Adult Ballet, Adult Education, Arts, Dance, Human body, Learning
My teacher, Bjarne, gave me an adjustment about balancing and it opened the door to many things.
– The exercise I was doing – balancing on one leg with the other leg in front of me, bent at an angle (in attitude).
– He could see that I was in my head which leads me to struggle for the balance.
– His solution was to look out into the room, not fixated on a spot, just be in the space. He explained that when he went into a new theatre to dance he would go on the stage and ground himself in the fixtures of the theatre – the little red light at the back, the exits signs etc. He would align his geometry with the geometry of the theatre he was in.
– I understood what he meant and how relaxing it is to calmly be where I am, in the room. So challenging to repeat but a new goal. I could feel within myself a thread of worry that was part of my state of being that when brought into balancing brought uncertainly, and tension with it. Is this worry a result of being a student in a class? More likely, always with me and a habit that has embedded itself in the fiber of my being.
Well, that opened up an exploration of what it is to be in space. Just like our eyes are constantly adjusting their focal point and our feet are giving feedback to our bodies to balance us, our bodies are constantly getting feedback from the world around us. Because this sense ‘spatial awareness’ is not included in the commonly known five senses – touch, sight, hearing, seeing and tasting – we tend to be asleep about it but it is part of our operational package. A blind person is conscience of this innate sense and uses it as effortlessly as we use our eyes.
We are constantly sending out sensors to tell us where we are in space. That is why we can sit in a chair without looking at it, feel differently in a cathedral than we do in a baseball field or an elevator. There is nothing woo woo about this sense, it’s as important as any of the others for our basic functioning. I wonder if our lack of including it in the basic five senses that we teach all school children makes us so obsessed with how we are feeling/doing/thinking/behaving. It keeps us focused on self. We don’t bring to consciousness this skill that is the connective tissue to our world, to each other. It is this sense that reaches us out of ourselves while touch, sight, hearing, seeing and tasting are all contained within us.
What I learned from that one correction was that I have a thread of worry/concern that I carry with me. When I am able to be free of it by doing what Bjarne recommended I feel calm and elated and present and free. And balancing is so easy.
I find this extremely difficult to do and the change will happen by building second on second. But the dance is in this adjustment, the dance of my life.
Your ballet practice brings to mind martial arts. About so much more than the manipulation of your physical body. Love how your current journey has so many echoes of previous steps along your path. A true inspiration.