I spend a lot of time thinking about how my body moves during every day tasks. Reaching down into the dishwasher, bending to to pick up a dropped item off the floor, twisting to look into the back seat of the car (not while driving, lol!). We execute these types of movements countless times throughout the day.
When we get into the studio, the way we move completely changes. We begin to purposely and purposefully place and arrange and move ourselves with the utmost care and thought. We expend an enormous amount of focused energy to organize our bodies into demonstrative movement.
And while this is an essential process, we can take it too far. The easiest way to illustrate over-thinking is to ask a group of students to walk across the floor. Easy. Done. Then I’ll start to explain to them how to walk. I’ll break it down into as many steps as possible:
Standing with feet parallel, transfer your weight into the right foot.
At the same time lift the left leg off the floor very slightly and swing the leg forward.
At the same time swing the right arm forward.
Now lower the heel of the left leg and begin to transfer your weight onto it…………
Do you see how something so simple and natural, something we do without thinking has now become a complicated maneuver? Whenever I do this exercise with my students they freeze and can barely move at first and when they get going the walk is not natural at all.
It is a useful exercise to approach movement with a relaxed ease, without overthinking. I do not mean that you should forget to attend to your technique and let effort fly out the window! But approaching movement with a natural momentum, calm and without overly engaging the thought process, can completely transform your dancing.
Why not take a walk today and remind yourself how easily your body is able to move?
© Lauran M. Callan and brilliantdance, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauran M. Callan and brilliantdance with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.