tim Hurst 05/26/1

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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

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Dancer’s Wisdom

The wisdom of Alexander Technique
Find the connection to one zone on the spine between the wings.
Let the connection lift you.
Think no more about rising and balancing.
Simply connect.

The dancer’s wisdom
Discover a connection of muscle of bone of body of move.
Place a discovery within a personal network all connected, already in tact.
Think no more about missing a skill, a lift, a leap.
Connect one part of the network to activate the whole.

The dancer’s wisdom shared by travelers in the many worlds of meditation and prayer.
Taste the delight of the coming movement within and without.
Enter the delight with full attention.
Exhale a thank you to ourselves, to those who share our journey, and to all of life that I do not yet know.
Tim Hurst. 05/20/17

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Open Letter to Protesters of Bad Bodies

Who are we that protest so eloquently?
We argue that our knees grind. Yet we grind every step into the ground.
We insist our spine is our culprit. Yet we crumple it as if it were ready for the trash.
And our hips are so untrue to be bone upon bone. Yet what are hips for except to sit?

Yes we exercise. We seek definition. And yet we injure whatever we want and the doctor says we have to rest six weeks. We know the story from the last time, “Give the body a chance to heal.”

Have we not noticed what the dancer has discovered?
Being erect is not a grind. Lifting ourselves up is easier than one plus one.
Pulling the body with the legs is out of date. The body moves. The legs spring.
Discipline comes from the love of movement.
Quality of movement connects our brain and our body and our desire and our hope.
Quality of attention is the key to preventing and nurturing injury.

It is the same old story, “Give the body a chance. Dance!”

Tim Hurst. 05/20/17