Moving from the fish body

The core five-class Proto-technique series …

This series of classes is informed by my study of Steve Paxton’s Material For The Spine which is in part derived from contact improvisation (CI) which asks for full articulation of the torso particularly when dancing centre to centre with full body contact.

I have met students with technical trainings where they were told to minimise the use of the torso or even not move it at all. Though this is not common, I find the anatomy and articulation of the torso and head is a place everyone can grow their awareness and perceptual coordination.

Inhabiting our evolutionary inheritance

In the 3.5 billion year tale of human evolution, it is from our fish ancestors that we and our entire extended vertebrate family inherit our spinally organised head-tail structure. Legs arrived much later, and in some sense their function is simply to get the earth out of the way so that our spines can move as they did in the oceans in which they first evolved. Our arms arrived later still.

From this evolutionary perspective, the “fish body” represents our vital core while our legs and arms are the parts of ourselves that mediate with and enable us to navigate through our terrestrial world. This work supports a growing embodied understanding of the structure and movement potential of the head and torso. Attending to the “fish body” can create a feeling of core stability and spaciousness that enhances our sense of vitality in everything that we do.

This short clip shows the end of a “Proto-technique : Moving from the fish body” class where participants are encouraged to play with the material from the class. It was shot by Andrea Keiz at Stolzenhagen, Berlin in August 2012


Studying the “Fish Body” in different contexts

Since I find this material so fundamental to human movement, I offer it in two forms. For dancers in my Proto-technique class and for every body in BodySchool. The core material is very similar though the way it is presented is different. The Proto-technique dance class version is often presented as a daily morning class series where there is less time for dialogue and more time given to dancing at the end.

Because everyone works alone in these classes, no matter which context, then they may suitable for anyone to join – please ask the organisers. In BodySchool the classes tend to be organised in a weekend workshop format, there is more time for dialogue and not all classes end in dancing. Dancers who know my work often attend the BodySchool workshops.

it’s part lecture …
part anatomical exploration …
part guided movement exploration …
part Feldenkrais class …
 … and then free dancing

Juxtaposition

Proto-technique together with Sara Shelton Mann’s Body Process … video…