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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

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My Ballet Energy

Ballet has a quality that brings me closer to myself. There is something about moving my arms that brings energy in towards my spine and extends energy outwards from my spine. Something about the simple quality of the movements capture me. I have this feeling of being one movement. It is hard to say, I am moving as myself, all of myself.

My usual jerky and forced movements give way to something akin to ease. Moving my arms with other movements, I follow the energy flow up and down my spine. Then when I bring my arms close to my lower spine, I can feel the lifting energy that my teachers speak about going up the spine and out the top of my head.

That is not the only quality I feel. Extending my arms while lowering into a wide second position, I feel the expansion of energy outwards in my entire pelvic floor. The same happens when my arms extend at chest level, the energy of my entire chest and back expand with my arms. The energy fills me edge to edge and I almost suspend in space.

Interesting that word suspend, because the energy moving through me has that tendency to suspend every part of me. Every movement has an energy of suspension.

I am close to myself. Energy comes from me and returns to me with my spine as a relay point. My movement is connected to my focus of energy. Moving is a slight adjustment of energy flow rather than raw force.

The circular pathways of Ballet give me a place to take the suspension like in waves that reach a peak and carry that energy into the spreading or falling motions.

Speaking of energy, the more I dance the more energy I have. And the energy is a two way flow that extends me beyond my imagination and then returns the movement close to my heart where I can take delight in what has happened. That is all another story.
Tim Hurst 06/29/18

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Dancer’s Unique Movement

Watching a dancer, I always see something more than the movement. That something is the reason that dance is so hard to explain. Everyone wants to say that their exercise or their game trains the brain. With dance, there is that something more, more than the brain, more than the effort and more than the extreme skills.

The special something of dance has obsessed me for many years. Trying to make a list is like a grocery list that never ends. One reason is that dance contains the simplest beginning to movement leading to variation upon variation of complexity.

So I continue to try and clarify a few simple things about dance. I begin with Ballet because it is the one form that takes from and influences every other form of dance.

One simple element that gives movement an extra quality is the rhythm. In a Ballet class the teacher often emphasizes the rhythm by using the phrase, “And, One.” This can be stated repeatedly or in series as in “And, One; And, Two; And, Three.”

So many principles are capsuled in these words. First they are a phrase. All movement is more than a task or a skill, it is a phrase in the same way that music is more than sound.

What else does “And, One” reveal? The anticipation of the movement is as important as the move itself. In other words, every part of the movement is important.

How does the dancer make the anticipation just as important as the movement? First is the rhythm that can be using duration of short/long. The “And” becomes the short and the “One” can be long. Or the variation can be Long/Long that sustains the phrase as in music.

The dance can then vary the movement by distinguishing a rhythm with the simple phrase of shorts and longs.

This is easily experienced in Tap dancing that specializes in the sound of shorts and longs in phrases that can be quick or extended.

It is this extension of the phrase that is also different about dance movement. By combining the short/long variations, phrases place emphasis. As an observer I am guided by the phrase to anticipate the emphasis. As in “And, One” I anticipate the One. With a longer phrase, I wait for and anticipate the return of the emphasis. For example, “And, One: And, Two; And, Three,” returns to “And, One.”

Not only is every moment important, the preparation and the emphasis. Every moment can also be distinguished by an emphasis or a building to an emphasis. This is also the language of music.

Another way of describing this process of managing the emphasis is using the term transition. Dance and music are basically learning to experience ways of making a transition from one sound or movement to another using processes like the phrase.

Hip Hop and Street Dancing demonstrate all this with their moments of suspense just before a surprising movement. Latin Dances likewise vary the emphasis with variations on “And, One, And, Two” changing the emphasis from the One to the Two.

Rhythm built around the phrase and emphasis are only the beginning of what makes dance movement unique.
Tim Hurst 06/28/18

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Dance Basic Ease

Today i need to quiet myself from being busy and worrying. I follow my process of slow circular movement crossing the midline of my body. I do not need the busy activity of the spin but instead gently move arms, palms facing, back and forth across my spine.

My head is networked to balance on my spine with a slight bobble as my eyes and head move the opposite direction of my hands. My hands face each other, arms easily outstretch away from my body. Signals from my spine lift my elbows and soften my hands as they travel in spiral movements up each vertebra of my spine.

My experience is connection of my entire self, a sensation of ease.

It is this study of ease that make up my experiments to find a balance of directed and collaborative movement. The networking in today’s movement comes from Tai Chi but I understand the principles from the detailed training of Ballet and Modern Dance.

I keep trying to verbalize the simplicity of the Ballet learning process. I try to trace the principles in action.

The basis is that energy must be allowed to move through me. A dance image allows my arms to float up. My arms lift from energy traveling from my spine, under my shoulders and around my arms. The action is more than muscles moving from mental direction or from intentional force. .

The pathway of the energy is a spiral traveling through my arms and beyond each finger. The palms facing activate the connection of energy between each hand.

Basically an energy field is created between my arms and energy connections of my torso that begin and end at my spine.

The training of energy movement is the focus. Anatomy is adjusted to encourage the easy flow of energy. Arms are softened by the spiral of energy passing through. Elbow, wrist, and finger joints are flexible from energy passing through their gently curved positions.

The result of this focus is an approach to anatomy as alignment to foster easy flow of energy. Maintaining an erect spine is no longer the commands to hold myself up and pull my shoulders back. Each vertebra is balancing within a flow of energy that is traveling through and spiraling around my spine.

This detailed understanding of movement is why Ballet and Modern Dance have been at the forefront of innovation in training for both flexibility and strength. The effects are a deeper understanding of injury prevention and movement rehabilitation.

One goal is an ease of movement in any direction responsive to any variation of speed, intensity, and quality such as lightness or heaviness. Another goal is the networking of energy signals that create a continual energy loop through the horizontal plane of the arms and the vertical one of the spine. The image of energy loops are applied to every area of the body to respond as a supportive network.

The image of spiral energy is one key to dance as a way to generate delight by engaging the entire person.

I experience the image of spiral energy as a way to generate new connections, a way to go beyond my limitations, and a way to respond to strains to avoid injury.
Tim Hurst 03/25/18

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Enter Dance Delight

Enter Dance Delight
Entering dance is entering delight. Dance is a way to engage my whole self, a way to focus all my attention on a full range of experience.

Dance has many forms that use basic principles. Ballet is the science that has organized dance principles into a progressive system of learning. The power of Ballet as a science has been its ability to add to and influence discoveries in other disciplines. Using the term dance applies to all dance forms and refers to the codification of movement by Ballet.

To fully engage, dance begins with simple movements using an image that guides the building of networks that interconnect the entire person.

Similar to the tradition of Tai Chi, dance imagery is the falling and rising of the body as one unit. This simple image will be applied to every area of the body and to every system from emotional to cognitive.

Also like Tai Chi, dance begins with slow movement allowing time and space for the body brain to record the movement and distinguish it from other movements.

When I lose the sense of delight in dancing, I simply return to the falling and rising. In Ballet it is the plie. In Tai Chi it is the basic lowering of the entire body by bending the knees and lowering the arms from an outstretched position.

In both Ballet and Tai Chi, this is a basic movement that prepares for many other movements from stepping to leaping. The slow connected movement is the gathering of power and the integrating of position in space.

Enter Dance Hope
Dance is the process of anticipating more life revealed in the connection of movement. The experience of anticipation is a recognition of the process of creation and growth in our cells. The cells divide as a creation of more life. Neurons interconnect by the creative process of sending and receiving signals.

Hope is the process of anticipation, response, and integration that brings us to an active curiosity.

Anticipation prepares to recognize the surprises and the shifting of these different networks.

Enter Dance Networks
Dance is a way of training our focus to manage creative connections between our different networks. One network related to focus is the specific goal oriented focus that can identify specific actions and proactively adjust them. Another network is the broad spectrum focus that oversees full person acting at once.

Another pair of networks are the directive and the collaborative. The first is specific and directional while the last is reflective and integrative.

Enter Dance Image
The image simplifies all the complex work of the body brain and empowers the person to wield an instantly changing focus.

One key image is energy. Energy in dance, as in sound and light, can be varied to many levels of force, speed, intensity, and quality.

The dancer uses imagery to shape energy that goes beyond their limitations physically, emotionally and mentally. The interaction and interconnection of energy is studied both within the individual and between members of a group.

Dance is a way to build the curiosity of anticipation and the images as tools that can apply to the uniqueness of the individual and the unity of a group.

Enter Dance Complexity
Dance is a process of beginning with simple movements, adding variations that are easily distinguished, and integrating the movements so they can be combined in multiple ways.

The unique realm of dance is to distinguish the connections within each different network encompassing the entire person. This process recognizes not only skill development and structures of mathematical, geometric, and motor calculations. Training distinguishes experiences of intention, malleability, and states of network collaboration. Building the care for the self as an interactive part of life is at the center of all learning.

Enter Dance Power
Dance is an experience of power from many different perspectives. Clarifying signals through all the types of entry mentioned, the dancer creates a moment by moment portrait of their experience in the form of dance. This portrait is changeable with the wide range of qualities and states of experience. Claiming and building this dance of the self represents a long journey of entering dance.

The source of power is the interactive nature of our systems that receive and send signals allowing the person to evaluate their location in space, the intensity of force they are applying, and their relationship to emotion and intention.

Two other aspects of power are important. One is the openness to surprises that may exceed any expectation. The other is the willingness to ask for help and to experiment with the help given.

Asking for help may be a personal action of specifically asking within the self for the attention and courage to recognize the help that is offered and for the vulnerability to fully receive it.
Tim Hurst 03/24/18

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Sustenance in Melody

Singing today I fell in love with the overtones that connect a musical melody into a whole.

Since the qualities of dance and music is so close, I wonder what the connecting elements are for dance in a movement melody.

With musical overtones, the resonance of one tone fills the spaces of one note to the other. Their is a continual flowing movement no matter what rhythmic spaces occur for emphasis and anticipation.

Dancers also know how to fill a movement with different levels and qualities of resonance. Each movement, each part of the interconnected body, each cell and organ, fills with a resonant energy that continues like music through any rhythmic space into a melodic phrase.

Yet there is something more basic below the energy. That is the movement of the curve that dancers understand as connecting any transition from one movement to the next. The curve can be a loop that can double back into what seems like a line. The curve can be a continuous spiral that intertwines with other spirals from many areas of the body, the emotions, and the intentions of the person.

The basis is of course the wave that makes up sound and light. The wave like the dancer extends to a peak and rides the curve into a rejuvenating exhale before receiving another inhale at the lowest point to rise again.

Each point along the way connects in millions of ways with the next points changing direction into a fresh movement. The dancer studies the wave form as the sustenance between each movement and the sustainer of the melody creating an imprint of the individual and the group of dancers.
Tim Hurst 02/06/18

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Dance Trains the Spine

Dance trains each area of the spine to command horizontal and vertical signals. Two principles seem to be that each section of vertebra engage the nearest part of the body, and that each section networks with other parts of the spine to interconnect the entire body.

My search is for a simple way to engage myself in movement physically, emotionally, and intentionally. The building blocks to simplicity seems to be signals originating at the spine.

With one simple image of a signal connecting an entire area of the body, I can bypass all my thinking about which muscles need to move and which muscles are restricting movement.

Rather than two separate intentions of sending signals and receiving feedback, the spine becomes the instantaneous sender and receiver of information.

Dancers learn this simplicity in the process of a detailed study of movement engaging the entire body at once. I had to go through the back door to understand this simplicity that becomes apparent to the serious dancer.

A common dance image is to send energy from the feet up through the body and out the top of the head. This is one signal. The signal can be varied to activate each area of the body as it rises. The signal can even go beyond the feet to ground the body or beyond the head to extend the sense of lengthening the muscles.

My clue for understanding horizontal signals was the ease of raising the arms in Ballet. The dancer describes the signal coming from the spine between the shoulder blades, traveling under and around the arms, lifting the forearms, and continuing through the fingers of each hand. As the fingers of each hand approach each other, the signals continue making an energetic connection between each finger. A spreading movement of the arms emphasizes the returning signal to the spine.

The signals in each area of the spine travel to every edge of the body, front, back, and side. I loosely refer to these areas as diaphragms because they are interconnected tissue of all kinds muscular, neurological, vascular, Limbic, and glandular.

This is only the beginning of training this area of the spine that I refer to as the dancer’s diaphragm. Signals are varied to spread and raise the arms while maintaining this energetic circle within the arms. The signals are clearly only for the arms allowing the shoulders and neck to be supportive but not fully engaged.

The training extends the range of the spinal area with slight twists, and the rolling of each vertebra forward and back. Engaging these muscles around each vertebra requires specific training to bend and slide horizontally in each direction.

Using these upper vertebra as an example, the next step of learning is to network the signals from this area with other areas of the spine. Networking signals means that the vertebral areas are interconnected through both sending and receiving signals.

The breathing diaphragm, attaching at the lower vertebra of the rib cage, networks signals to the dancer’s diaphragm. The signals are spreading,suspending, and releasing that correspond to breathing.

Receiving signals from the breathing diaphragm, the dancer’s diaphragm opens the upper chest and the back to allow breath into the upper lungs. The arms in any position receive sensations of these spreading and suspending signals.

Signals to the dancer’s diaphragm also network to the pelvic diaphragm. The pelvic diaphragm engages the lower vertebra connecting the support from the inner legs, ankles, and feet. Lifting the pelvic diaphragm also sends signals to the erector muscles along the spine that contribute to the sensation of lifting and spreading throughout the entire back as well as the chest and neck areas.

The lowering and spreading of the pelvic diaphragm also sends releasing signals to the breathing and the dancer’s diaphragms to support the sensations of suspension and continuous lowering.

The value of networking is so all these interconnections can happen at once with the least amount of directed commands. The access to each vertebral,area gives the opportunity to monitor and respond specifically to the areas that need adjustment or support.
See also Spinal Imagery
Tim Hurst 01/23/18

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Dancing the Breath

Dance Trains the breath to be just as malleable as movement of the body, of the thoughts, and of the emotions.

I have a very tight neck and jaw. Dance teachers and some who are Pilates instructors, say to breathe regularly and with more ease. Easier said than done. I enrolled in breathing classes that practiced specific exercises to get me to breathe into all areas of my lungs. I took Yoga to coordinated my breath with specific movement patterns. I learned to follow a counting sequence that slowed down my breathing.

Because my learning curve takes longer I was patient. Or probably I was learning to force myself to do things that were contrary to the source of my tightness.

I changed direction and tried several forms of both sitting and moving meditation. I was looking for a way to get beyond my tightness and to somehow deal with my focus upon commanding myself to breathe. Of course the worst suggestion was to “just stop thinking so much.”

Actually what did help was moving my thinking in many different ways. I found Modern Dance technique as a way to simplify movement into parts and then to practice the movement through improvisation. Then I did years of study of using imagery as a basis for both the technique and the improvisation.

There was a sensation associated with my breathing. The breathing sensation would capture my attention as I followed a Deborah Hay image like seeing only what is above my head or seeing with every cell of my body. My body and my breathing were totally engaged in the image that revealed changes of sensation and surprises beyond my imagination.

Every thing about me was malleable, shifting and changing at every moment. My breathing and my movement were exploring the contours of my conscious and released relationship to the image. Everything was aware or everything was flowing on its own. Movement surprises would take my attention and then disappear into the variation of another improvisation.

I was able to put words to this effect on my breathing after adding improvisational singing to my dancing. Musically I was opening areas of myself with phrases.

Dancing puts together phrases that flow melodically and rhythmically. My breath could be used to begin phrases and continue them as long or short. Musically my breath could emphasize a movement or make the movement a kind of quiet secret. The shifting image could take me to a conscious focus on these kinds of musicality or my focus could shift to my involvement in the phrase with my whole body.

My breathing was able to change with the interaction of my sensations and thoughts. An image guided the discovery of a variety of phrasing that captured the attention of my breathing.

As I learn more about the ease of breathing for singing, I the union of my breath with dancing. Both dancing and singing rely on the rising of a phrase followed by the continuous release of the phrase into a state of receptiveness.
Tim Hurst 01/23/18

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Ballet Ease and Effort

Dancers keep coming back to Ballet. Yes the mom who danced as a child can’t wait to start Ballet later in life. It is also the professional dance innovators who return to the detailed science of Ballet.

The reasons for returning to ballet are that varied. For me and those I observe they return for the experience. So what is the experience of Ballet that is so irresistible? I always go for the global view first. Ballet is full spectrum movement, engaging the entire body at once to network every aspect of the human experience.

Looking at only one aspect like effort and ease brings out a scenario that helps to understand what draws the dancer back to Ballet. Ballet explores the full range of movement from least effort to maximum effort.

The phrase that is often used to describe Ballet is, “It looks so easy.” No one believes Ballet is easy but the word they are looking for is “ease.” Ballet is the experience of ease as an essential part of the full range of effort.

One skill that astonishes everyone is defying gravity, the ability to float at the top of the leap or the jump or the skip. A gymnast that accomplishes this awareness has gone beyond effort into the realm of networked experience. We try to relegate this experience to a mystery by calling it art. What we are trying to say is that it is the experience of engaging all our human faculties at once.

I want to look at this experience of ease with many dance innovators. Ballet masters must take the experienced dancers to the depths of subtlety but also to the extremes of what a person is capable. Like any athletes they test the limits of what is possible. With a science like Ballet this can lead to intense regimentation and forcing of the body that eventually breaks down the body.

For dancers seeking a full range of ease to effort, many innovators took the essence of Ballet and began to study what it meant to use the least amount of effort. The list of innovators is long and each dancer develops their own unique approach to this search.

Modern Dance is the classic break with Ballet searching for imagery to allow effort to come from inside the dancer rather than from the regimentation. Many innovators focused on different aspects of the emotions, on improvisational changes of focus, and on the principles of dance that revealed the uniqueness of each person in improvisational dance.

Then there were the exercise related innovators who studied parts of the dance experience. Mabel Todd wrote the textbook of the body to understand the research of Ballet and Modern experience. People like Alexander, Feldenkreis, Skinner, and Pilates took different aspects of the Ballet and Modern experience to develop complete systems of study of the workings of the body.

Their work would revolutionize the field of athletic training to include the balance of flexibility and strength for maximum performance. In other words the introduction of the image of ease makes a difference in applying the full range of the least effort to maximum effort.

Ballet builds the imagery of ease into every part of the dance class. Each movement is studied as a part of a supportive network integrating the entire body. The pause at the end of a phrase emphasizes the experience of movement continuing with ease even in stillness. The portabra and reverence at the end of class integrates the experience of ease into the extensions used in class.

The innovators breaking with Ballet took this experience to many different extremes. Alexander, Skinner, and Liz Koch author of The Psoas Book all used a similar laying meditation allowing the body to experience the ease of rest. The focus of attention is on releasing every part of the body.

Many exercise programs begin their sessions with Barbara Mettler’s version of this process that is tightening and loosening each part of the body. This is one approach to bringing attention to every area of the body while experiencing a release of effort.

Later innovators like Nina Martin would focus attention using a more fluid approach with the image of light moving through the body. This image she distilled into the study of signals coming through the spine to integrate networks in the entire body.

Another branch of dance has taken the image of effortless movement into new forms like Authentic Movement done with the eyes closed, Continuum which focuses on micro movements to build interconnected movement, Nia that explores the principles of movement and personal expression, and Ecstatic Dance that explores spiritual experience with free form group movement.

Floor-Barre trade marked by Zena Rommett would take this signals study back to Ballet technique. Each movement is a detailed study done on the floor rather than moving through space. This allows the dancer to take an effortless approach to each movement while imagining a suspension of the gravity that affects standing movement.

Steve Paxton created a completely new style of dance, Contact Improvisation. Contact as it is often referred to, can be extremely slow or can move quickly into aerial movement. The dancer studies the ease experienced when one person balances weight with another person. The image is of two bodies melting into a weightless state that is in continual movement. In one performance Paxton blended solo Ballet Movements with instantaneous rolls on the floor and balances on many parts of his body.

Hybrids of Modern Dance and Ballet have formed as well as Jazz Dance and Ballet. The form Contemporary Ballet uses a Modern Dance base blended with Ballet Technique and the gymnastic elements of Contact Improvisation.

Modern Dancers have applied their principles of movement to teaching Ballet. And Modern Dance professionals hold Ballet Classes as an important part of their training.

So by tracing the one image of ease in relation to effort we have a glimpse of the importance of Ballet. And it is telling that many inexperienced dancers and the professionals alike return to a respect for Ballet as the repository of full spectrum movement.
Tim Hurst 01/06/18