Forward, backward, to the side, up and down. This blog is about the last block in this research: locomotion. Time to move through the space in different levels and directions. We divide locomotion in travel and elevation. First of all it is good to know how we define these terms. Travel is the ability to move the body across space on different levels and in different directions.

Elevation is the ability to move the centre of gravity efficiently between levels with control. In elevation we look at the total vertical plane. Not only jumping bit the whole range between the floor and up in the air. What you can read in our definitions is that control and efficiency are key. This was the main focus is the classes. Researching an efficient way to travel and expanding possibilities of moving.

It was nice to see that all the themes we have been working on, came together in this last block. The dancers spent a lot of time finding a safe alignment and strengthening the body. In this block we work on maintaining this while traveling.

Traveling can be a lot of fun and can make you feel free. To be able to feel free it is important to feel safe. Therefore many things are important. For example to have a clear build up in class for the body and mind. We made our class from a few topics:

  • Preparation
  • Moving between levels
  • Floorpattern
  • Travel turning
  • Game element
  • Cooling down

Preparing the body and creating an awareness of the body and space during the whole class is important. Traveling can be intense for the body. Be aware of to much overload. It is important for the practitioners to observe the dancers individually. Besides that, it is also important to guide the dancers to be aware of how their bodies feel and being able to communicate this to the teacher. This will develop the dancers autonomy in their learning process. They will need this skill in their development to professionalism. An important focus this block was a safe cool down. We used active stretching, massaging and a spikey ball for this. Important was to listen to what your body needs.

A challenge this block was jumping, especially for dancers with hyper mobility.  Also moving out of the floor efficiently. Therefore it was helpful to take time for this skills and find different ways of training via technic, imagery, improvisation and partnering. A new thing we found was the use of the wall to travel either horizontal and vertical. This task gave the dancers many new possibilities to travel and gave them the possibility to challenge themselves and feel safe at the same time. They had the wall to guide them in their movement in many different ways. It helped building strength and moving with controle.

During this block we could see that the courage and power in the body to go up and down has increased. When the dancers move towards the ground, there is a far deeper level of security and efficient in the body. This results in the fact that moving up and down became easier, safer and with more variety as it did before. Also some of the dancers made their first jumps!

Traveling is a skill we can develop via training. It is physical but also social and emotional. The biopsychosocial model, were we wrote about before, also applies here. The dancers train how to travel with their bodies, sharing the space with others and it takes trust and courage to travel with full dedication. Time, trust and training will pay off!

By Manouk Schrauwen


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