Why Attention to Contact is for Everyone

Why Attention to Contact is for Everyone

If you look at any beginner movement class, you'll see widely-varying degrees of bodily awareness. However, regardless of how someone moves, with a little bit of cueing, anyone can feel if they are in contact with the floor or not.

You don’t need skill or imagination to sense your contact with the floor. You may not be paying attention to it most of the time, but it doesn't require anatomical awareness to grasp what 'weight-bearing' is or to notice which of your parts have the most pressure.

Weight bearing is a constant thing (unless you are temporarily airborne, space traveling, or swimming, you are bearing weight, somehow).

Yet, the details of rolling contacts are rarely zeroed in on outside of higher-level movement environments. But...they could be.

Three Books That are Currently Inspiring My Teaching

Three Books That are Currently Inspiring My Teaching

The first is called ‘Bodyfulness’ by Boulder author Christine Caldwell. It’s swelling with information for or anyone who’s ready to look at the how and why of how they move. The author founded the Somatic Counseling program at Naropa University and has been in practice for more than thirty years.

She says:

“The body isn’t a thing we have but an experience we are. Bodyfulness is about working toward our potential as a whole human animal that breathes as well as thinks, moves as well as sits still, takes action as well as considers, and exists not because it thinks but because it dances, stretches, bounces, gazes, focuses, and attunes to others.“

Less Choreography, More Dance

Less Choreography, More Dance

Have you been to a dance class that was supposed to be beginner-appropriate or all-levels, but the class progressed in a way that made you want to disappear?

Maybe you had fun the first few minutes when the sequence was short, but then the instructor moved on, and on, and on. With rapidly dwindling confidence, you were left stumbling in the wake of an ever-growing sequence. Perhaps physically you could have done it all, but you needed more time to really 'get it'. It was just too much to remember.

I've been there. In classes and in auditions, I've been there.

You can only stumble around, a count behind everyone else, for so long before you want to shrivel into the corner and become unseen.

When you’re new to a style or form (or even just with a new teacher), learning a lengthy complex piece of choreography (maybe alongside people much younger or more skilled than you) is daunting and often
disheartening. Based on what I've observed, the amount of choreography delivered in many dance classes leaves a LOT of people behind.

In my opinion, if you are still trying to remember the choreo during the last minutes of class, you're missing out on the joy of dancing, the part where the movement starts to carry you and you can transcend who you were when you arrived.

My message is this: