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…
How do you know you are getting old?
When you bend over to tie up you shoelaces you start to ask yourself:
“What else can I do while I’m down here?”
F rom fit young dancers and athletes to the elderly, bending over to reach down or go down to sit or lie on the floor and getting back up again presents a challenge to us all. While the motivations might be different, we can all benefit from inquiring into how we can make this easier for ourselves.
DIY Health Insurance
In a very profound way I consider investing in such an inquiry to be the very best form of health insurance. One of the biggest indicators for the elderly losing their ability to live independently is breaking a bone after a fall. The figures speak for themselves. One thing is for sure, we are all growing older.
The core practice for this workshop is a simple developmental sequence that begins in stillness tracing sensation through the body and releasing weight into the ground and transitions into gentle rolling and sliding on the floor. From there we explore how pushing into the floor creates the possibility to begin to come away from the floor towards and into sitting. And from there, awakening to the possibility to orient to the world around us stimulates reaching into space and the possibility to come up to standing.
Some dancers will recognise this as a variation of the developmental warm-up for contact improvisation. In this workshop however, this is our focus, and I’ve found that anyone of any age, senior citizens included, can enjoy and benefit from exploring this material in depth – even contact dancers!
As in all BodySchool workshops, well explore our anatomy, work with images and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement classes to continually clarify and bring more ease to this basic sequence.
And of course reversing the process creates the possibility to transition from standing softly back down into the floor. As the ability to receive support gets clearer then the lighter, easier and more powerful our sense of ourselves in all our activity can become. And while standing, then subjectively the floor doesn’t seem so far away, and the possibility of bringing ourself down to meet it, falling, becomes less scary, inviting maybe, and possibly even a pleasure.