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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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Suspension Dances

Dance instantly invites so many moments of entry into suspension.

Suspension is like a precipise between effort and ease, between a task and a day dream.

Entering the dance of suspension, I experience the dance imagery of floating and circular space around me. Even my feet know suspension. With each step the under arch and the top instep find mid-air a delightful place to find themselves.

Dancers exercise their bodies and their imagery to free the legs from the torso. A key image is energy that moves up the torso through every cell and every muscle group. Then the entire body becomes a network to enter suspension.

I experience suspension as a wave that extends energy to the top and then gathers energy on the curve over and downwards. Taking that image into every part of my body, suspension is movement at its richest point.

The image in music is the sound transitions between a suspenseful chord and a clear resolution or a preparatory moment just before a repetition of a melody.

This moment of anticipation is called a “creative pause” in the dances of Barbara Mettler, an early innovator in Modern Dance. The Ballet teacher calls out “And one, And two.” The “And” suspends this moment just before the down beat and just before initiating a movement phrase. Street Dance has a bright spark, maybe even a slight smile just before the smallest or the the grandest flight into the air.

And it is these entry moments that bring me the most delight. In fact, the moment I enter a dance, I smile knowing that the delight will meet me with more connections than I can grasp and more satisfaction than I could ever expect.

Dance Tools I aspire to understand: the sensation of riding the suspension in time, in space, in thought, and in emotion while accepting all the delight I can handle.
Tim Hurst 06/23/18

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Dance Class Questions

Question:
How do dancers deal with the daily vulnerability and moment by moment corrections necessary to improve?

Personal Answers:
Growing a courage to admit strengths and limitations.
Growing a willingness to recognize insights and make corrections.

Answers of the Dance Class:
Dancing offers an instant delight of moving, growing, and becoming oneself.
Dance class is a process that builds confidence and excellence.

My Experience
I joined a Ballet class once again as a beginner’s beginner. One thing that puzzled me was the way most people left class without interacting with each other.

It reminded me of some meditations that are so expanding that words and smiles are not appropriate right away.

And it was true that like in meditation, every moment of the class required a personal dedication to noticing and making subtle shifts. And also the ending of the class with a portabra was a very gentle and expansive way to integrate my entire experience of struggles and insights.

Interesting that these analogies continue. The closing of the class was a moment of absolute stillness called “reverence.” i guess it would be normal to leave silently and take that feeling of strength and personal awareness with us.

But this is more of an adult experience. The little ones would be hugging each other, jumping up and down, and giggling. Teenagers who know the delight of dance have their own way of enjoying their friends after an intense class.

Question:
How do dancers think about their friends who go faster and farther into dance skills?

Personal Answers:
Because everyone is challenged to their maximum, there is tendency to rely on each other’s strengths and to take a longer view of getting things right.

My Experience
I have watched so much dance and so many dancers of all ages that I see each person as a unique journey. And the journey is like a group of scientists looking at a huge phenomena without an explanation.

When one dancer gets the pattern correct, everyone is in a different place, just like scientists who make a breakthrough for the entire community.

Another person adds more emotion or a melodic phrasing or a variation in the rhythm. Another person can not do all the pattern but has a little attitude that speaks a different message.

For myself, there is no way I could even make it through class without all the variety of the insights and breakthroughs of the other dancers.

So at the end of class I can walk out. I have to show my gratitude for everyone, the weakest who stand in courage with me and the brilliant ones who show the way. And it is no big deal. I smile or give a small touch and a gesture of gratitude. For some I can say how their experience of the dance helps me. For others I give a hearty thank you because I know their courage and growth has made a difference to me.
Tim Hurst 06/02/18

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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