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The Dancer’s Imprint

I have often wondered why the dancer has been satisfied to create intense experiences that are not recorded well even in photos and film.

My experience of dancers and their choreography is of their imprint as individuals and as groups. The imprint they create is every aspect of their experience as a person.

That imprint can not be reproduced mechanically. Their imprint is created within and in connection with fellow dancers, dance students, and audiences.

In neurobiology, this imprint is referred to as the mirror neuron. The mirror neuron not only records the experience of the dancer but also creates its own version of a sound from music or a movement from watching dance. This all sounds mysterious but it is a process that we respond to and recognize easily.

What the dancer is doing is sharing an imprint of their experience through their creation of dances. That imprint is replicated in many different ways in the fellow dancers, their dance students, their families and friends, and each audience that chooses to share that imprint.

This is of course only the beginning. Each person that experiences a dancer’s imprint reflects their own perspective by building on their excitement with slight variations. These different perspectives and moment by moment growth of delight and intensity are what we see as audiences.

Then as audience we amplify the delight, the anticipation, the excitement of the imprints we are witnessing. We are taking the dancers’ imprints and making our own which can explode into laughter or sighs or sometimes personal distress.

At the end of the performance, no person present is the same. Imprints have been created and recreated, shaped and reshaped. Each person’s experience has been expanded or compressed in some way.

This experience after a performance is often more than we can manage. Sometimes I do not know what to say or what to think about this new person I have become and my witness of new creations emerging before my eyes. What has just happened?

This is not the same thing that happens when watching a mechanical representation in media. In a live performance, I can access the real energy and the varying pathways taken by each dancer’s of their experience.

Basically, that performance with that group of dancers and that audience is a unique experience that will never happen in the same way again.
Tim Hurst. 02/06/18

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Marroquin Performance

To The Dancer
After seeing Sharon Marroquin’s Las Cuatros Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees.

When I experience your creation, my neurons not only mirror a creation, my mirror is of you, of each performer, connecting everything.

Thank you for the bravery of your dance to touch the anguish of a repeated life, the resplendence of clarity, the despair of conflicting lives, the freshness of new birth.

A scientist can record the pathways in you, in me, mirroring every second of your creation.
Yet you and I are the experience of everything connecting, an experience beyond any pathway.

My mirroring of your creation creates a garden of seedlings exponentially unique in myself. Together we create a fresh garden of seedlings that create structures that connect us all in unique ways.

We build worlds with each dance that speak for themselves and create fresh worlds.
Tim Hurst. 03/24/17

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Live Audience

Experienced two dance performances in two days and a third one a week ago. Watching the audiences after each performance was a superb treat in itself. Antique persons like myself walk light on their feet. The rhythm of going to greet each other become a movie in itself.

My experiences covered a dance map, Modern Dance with Sharon Marroquin’s Las Cuatro Estaciones, Tap Dance with Acia Gray’s Listen, and Ballet with Stephen Mill’s The Magic Flute. Each one filled their audiences with a renewal beyond my ability to express in words.

The delight I feel is no mistake. My favorite neuroscientist Daniel Levitin woke up our awareness of mirror neurons “that fire both when performing an action and when observing someone else perform an action.” He says in This is Your Brain on Music” that both music and dance may be the “fundamental messengers…across individuals and generations…through which develop our beliefs, obsessions, and all art.”

How does this happen? Levitin says about music “The multiple reinforcing cues of a good song–rhythm, melody, and contour–cause music to stick in our heads.” This same vocabulary and effect applies to dance, and research is gathering about body-brain networks forming from both dancing and observing dance.

What I observe after these three dance performances is a particular kind of lightness and subtle poignancy that is unique to the combination of dance and music. The dancer is transferring an experience of something beyond our everyday celebrations.

Each dancer is transmitting their unique experience of personal excellence and also their experience of empathy for the experience of other dancers. We tap straight into that experience and into the courage of each dancer as they gather and sort the makings of themselves as a person, a character, and a messenger directly to our cells.

With dance the experience of watching a friend or a child dance is even more poignant. Add to that the possibility of experiencing a dance class with even the fundamentals of dance can be life changing. These are both opportunities to tap in to the very detailed experiences of dedicated dancers. Commercial over.

I take these experiences with me, of each individual dancer and their messages bonded together. I feel their messages. I know them inside of me. These messages are of hope for the next moments as I yearn for a combination of lightness and power. This is a particular kind of power that music and dance transmit. These are fundamental messages that I can now access.
Tim Hurst 04/01/17