Whenever I hear ‘keep it simple’, I know that IT feels complicated, hence the reason for stripping away the extraneous stuff that is contributing to the complication, overwhelm, distraction, frustration, whatever you want to call it.
I have some feedback about this from my own ballroom teachers who have named me overthinking, too scientific and complicated. I have no explanation for this except, being a professional ballet dancer instilled a drive for perfection, precision and flow, the three working cooperatively to create a pleasing aesthetic experience.
Yet, there were times when the simplest learning seemed to be the most difficult. E. g. 3 rumba walks forward, swivel step to the side. I soon learned that it seemed ‘easier’ to analyze the heck out of a few steps than to just do it and start the process in this fashion: Don’t complicate first, simplify. But why do we do the former? That is why the Occam’s razor rule resonated so powerfully. Here it is via Webster:
William of Occam (also spelled “Ockham”) didn’t invent the rule associated with his name. Others had espoused the “keep it simple” concept before that 14th-century philosopher and theologian embraced it, but no one wielded the principle (also known as the law of parsimony) as relentlessly as he did. He used it to counter what he considered the fuzzy logic of his theological contemporaries, and his applications of it inspired 19th-century Scottish philosopher Sir William Hamilton to link Occam with the idea of cutting away extraneous material, giving us the modern name for the principle.
In F. M. Alexander’s principles, Occam’s razor lives in the technique and offers a simple yet profound thinking process as a jumping off point. It was after my training that I could see how simple and profound could share the same stage. Profound = all encompassing, complete. Simple = free of secondary complications.
I remind myself and my students to embrace the simplicity of the words; ‘allow my neck to be free so that my head can release forward and up’ It is all that we need to become aware of and talk ourselves into more freedom. Don’t try to feel it and check if it’s right, it is only the words that matter.
So the next time you you are stumped by a problem, either dancing or figuring out why your newly installed app is not working as expected, replace “why is this so difficult?” with ‘is there a simpler approach to solving this’?
And while you’re at it think ‘allow my neck to be free so that my head can release forward and up’ Try it – you may find a freer posture AND a simple solution!
If you want to find out more, book a lesson with me, either on Zoom or if you are in the NY/NJ area at my studio in Montclair, NJ. Please use my contact form, tell me about yourself and leave your availability. I will respond within 24 hours.
Happy Dancing! If you know other dancers who may benefit from reading my blog, please forward. If you are a studio owner, I offer workshops on location. Go to my home page to see an outline.