Thursday, December 18, 2008

Eight Hours of Dance, Three Days of Joy

My body, stiff and uncertain.
As I go through the paces, my movements utterly jerky and perhaps unco-ordinated as compared to the smooth flow of our teacher and some of the more agile students in the class, I still feel happy on the whole. I am a bit self-conscious and a bit sad, that I did not awaken to my body’s movements earlier.
The body needs to speak and has its own language of expression. And this comes through easier if it is agile and easy, not fragile or stiff. Bending, lifting, rising, jumping, folding, spreading, pointing and arching, each movement required a different set of muscles to work.
Sumeet Nagdev of Expressions, Dadar, Mumbai, (EMDC), our teacher, who is young, compassionate, and filled with his love for dance, tells us that there are 7 rules for dance, as per his theory.
1. The BODY is one entity. YOU are another entity, separate from the body.
2. Two basic functions /movements of the body are RELEASE and CONTROL.
3. SPACE determines your movement. If you do not have space, you cannot move. There are three levels of space, upper, middle and lower. The upper level of space is the most difficult to move in.
4. GRAVITY is the reason for this, since gravity pulls you down. You can CHALLENGE Gravity, but you cannot DEFY it.
5. The body has its LIMITATIONS.
6. The MIND can make your body work/move, so there are actually YOU, BODY and MIND at work during dance.
7. When you dance, keeping all this is mind, you achieve SELF-ACTUALIZATION.
Well, that was the theoretical part of it, which I guess counts, but the sheer joy of movement, as individuals and as part of a group, without music and with music, all made it fun and fascinating. We learnt the basics-point, passé, fasse, sashay, adaggio, what the terms meant and the positions they alluded to, how to release and control the body, how to move with patience and determination, to jump in the air and to bend over backwards, to flatten our spines and crouch like a tiger. There were exercises and games like ‘mirror’, chasing the little finger, the moving hands and others, just to improve focus, co-ordination and concentration, and to show how every boy’s body speaks its own language, moves in its particular way.
There is a need to keep the body supple and flexible so that it continues to move with grace and life becomes a celebration of movement.
Blood, bone, muscle, skin, the body suddenly acquired a new meaning!
Step-sashay, step-sashay; step, together/ step-sashay!

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