Saturday, November 12, 2005

Touching or touchy

DA...NCE cites a UK Telegraph article wherein the founder of a dance award claims British ballet students are no longer being taught well due to a politically-correct ban on touch. This fellow's take on how things should be:

You have to push their bottom forward, pull their stomach in and push the shoulders down and back.


Yikes.

Not to the pushing and pulling bit. I'm constantly with my fingers in somebody's armpits or inner thighs, have found myself completely wrapped around a student, using my arms, legs, torso, and head in an effort to guide her or him into alignment. It's a running joke that I need a student intern (or two) since I'm forever running out of hands (and, to my regret, I can't grab myself sufficiently to get my body to do some of what I ask of it. I'll do the "I'm jealous of my students" post another time). In my Anatomy Awareness classes, I'll have my students doing that as well, by grabbing one's hand to put on another's body, so she can feel what's going on and hopefully understand the physical dynamic in question that much more. I have had some underage students, and toned it down with them mostly to avoid embarrassment on their part; likewise with some of my more conservative senior ladies. For most folks, though, it's pretty literally no holds barred.

That image, though, of the butt tucked under and the shoulders dragged down...that's the sort of thing I spend my time undoing. My blog title tells part of the story, of course; I also think that it is possible to keep the shoulders out of the ears in ways that don't involve stapling them to the hipbones. My goal is that each body part have its maximum available USEFUL mobility while instilling a sense of ease throughout. There are no cookie cutters involved.

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