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Clarify Double Helix

Today I feel the double helix as an image that sustains my movement. What I see in dancers is what I feel in me as the image moves with a delightful agility from area to area in my body.

I change the position of the double helix image at will. I send any signal through the image, fast or slow, intense and large or subtle and small, floating or carving space. The image is the structure for expansion or compression. The spiral shape is perfect as instantly responding as a spring or as an undulating mass able to articulate any area of my body in multiple directions.

I send signals from my spine outwards to both arms with two ends of the helix as a structure. The signal can continue beyond my body with an extended helix image or allowed to disappear into space.

I can make sense out of ballet images for crossing signals in the back from hip to shoulder. The double helix image can follow those pathways and bring sensation to all the edges of the body, front, back, side, internal and external.

The signal has a structure to return to my spine or make a curved transition into another direction. The ending of the helix can be shaped as a figure eight image to make this returning signal instantaneous.

Tilting and banking my body at the different horizontal diaphragms becomes totally different from directing myself to bend backwards or pull my abs in to roll over. The helix has only to be rotated slightly for tilting and angled for banking motions.

Applying the double helix to my feet is an exploration in itself with the many combinations of arches and joints.

The double helix image carries any variety of signals to the smallest area or to my entire body and psyche at once.

The shape of the double helix is two intertwined spirals. The image of two spirals define a circular space between them that can activate and manage interactive fields of energy in small or large areas. A double helix image around the spine interconnects both sides of the body. Likewise an image of a horizontal double helix can activate at least eight cross sections of the body. Combining the vertical and the horizontal images provides inter-connective networks through the entire body and a way to change to many diagonal pathways.
Tim Hurst 09/14/17

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Dance Imagery/Fulton

Erin Kedze Fulton. January 20, 2017
Imagery is most often noticed/talked about/used within the realm of literature. And as I learned in grade school, it’s an umbrella term for similes, metaphors, and personification. Like or as. Or it is. My generalized finding – from the middle school days of Harry Potter, til today’s tackling of Ishiguro – is that imagery has a way of engaging the imagination in a way that facts can’t. “His eyes were dark,” doesn’t have the effect of “eyes…glinting like black beetles” (Rowling speaking). Something is stirred within the mind’s eye, resulting in slight intimidation. Or the sensation of seeing darkness.

However, there is a thoroughly unresearched medium that imagery operates within, and that is dance. It’s a teaching strategy, as well as a way of absorbing information and emitting it right back out of your body. It is the means by which I learn and move best as a dancer.

Until I was 20, the primary experience I had with dance was ballet, and I attended classes in a traditional school. We used the proper, codified terminology, and explanations were straight-forward and anatomical (“your arm is slightly bent at the elbow, brought in front of you at belly button level”). But there was always a frustrating wall in my body that I couldn’t climb over. Blockages, places that energy was unable to reach, gimmicks that I was either unaware of, or unable to alter.

It wasn’t until I took my first improvisation class in college that I began to find a way to reach the blocked and inaccessible places in my body. We began with simple exercises: assign adjectives and verbs, and embody them through movement. Thick. Sliding. Circular. We would take a word and run with it, improv-ing for minutes on end, and I was delighted to find how much movement my body could produce from the idea of a single image. I didn’t have to think too much, it just happened.

My experience with imagery grew as I was exposed to a wider variety of instructors. When I was asked to “be cool,” my tendency to muscle my way through movement tapered off. Being told to not have “tortilla feet” was a tongue-in-cheek way of getting my feet to keep up with my legs. And in Pilates, the idea of four cups of coffee balanced on shoulders and hips enabled me to keep a steady quadruped.

These mental pictures had a way of molding and shaping my body from the inside out – and like water against rock, it’s an ongoing process. But I sense progress. The parallel is how a reader graduates to more and more sophisticated works – so also a dancer graduates to more complicated images. The most challenging are ones that have to do with an abstract energy – riding the energy particles that rush through my blood stream. To move as if the very act of it is cleansing me.

Beyond the aspect of physical growth, imagery acts as a simple yet intimate language between dancers. I work with a group of performers, among whom three different tongues are represented: most of us speak English, but one dancer is from France, and Chinese is our choreographer’s native tongue. There are times when heavily detailed prompts are counterproductive and confusing. So instead, our choreographer will simply tell us, “Soft.” And we understand him, and soften.

The beauty of an image is that it results in my body moving organically, from the inside out; movement happens to me, rather than the other way around. I find that I don’t need to emphasize the correctness of a movement, but learn its feeling and essence, with the help of a mental picture. “Bones pulling through flesh” looks different in my body than in the dancer’s next to me, but is just as valid.