Thoughts on this 5 day workshop with two quite different but equally wonderful and inspirational dancers and performers. Shared notes to myself…
‘Moving from Touch’
Jaw. Our whole body is connected. The mandible is loose and only connected through joint and muscles.
Yawning. Leads to breathing and releasing. Let the breath take you in and out of the floor. A natural flow of the body. All of your body parts yawns. The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet yawns. They are breathing and explores the space through touch, and takes your weight in and out of the floor.
Be generous with your weight. The same amount of weight you give in to the floor, the same amount you will get back to support you. GENEROUS. An important word we don’t use enough. It is important to be generous to get something back. In life, in dance, in art, in society. “How much weight should I give?” (Into the floor and on our partner) “Generously”.
Effortlessly. Moving without any forceful doing. The breathe makes you feel weightless. Like the diaphragm moves involuntarily up and down creating space for breath and a breath flow, our body can move up and down from and to the floor.
Senses. (Comically a theme that keeps on returning to me…)
Be curious with your senses. Be curious about what you see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Judgements, ingrained patterns and relations to what we sense. Try to sense things in a way you haven’t before. Can the negative be positive?
Contact improvisation through weight bearing and opposition. Move and listen to you partner with all of your senses.
Diaphragm. It is the muscle that makes us breathe. That makes us live. That makes us move. If you are not using it to its fullest use it can shrink or “dry out”. It is a muscle that moves even if you try to control it, it is involuntary, like the heart. But it is also voluntary, we can control it to a certain degree, decide the length of our breath, but that is usually when we distort our breath and get shallow breathing.
It is like a big jellyfish or mushroom with two stems.
It moves down, presses our organs downwards and as a result our lungs expands and fills with air. When it moves up, it presses the air out as the organs fill up the space again. The diaphragm follows the dome shape the ribs and lungs create, when it is relaxed. When the diaphragm expands down, the lungs follows and expands, together with heart that also expands.
The heart, lungs and diaphragm all move and expand together.
“I do not like the word ribcage. It feels contrived, tense and closed. There fore I use the word rib basket.” In Swedish we say bröstkorg = chest/breast basket.
Breathe in to you back, and let it move you into contraction as you breathe in, into an arch when you breathe out. Expand into different directions. Let the breath into your back move you.
Lift your partner’s rib basket, creating relief for their diaphragm and let them walk.
Stand on all four and breathe into your partners hands. Place your hands on your partner and feel your partners breath in your palms. Let their breath move your hands to different parts. Let their body release into your hands. Your hands allows them to breathe deeper and move from within.
Breathe into each others backs.
“See what you look at”. We don’t really see. We don’t really hear. We tell ourselves to do. Instead of just doing. Sink into it. Allow time to happen and allow yourself to sink into yourself.
First we see. Then put your palms on your eyelids. They soften. See without effort. Soft sight. See what you look at. Then we hear. Really hear.
Shoulder socket. Eye ball socket. Hip socket.
Lying on the floor. Move your shoulder. The shoulder socket is shallow. There is a lot of movement to it. The shoulder blade is only attached to your sternum with your clavicle.
Feel your upper arm bone rolling in the socket. Let that movement initiate your body’s movement. Let your bone sink into your socket.
If you let your bone sink further into your socket you actually get more movement because that is your joints natural state. If you force space and try to pull your arm out of its joint it will create restriction and pain because the tendons and muscles are strained.
Your back is connected to you fingers. Your thumb is connected to your cervical spine, your index finger connected to your upper thoracic spine, your middle finger connected to your lower thoracic, your ring finger connected to your lumbar spine and your little finger connected to your coccyx. Move your hands like an angel in the snow and feel how your spine is connected to your hands.
Your sockets in hips and shoulders are deepening. Soft and deep sockets. Soft sight. Soft hips. Soft shoulders.
Legs are deepening and rolling in hip sockets, shoulders are deepening and rolling on shoulder sockets, the eyes are seeing what you are looking at. And they all are moving in relation with your spine.
Skull. Palate. Shoulders. Diaphragm. Hips. Knees. Feet. Domes.
Inform your partner about their domes by giving them touch through your domes and body parts. Let your energy patiently sink into their body. See their domes in front of you as you give touch. “You are not pushing, but you are pushing. It is more thought than doing. You are not pushing, but you are pushing. Think it rather than do it.”
Move your partner by finding their domes with your body. Find new domes. Move by feeling your domes through your partners touch.
After moving write. The writing that comes out of moving is often different and more truthful than writing that comes from thinking.
Awake dream mode. This place in between awake and asleep. Some people like to call it meditation. It is the place where we can go the deepest inside ourselves. The place where we are in touch with our unconscious and can move truthfully. A state where we are open to receive touch and open to create. “I always tell my students that it is ok to fall asleep in my class. I believe this is the state we learn the most about ourselves”.
Trace your digestion system. Mouth. Mucous membranes. Tongue. Leading into you throat and digestion tube. Soft. Movable. Going into chest. As it is meeting your diaphragm is turns into your stomach (lying just by the outline of your left ribs), then it turns into your small intestine (7 meters long and occupying the space around your belly button), then it turns into your large intestine (from your right hip, follows up along your right side, over your small intestine, down your left side, and ending up in your anus). Trace it with your fingers.
It is movable. Your breathe is moving your intestines and they massage your inner body. Saliva. Feel how the saliva is moving through your body as you swallow. As you move you massage your intestines. They support you. Without using any muscle force these organs fill up your body and support you in your movement. You are moving from your intestines. And as you move they follow.
Soft. Soft throat. Soft organs. Soft support. Movable. Massaging.
Spine. Spine is supporting you in the back and center. Tracing it from the top cervical vertebrae (in height of your ear), down to your thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine, at last your coccyx. Every vertebrae can move. The movement is initiated by your spine.
It is like waves on the sea. A snake in the desert.
You move from the support and movement from your organs parallel with the support and movement from your spine. Both starting inside your skull and ending at your anus.
This way of moving allows more strength and efficiency because you are moving effortlessly.