We all spend time in our lives considering these questions, from both a literal and symbolic standpoint:
Where am I going? Am I going anywhere? Should I go somewhere? When I know where I want to go, how much time will it take? Do I have enough time to get there?
It is part of our humanity to have the ability to envision, to plan, to think ahead and to anticipate. Inspiring and frightening, we can ask these questions to plan anything as simple as a trip to the grocery store or to plan the next chapter of our lives.
One of the more powerful experiences for me as a dancer is to explore movement and unpack the layers of intention and meaning within my choices. This type of realization can grow like a the beginning of a strand of ivy, slowly building from one idea to a larger understanding – or it can come to me like a spark of insight where I literally feel compelled to write it down immediately for fear that I will lose it from my conscious awareness.
Spending time this summer within the Language of Dance foundations class at LMU for two days was a grounding refresher in this type of knowing. Though I took the course back in 2016, I felt charmed by my internal dialogue this time while we explored directions, pathways, and time. I found myself in a conversation with Beth Megill, one of the course facilitators, about it and then was compelled to write down these gems of thought in my sketchbook.
These gems of thought can be useful tools for a teacher in your movement exploration with your students, no matter their age – or – perhaps more powerfully, these can be insights that are helpful on a personal level for you. It is also entirely likely that your life path has caused you to think about these ideas and you can offer much in the discussion.
Realize that this collection of ideas is just that – a collection – and certainly not complete.
I also believe that our bodies know and want to express what we cannot necessarily say verbally so movement explorations of direction and time can be rich opportunities for helping movers understand themselves and give language to feelings that may be hard for dancers to define, especially younger dancers. The social-emotional learning opportunities with this kind of work within a classroom setting are significant. It is yet another chance to build that sense of empathy and compassion among a group.
That said, as teachers, we need to understand ourselves and process the meaning of our own expression to be grounded and available to support students in doing so as well.
I’d love to hear about your experiences of direction and time within your movement and your life. Do these ideas resonate for you? Feel free to post comments or send me a note.