I am obsessed with the question of how the dancer enters a brightness of movement and attitude. The brightness permeates every move they make even when the emotions and intensity vary.
The brightness perpetuates itself in the movement, even in the preparation and completion of every movement. Stillness holds the same brightness as long as the dancer is engaged.
One simple movement captures my imagination, the basic principle of rising and lowering taught in most beginning dance classes. Using different words, the dancer connects two distinct experiences, lifting and spreading.
This can be understood by tracing the dancer’s approach to each area of the body. As with other activities, breathing is a process of lifting and spreading the rib cage as the air rushes in and eases out. The feet lift from beneath the arch in a rise and spread to lower for another action. The legs and arms rise and spread in alternate movement of lifting and lowering. The pelvic diaphragm initiates a lift in the spine then spreads to support a lowering of the spine. The three dimensional area connected to the solar plexus lifts the upper spine and the spreads the upper torso. The top vertebra, the atlas, lifts the top of the spine and spreads the supporting muscles with gentle movement of the second vertebra, the axis. The face, the nasal cavities, and the brain rise with energy from the spine spreading to exit from the top of the head.
The dancer connects all of these different lifting and spreading motions and creates networks that can be accessed with simple commands.
So how does brightness relate to these networks of lifting and spreading? The sensation of continuous movement may be uplifting in itself. Bill Reidler of the Global Relationship Network would say if you are depressed look up and show your teeth. The action itself does not work but there is a moment of being uplifted. The dancer studies this moment in depth.
Something about continuous movement relates to anticipation of the next rise and fall. Then there is the connectivity of one rise and fall leading to and coordinating with another rise and fall. The body brain is engaged in the forming and reforming of these connections.
When the brain is fully engaged we identify total experiences like “falling in love” and spiritual ecstasy. The brightness could be the moment by moment hope of this kind of falling and rising.
Another question is, how do the movements of rising and falling relate to action and rest, formation and reflection, building and pruning.
Each of these is a form of continuous rising energy that the spreads beyond itself. We might find help in a broader view.
Dance training may be a process of rejuvenation. The basic principle is like the rising and falling of our breathing. Like the sound wave and the light wave, our movement may also rejuvenate and perpetuate itself. The characteristic of rising and falling is that they are continuous even at the transition points, at the peaks of the waves. There are many other characteristics like the variation of quality, intensity, and speed. These variations continually engage the body brain in exploring new territory that requires action and reflection, specific focus of energy and release of energy.
Could dance be a process of gaining access to every area of the body brain and psyche for a unified experience of movement and reflection?
Tim Hurst 12/31/17