“Why Do We Document Dance?” from the perspective of the movement analyst |written by Wooguru | the MTD lab in Budapest 2018

1. Subject: Why Do We document Dance?
1.5. What is dance? Why does dance deserve to be documented?
2. Premises: What is the human body? How can dance be documented?
2.5. How to sense one’s body as it is
3. A brief analysis of the movements of the dance teachers in the MTD lab in Budapest 2018
: The Compressed Lips While Dancing
1. Subject: Why Do We document Dance?
Documentation is the human trait in principle. Each of individuals documents one’s life on one’s terms. All types of documentation are to pass down the accumulated and refined knowledge to posterity in the hope of providing the better ground to start and enrich their lives. Dance documentation is also in line with the eventual goal of human activities.
1.5. What is dance? Why does dance deserve to be documented?
One’s spontaneous, and thus free movements are the origin of all kinds of the dance styles. The core of which to define the concept of the contemporary dance is the unweary yearn toward attaining the total freedom of the individual. Dance is the most explicit form of expression for individual freedom. Thereby, dance documentation can contribute the progress of humankind by fostering the awareness of the human body and its meaning.
2. Premises: What is the human body? How can dance be documented?
The human body is to sustain itself by continuous movements, which balance between inflows and outflows until the end of its life. Breathing movements initiate all physical actions of the body in principle. During inhalation, the body intakes oxygen to generate energy and becomes stretched upward and tensed to retain energy. Conversely, during exhalation, the body releases energy from itself and becomes relaxed and bent forward to the ground. Thereby, breathing control means being capable of adjusting the body freely during both inspiration and expiration. Each of human bodies has distinguishing features, which constantly generate the requirements of its own; the body moves automatically and naturally to satisfy its urges for its survival as it is. The human body is to attain its independence and spontaneity by retaining its inherent traits rooted in itself. Dance is one of the human activities to acquire the total freedom of the individual. The documentation of dance, which promotes duplication to learn specific movements without regard for the individual body, is not paradoxically adequate to retain traditions and methods; furthermore, it stifles the natural manifestation of one’s creative potentials by restricting one’s freedom of movement. Dance techniques and training methods should not play a role in dictating and restraining one’s way of moving before one is aware of one’s body and innate and thus organic breathing flow. Collecting information in dance forms the basis of one’s archive; however, to make the accumulated data useful and accessible, data has to be selected from one’s authentic perspective in determining the link between the fraction of the whole and the core of one’s body. Thereby, the individual conductor has to be capable of evaluating and filtering data in relation to oneself. And naturally, the selective data by the individual cannot cover all aspects of which to be addressed, but it can compensate its deficiency by communicating and collaborating with other individuals collecting and translating information from the viewpoints of their own; because humans are independent individuals but simultaneously social animals born interdependent each other. The dance educator is the person in the position that conveys the selective knowledge of the body according to the purpose of the class; selection is the act which is determined by how one interprets the information in the given situation. Hence, the dance educator has to be capable of grasping how the knowledge of the body works in the educator’s body to overcome the limitation in which one can only sense the body of one’s own as it is. In doing so, the possible best selection manifests itself in the course of translating the data of the body movement for the particular purpose into one’s own. In conclusion, the essential quality of the dance educator lies in the ability to sense the educator’s body as it is.
2.5. How to sense one’s body as it is
Breathing is prior to all types of body movements, which means that all dance techniques regardless of the styles unconditionally originate in breathing movements. To master a specific technique, one should be aware of which to enable the intended movements to happen in one’s body. One respiration comprises one inspiration and one expiration, which induces the continuous up-and-down motions. As mentioned above in paragraph 2, the body automatically regulates itself by balancing of inputs and outputs, tension and relaxation. During inhalation, the body becomes stretched and produce tension to retain energy. In contrast, during exhalation, the body becomes relaxed and bent forward to the ground and releases energy to recover its loss and fatigue in preparation for the next move. In fact, the importance of expiration in motion, which causes relaxation, is evidently neglected; therefore, most of the people feel the difficulties to control their bodies during exhalation and rather hold their breath to keep up the tension. However, to maintain the body in balance, the ability to exhale and relax during exercise has to be regained. The conscious mind controls the tension and contraction of the body; conversely, relaxation is the physical state of being not consciously controlled in which the gravitational force takes a role in maintaining the body in motion. The body does not collapse in standing while exhaling inducing the relaxation; because the body automatically regulates and protect itself; meaning, one should allow the gravitational force to pull the body downward, not obsessing with controlling by oneself during exhalation against the organic flow of the body. Accordingly, one can restore the inherent balance of one’s body and sense oneself as it is when breathing naturally.
3. The brief analysis of the movements of the dance teachers in the MTD lab in Budapest
I carefully watch people’s movements to understand how they feel and what they genuinely want. The following is the outstanding tendency found among teachers during the seminar in Budapest in March 2018.
: The compressed Lips While Dancing
The compressed lips while dancing appear with the facial muscle groups highly tensed, which stifles the natural process of expiration inducing the relaxation across the body. Evidently, facial muscles are supposed to become relaxed as one exhales to open itself; the mouth is naturally open to release the air as well as the nose, regardless of ways of breathing, e.g., the abdominal and the diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing through the nose naturally links to the abdominal breathing, which directly inflates the abdomen during inspiration. As the stomach swells, the center of gravity shifts downward to stabilize the body, and the body does not produce enough tension to sustain itself for intense physical activities of which to require the frequent shifting of the center of mass, ranging from walking to swimming. Keeping up the tension on the facial muscle groups during expiration is the determinant of inducing the thoracic breathing, also known as shallow breathing, which necessarily impairs the connectivity of the body and movements. More accurately, the body can intake air as much as it releases out of lungs; hence, breathing becomes more frequent and shallow in compensating the lack of oxygen; the range of motion is significantly limited. One can inflate lungs by breathing through the nose; however, it requires to generate the unnecessary tension during the entire process. In doing so, one has to concentrate on sustaining one’s body not to collapse and thereby cannot avoid being distracted continuously due to the lack of energy. The upright standing is the basic position of the human body in which to be supported by the diaphragmatic breathing. In maintaining the erect posture, the core muscles contract and narrow the abdominal space during inspiration; in succession, the lower back is inflated and stretched upward. In general, breathing is carried out through the mouth and the nose at the same time according to the natural process of respiration comprised of tension and relaxation; all body parts are interdependent to be cohesively connected as one organic entity of which to be affected and driven by the same determinant. The dependency on whether the mouth or the nose in breathing is entirely dependent on one’s purpose and way of moving, for instance, the response speed of the diaphragmatic breathing is much quicker than the abdominal breathing takes. Thus, the mouth plays a primary role in conducting the task which requires either the instant reactions or much power. Conversely, one can benefit from breathing through the nose to slow down the velocity of motion, and to move in place for physical activities like yoga and singing.

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