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October 20th, 2014

About teaching from the body to the bodies

We have been revisiting the concept of teaching from the inner body. Facilitating a group of people towards moving from an energetic place is best served by a leader who inhabits this place, then proceeds with directions from there.

This process requires sensitivity, confidence, and patience. The planning for such a form of facilitation is embodiment, practice. I often feel like my thinking brain wants to take over during preparation processes, and I have to calm myself down in order to not over plan what cannot be planned, but that must be spoken from the inside out. Much like preparing for a presentation, preparing to lead a class thrives on really knowing your material and then letting it live through you during the actual event.

Karen asked if I would like to lead an introduction to contact improvisation, and I did so last Wednesday. I reviewed some of the finer tuning of introducing a practice that requires consistent physical contact.

Some important cues:
-notice what is being offered to you, and respond to that
-always take responsibility for yourself – if you are in dangerous moment, take the measures to take care of yourself
-you are actively participating with choice and permission
-speak up if you need to

We began with the small dance: Stand with feet under hips. Close the eyes. Notice how your body is constantly making small adjustments in order to keep you standing. What reflexes are being activated? You can always come back and tune in to the small dance. (This reminded me of our home base concept that we use in the Elders classes)

We then proceeded to explore the rolling point of contact: Experiment with your foot rolling on the ground. Feel the difference between sliding and rolling, over your toes, heels, sole, or sides. Now find a partner and dance a duet around the rolling point of contact from the head. (Karen and I danced the head connected dance as an example)

This introduction was good practice for embodying the directions. Focusing on subtle sensation and using that as your dance material (in a physics based manner) has the potential for creating new pathways in the dancing body, and opening your awareness to the dance that exists between you and your partner.

It was stunning to see how receptive everyone was to this introduction. It was a strong fit to follow the energy body practice. The dances were beautiful, sensitive and open.