Because of the Lang Opportunity Award, I was able to continue my movement practice which I dedicate my semesters to. Being a contemporary dance student, it is important to maintain a continuous study of your craft but this is difficult without the proper instruction. Therefore, I dedicated my summer to experimenting in various movement practices and dancing almost every day. Here is a refection and description of one of the dance classes this award allowed me to take this summer!
We were a small group which made the class quite intimate. We started with some partner-work on the floor. The first practice was to touch our partner’s joints one by one and think about sending vibrations and making space in each joint. When I was acting upon my partner, Mina’s joints I tried to think about my hands as tectonic plates underneath an ocean and the vibrations were causing a tsunami so that the water would flood each joint which made sense today specifically because later on she spoke about the water within us quite frequently.
We then went along and traced each other’s bones. The goal was to try to separate the muscle from the bone. I think this felt good because of the pressing and rubbing which I believe breaks up our fascia and stimulates the neuromuscular system, if I remember correctly from my anatomy class (HaHa). Mina offered up the imagery of a fish kissing us which I thought was fitting since there was now an ocean inside of me.
Next we held each other’s heads while laying down and rocked them so that the body could follow which allowed for some interesting movement paths. I found this exercise particularly liberating because once my partner had the weight of my head I felt so light and loved following wherever she steered me.
We learned a phrase called the lazy dance that we started my first learning the vocabulary that built it in a circle facing each other then eventually faced forward with Mina in front like a classic class format. The movement involved a lot of flinging of the limbs and following the weight and energy that that directed.
We finished the class in two parts. First, we stood in a circle and imagined we were standing on moving sand, then we were training our eyes on an imaginary fly buzzing around us. Then we had holes in our body!
Finally, we walked from one end of the room to the other and were told to imagine we are shining and then we fade away and fall to the ground. I focused on a sheer piece of fabric lazily draped from the window acting as a curtain. I imagined the fabric found in rubble after the current civilization has come to an end as if we were the roman empire. I tried to tether my sense of urgency of life to it so that when someone found it they would feel the life radiating off of it. As I “faded” I thought of how all civilizations end and I thought of the ruins we admire from the past and I thought about all the centuries old artifacts in the MET and the Museum of Natural History, and how most of them are stolen. When I allowed myself to finally fall, I thought about a scene from the movie Gomorrah (about the Napolitán mafia) when a car crashes into some historical site with all of these marble statues. It may have been a cemetary. I’m not sure. In the movie that crash was planned in an effort to save someone inside the car and hurt them just enough but not kill them–funny enough. It was destruction done out of love.
Mina’s class required deep meditative concentration, woke up my body, as well as my mind to the little beauties around me and the of the body.