Like pouring water from a pitcher, our dance
I find the movements I see on the dance floor not unlike pornography. Somehow, a wild array of dazzling movement coordinated with a driving relentless beat is dance. Where is the love? Where is the emotion? That connection to the soul which drives us to power through our movements with fervent intensity?
Movement without expression is merely a stiff exercise. Dancing involves expressiveness, an openness in which the heart and soul pours out of the body into a dazzling colorful wake of movement. There is a fear of vulnerability which needs to be slayed. There needs to be a safety which allows the the inner flower to bloom. Instead I see us dancers putting ourselves into bathyscaphes, to protect ourselves, to isolate ourselves, allowing only two robotic arms to reach out toward each other. Drowned deep in the thumping of loud music, is it no wonder that the only thing we can possibly feel is being thrown around?
I’m not sure that venues which I dance at value the same things I do: that deep connection, and therefor respect, for our partner, our music, and most of all ourselves. When I teach these ideas, as much as it is well received, the lack of support from the rest of the community means that it becomes lost. In this case, I think the best thing to do may be to demonstrate what I mean, to pierce through that thick hull and free the soul. Sometimes I think I should take another route. To to create my own vision: a venue where we can love, let go, and be vulnerable. A place where we have trust in our partner, our music, our venue; that they will hold us and allow us to expose our inner selves with safety. To let our inner nature grow and strengthen, a place where we can let the tears of joy, the tears of pain, the tears of sorrow pour from our heads, drip, flow, splash through our arms, down our body, our legs, and pool at our feet onto our scared dance floor.
Attrition is a group statistic. It doesn’t apply to me.
Today I felt as if my face was being assaulted by some invisible force. My body cowered in fear, to protect the soft, weak, internal organs, I sieze up. My joins are tender and sore, my mind hazy and foggy. I’m unaware of my surroundings, until I am. Breaking free, an attitude change, a mind shift, a gritting of the teeth towards progress, I decide to take charge and embrace reality. Taking that energy, those feelings, I break through my chains, and let it flow, loosten, and relax into movement. I see the wake, the trails, of my motion in the air. Shining, glimmering the colors silently spread before fading into nothingness. The chaos and entropy of those invisible waves turned into movement in the breeze.
Rhythm is the display of restraint in the face of an incessant and driving beat
Okay, so you’ve got this backless dress, right? But no backless support setup… Crafty of all craftiness, you safety pin/stitch some ribbon to your bra, and tie a neat or delightfully loose bow. Magic!!
Keeping this in mind
Strength, Mobility, and Scar Tissue
Recently, I taught a drop in class on connection. Despite the slow pace, and lack of vocabulary (i.e. moves), it was a resounding success. I’m finding that as I become more confident and sure of my approach, my philosophy, and my methodologies, all of this translates into better teaching and commandment of my class. All that time thinking about the hows and whys of my movement is not wastes; it all translates into real difference of quality in dance and instruction.
Afterwards, I had the fortune of dancing with nearly all my my students that night. They were not afraid nor intimidated with asking a ‘professional’ to dance with them and seek additional feedback. As dance with more ‘leads’, usually men, I find that many of them are unable to torque and twist their torsos. An immobilized torso makes it nearly impossible to communicate basic movements, walks and weight sifts, to their partner, It removes the gushy parts of the dances, the powerful subtleties.
One student, a middle aged gentleman with all the trappings “sexiness”. a compact athletic body ripped with toned, hard lean muscle. A warm, sun tanned face topped with crop of salt and pepper hair. After our dance which he asked me to lead, he asked for feedback. The first thing that came to my mind was his torso, his abs, as ripped as it was, as many packs it all felt like a lump of scar tissue. It made me frustratingly sad. There was so muscle locked in his abdomen that there was no hope that we he would be able to move his powerful body the ways it was designed to. Indeed, even when I asked him to twist in his own, he was unable to. Strength does not imply mobility.
I fear that our society, with its focus on results, its focus external beauty, its focus on strength, its focus on the abdomen is destroying large swaths of people’s health. The torso, as indicated by the many bones in our spine, is designed to move, to wave, to undulate, to twist, torque, to store energy and explode in powerful lithe movement without brawn. Without this flexibility, how can our organs operate? They need to expand, contract, pulse and gurgle, and without mobility they cannot do the job they were designed to do.
Without flexibility, static, standing sexiness cannot translate to sexy movement. We want a lithe body, not a static body. From this view point, an immobile muscle may as well be scar tissue.