Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dance concepts for cello practice?

I'm taking a solo dance class and there are some really interesting concepts that I think can be applied to cello practice. Below are notes forwarded to me by our teacher Brooke.


Notes for 10-week Session on Technique & Artistry, Winter 2012
(Please chew, digest, embrace, disagree, & add to these…)

1)  Craft of a discipline, Skillful means, Skill set
2)  Practice-based, Cumulative
3)  Relative to goals/intentions (“good” technique in one context can be considered “bad” technique in another) – what are ours?
4)  The “How” of what we’re doing/expressing/being in contemporary dance

1)  Evoked/Invoked through Intention – an intention born from, or dropped into, our body-mind, and held within while moving, invokes imagination, subtlety, and nuance in our quality of moving that is captivating, magnetic, and “artistic.”  The intention can range from an image, to a question, to a word, to simply the desire to be available and present.  The intention can even be to find the intention.  It is, at heart, a call to bring one’s whole self (body, mind, heart, senses, imagination, etc) into the singular immediacy of the moment at hand.  Can be playful, serious, or both, but is whole-hearted, we could say.

2)  Evoked/Invoked through Attention – both personal and universal.  My attention is here with this movement; a profound Attention is moving me as this movement.  Presence, curiosity, a sense of discovering my body and the environment in the process of moving – WHAT IS THIS?  A sense of  “this is the first time I’ve ever moved” AND “this is the last time I might ever move.”  A way of discovering and knowing what it is to be alive that includes mind and body, but is also beyond both.

** Marriage of Technique and Artistry is an ever-deepening process and practice, and is cause for captivating performance (in life and art), and deeply satisfying, transformative experience.  **

Concepts/Dualities We’ll Work With:
1)  Contraction/Expansion
2)  Ascending/Descending
3)  Resist/Release
4)  Will/Allow
5)  Linearity/Circularity
6)  One/Many
7)  Improvisation/Choreography (Freedom/Structure)

Body Concepts:
1)  Head/Tail
2)  Core/Distal
3)  Upper/Lower
4)  Body Halves
5)  Cross Lateral
6)  Interior/Exterior (Subjective/Objective)
7)  Concealing/Revealing
8)  Control & Specificity of movement
9)  Facial expression
10)  Breath & Vocal expression

1)  Gravity
2)  Floor
3)  Other dancers
4)  An Idea/Image
5)  Something greater than self:  Intuition/ “We”/ Inner Voice/ Spirit/ God/ Self/ a Guide
6)  Movement/ Music
7)  No partner/ Nondual

Context for Learning:
1)  Concepts – Experience – Reflection
2)  Challenge + Support

Intention for 10 Weeks:
1)  What do I want?
2)  Really, what do I really want?
3)  What wants me?
Nuggets from these three combined, framed open-endedly, perhaps as a question


I've taken two lessons and its been very interesting so far, especially the exploration of body movement concepts that can be applied, e.g. moving linearly or circularly using different body parts. Or being aware of how the body can be divided and used across different axis points and how it affects one another. 

For example: cross lateral movement can be applied with left hand fingering and right hand bow movement, or head/tail concept for good cello posture, or interior/exterior with regards to how I want the piece to be played and how it is heard by the audience...actually I think all of these dance concepts can apply to playing the cello! Under the Partners categories, instead of "dancers," it can be applied to other "musicians." This is going to be a very interesting course! Exciting stuff! :).

What I think is especially interesting is the concept of intention versus attention applied to both dancing and cello playing. I'll have to digest these concepts a bit more and blog about it at the end of the 10 week course. 

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