Friday, April 22, 2005

On about the ass again…

Happy to have just found out that a proposal to present a workshop/lecture demonstration at Immeasurable? The Dance in Dance Science conference at LABAN on July 23, 2005 has just been accepted. If you fancy going you can sign up via Laban’s website:

The title of my workshop will be:

Dancing from the Centre: Where is it? How do we find it? Does it matter?

This is a practical session where the idea of using and engaging the dancer’s centre will be questioned, examined and explored. Historically the contemporary dance class places emphasis on ‘dancing from the centre’ and phrases such as, “Engage your centre!” and “Use your centre!” These are things that dance teachers say but rarely explain. “Dance class is a ritual that hunts for the ever-elusive centre.” Is centre a place that is unique to each dancer that they come to discover over time by working with the weight of their body with respect to gravity or is centre an anatomical location that we can activate by sending a message down the neural pathways that run from our brain to certain muscles deep inside our core?

In this practical workshop, I will briefly present a brief introduction/review of the two traditional methods of locating centre; firstly, the geometric model (similar to Laban’s work with the kinesphere where the dancer comes to understand their centre through their relationship with space) and secondly, the biometric model (looking briefly at Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s work with the concept of navel radiation).

The majority of the practical session however, will focus on a new approach to finding centre I have been experimenting with in my own dance practice. It draws directly from the ancient somatic practice of yoga. Yoga introduces two of many locks (or bandhas) in the body that I have found of primary interest in this quest for centre. These two bandhas are called, Uddiyana Bandha (Navel Lock) performed by gently pulling the navel back and downwards to the spine and Mula Bandha (Anal Lock) performed by lifting up on the anal sphincter muscle. After some investigative play with these two bandhas, participants will experiment with movement from this perspective. I wish to end the session in discussion questioning the importance, necessity and movement aesthetic that stems from this huge topic of ‘the dancer’s centre’.

Erkert, J. (2003) Harnessing the Wind: The Art of Teaching Modern Dance. Human Kinetics, Chicago, USA. pp.44


Post a Comment

<< Home