If you have a dog, cat, horse, or other pet, watch how they move. Notice how they amble, run, trot, roll, sit, jump, breathe and generally instruct us on their easeful use. They don’t know that they are coordinated, they just are, like little kids. They rely on instinctive behavior.
Their ‘posture’ is more about moving from one fluid position to another – their bodies working in harmony as a whole.
Take horses, for example. They are among the most trained animals, for riding, racing, pulling, working. The equestrian sport dressage is probably the most codified horse training where precise choreography is taught via a synergistic partnership between rider and horse. It’s easy to draw a parallel between their relationship and the one we all have with our ballroom partners.
Our open and closed routines are examples of the same type of skillfully executed moves performed before judges that record a score for each dance. The dressage rider leads and the horse follows. BUT, without an economy of effort and a clear intention on the part of the rider, the synergy fractures and the horse is confused. Ever been there with your partner – the one who is leading?
In the best of worlds, this will happen at some point – we are human and our minds wander, losing focus in the moment.
Unlike animals whose survival is based on their efficient hunting methods, our modern world doesn’t require that we maintain focus or move well in order to survive on a daily basis. In our contemporary, industrial culture, familiar habits guide us, often hidden, unconscious and troublesome.
But wouldn’t it be great to have the coordination of a cat, completely in the moment, ready to spring into action with just enough muscular energy to catch that mouse, string or catnip toy?
Here are 4 ways that you can incorporate these animalistic qualities into your dancing:
- Be aware of your surroundings (think animal).
- Exhale completely. This will help your next inhale fill your lungs and expand your torso while taking in more oxygen.
- Think your neck muscles to release so that your head will continually balance and re-balance on top of your spine.
- Cycle through these thoughts as a wish, without tension or judgement.
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