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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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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

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Dancer Delight as Energy

Sometimes when I watch dance i see bodies moving from here to there. It may take me a while to orient to the emotions and the energy of the dance and the dancers.

It helps that I know the delight the dancer carries into their dance. The delight is not a feeling that comes and goes. The dancer’s delight I know as a way of navigating through movements, attitudes, emotions, plans, and errors.

Navigation sounds like a huge task. In practice, dance has a way of simplifying everything. The dancer’s delight is moving energy. Dance training is simply to learn step by step how to move energy through the entire person.

The body is only the vehicle. The pathways, the shaping of space, the rhythms, these are the ways of playing with energy.

The body can be compared to clay. The potter shapes and responds to the ever changing curves in the clay. The dancer of course is unique because their clay is living, breathing, sensing, and growing.

Energy is the first image of a Ballet class no matter what age. Moving energy from toe to top of the head connects the entire body at once. From this simple beginning comes the complexity and the beauty of dancers of all kinds.

Like dancing, energy is not an “it” to use. Energy is living and growing every moment. The person who enters dance chooses to enter that living and growing process.

I have throughout my life been nagged by the question, “What’s all this life for?” When I enter dance, the question erases because my full attention, all my brain and body power must be directed toward the energy that insists on growing or languishing.

And when delight is involved, it is obvious when I choose to be discouraged rather than engaged in growing energy. Besides, when the choice is letting enegy slip away, I can not resist getting with the program.
Tim Hurst 06/30/18