partnerdanceonline.com
April 19, 2014, 03:40:14 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: A lot of people are visiting Smiley Smiley
Undecided Undecided but not many are posting....
please say hi Cheesy
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: GreenEyes' Feather Quill  (Read 3965 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« on: March 23, 2011, 05:43:34 PM »

I love dancing as much as I love writing. When I discovered this BloggySpot, I was thrilled to think I could have a dance blog for an audience that may appreciate it =D. I write mainly stories about my experiences with dancing for a small audience of family and friends. They enjoy them, but I don't know if they always understand. So I'll write here, and any kind feedback - if you have any - is always encouraged Smiley. Please don't hesitate to be critical, either!

P.S. Like my title? Smiley
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 06:09:05 PM »

A few months ago, I felt “stuck” in my dancing. I had reached a plateau: I didn’t know how to improve, motivate myself, or find fulfillment in dancing.  I was worn out from the mental abuse I dealt myself in the form of “should’s.” I’d go to practice, but I didn’t try very hard, and then I felt guilty about it. It was difficult to give 100% all the time, and I couldn’t figure out how to gain back my motivation. Then one day, on my 40-minute walk to work, I figured it out: I no longer owned my dancing. It was…someone else’s. I was trying to replicate the way someone else moved, and the personality in my dancing left.

Rumba is the one dance I most often feel like I own. When I danced my rumba prior to that plateau period, it was mine. It may not have been perfectly correct, and it may not have looked the prettiest, but it was mine. I owned it. No one else could do it like I could. And some people even told me they admired it. They wanted to imitate it. I felt like an expert at this dance because I believed I knew how it worked in my own body. After one of the fall competitions I attended, though, I gave that power away. I took a lesson with a different coach and she introduced some new technique. All of a sudden, I thought I had been dancing my rumba incorrectly. I panicked and became anxious to learn how to change it to make it "right." Somewhere, though, I felt a loss of control. It became someone else’s dance…not mine. Along with that ownership went my infatuation. At the time, I didn't understand what had happened, and it took about two months for me to figure it out (note "long walk to work" above). Within that time, I no longer received compliments on my dancing. Coaches and peer teachers told me I need to do more this and more of that. I felt a deep sense of loss and confusion. There was a void in my life and I didn't know how to fix it.

After realizing that ownership was a key part of dancing, I returned to a weekly lesson with my peers. At these lessons, we dance for each other, make comparisons, and offer feedback. On that day, we were comparing rumbas. When it was my partner’s and my turn to dance, I decided to take back my ownership. I seized a sense of power out of defiance and out of indifference for what anyone else thought. I was tired of trying to do what I was “supposed” to do and then getting feedback that I lacked this and that. At this moment, though, I decided that my dancing was mine. I wasn’t going to think about my feet or my core or technique or what anyone else thought. I was just going to do it. In the end, and to my surprise, my peers all thought my partner and I danced really well.

My understanding of what happened in that moment is that I entered that state of awareness that Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey write about in the Inner Game books. I stopped giving myself instruction and just "danced" - whatever that meant. My idea of “owning” my dance connects to two main ideas that members of this forum have discussed in becoming a better dancer: 1) I left my ego behind by no longer caring what anyone thought of me, and 2) I stopped trying to analyze/instruct myself on what I was doing. That particular event made an impression on my partner as well. When I was ready to dance, he sensed that I had changed somehow. He said this change made him dance better, too.

Because we talk so much about being aware and letting go of the ego, I wanted to add another dimension of ownership. I don't know whether it is a precursor or a result of the two principles of good dancing, but I wanted to draw attention to the fact that it has a role, too: I believe being a good dancer is knowing and owning thyself...giving and being all you can be.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 07:11:42 PM by GreenEyes26 » Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 06:10:59 PM »

With all of my reading on analytical thinking vs. awareness, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m more of a right-brained thinker. I’m not sure if “right-brain” and “left-brain” are sufficient terms, but I think everyone here will know what I’m talking about.

When I began dancing ballroom, I had learned some swing dancing from friends, I had taken an 8-week salsa dance course, and I had taken one or two intro lessons in ballroom (I think some smooth waltz and foxtrot). Those crash-course lessons gave me a little knowledge of how to move on the floor without my feet getting stepped on. Sidebar: I had also studied a combination of jazz, ballet, and tap dancing for a total of 10 years. When I got on the social dance floor, though, I never felt I had too much problem following. I laugh when I think about this now, but at the time dancing (for the lady) was just following the lead: I moved wherever the lead put me. I couldn’t do anything really complex, but I got around the floor easily enough with simple figures. A few times, experienced dancers would say, “Have you danced before?” Thinking they meant ballroom, I’d respond, “A little…but not really.” “Huh,” they’d respond. “You follow really well.” “Thanks!” At a dance event someone asked me how I knew how to swing dance, and they asked me to teach them. I couldn’t. I had no clue how I did whatever I did. Swing dancing may be different, but it still reflects how I thought about dancing.

My junior year of college, I joined the ballroom dance team. I was surprised by how analytical it all was and by how they broke everything down into the tiniest of details about where each side of your toe was supposed to be. After becoming a regular and making some friends, I learned that the majority of the team was made up of engineers and math/science majors. I was one of the few liberal arts students (English). I remember being both frustrated and in awe of how they could tell you what each body part was supposed to be doing. How was I supposed to know? Who cares where X is or Y is?? Everyone looks so stiff! Why can’t they just move normally? However, knowing very little about ballroom and being determined to learn, I worked hard to focus on where my foot was and what my arm was doing and what it meant for a hip flexor to be open. Technique ruled. The stiffness in the dancing eventually became normal to me. In fact, I thought that ballroom was supposed to look that way. It wasn’t until months later that my Latin coach gave us permission to actually dance. I say, “gave us permission,” but (because he had only been our coach for a few months) he actually informed us that what we were doing wasn’t dancing. I remember that day – I remember feeling free to dance. When we did some rounds, he noted me out loud and said I was the only one actually dancing. Finally, I thought.

One more memory: after I took my first private standard lesson with my coach, I felt like I was as light as air. Dancing with him was like dancing on clouds. My coach spoke well of me to another team mate afterward. He said he could tell I was a good dancer. Then, about a year later, I took another lesson with him (I think my partner and I had been taking from his partner/wife during the time in between). This time, though, he said my frame was contracting inwards and I felt really stiff when I danced with him. There wasn’t much praise this time, just instruction and some encouragement. I sensed, though, that he wondered what had happened. I wondered too, because I felt “ruined” somehow…but I thought it was because I didn’t understand how to dance.

Finding this “new” idea of being aware instead of analytical is exciting to me…or maybe more of a relief. It makes me think that I’m not slow when it comes to dancing; that it’s ok to not have to think about contracting my abdominals or putting my hip here or my leg “just so” as I move. It’s kind of sad to think that I thought my “first” dance instinct - my “inner dancer” - was wrong for about two years and that I felt I needed to change. But it makes me happy to know the contrary – that it wasn’t “wrong” - and that I may have been right after all. I’m hoping to learn how to dance in this new way: using the “right brain” and how to be “aware.” I’m going to be starting a new chapter of my life soon, and I think a lesson in this way of dancing would be a great introduction.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 07:07:07 PM by GreenEyes26 » Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
*
Posts: 1437


« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 07:02:52 PM »

Loved reading it all.  Yes, I suspect you had it right all along too.  Wink
Logged
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2011, 04:06:28 PM »

My partner asked me a question about the study and the writing of literature. As I was writing it, it occurred to me that it resembled discussions that I've read on dancing that I wanted to post it here (I became so excited!):

Question: So you know, we analyze some of the great literature, why it is so good, etc. And we can write papers and papers on these books. But I am wondering whether the authors of those books realized all those theories of being good novelists/authors. It seems to me that it was more of a sense of intuition.

My Answer:lol. This is something we've talked about in my classes, and I still don't think I have a solid answer for. From what I've read and experienced, the theories come from those who've studied the works, not the writers themselves. I'm going to try to outline this:

1) Writers develop techniques or styling based on the time period. They read each others work and whatever came before them. They imitate what they read to an extent, but then make it unique to themselves. The style is often based on political, religious, and cultural happenings of the time, as well as any philosophical ideas coming into popularity. From what I can tell, however, none of the styling is based on a formula (besides poetry with meter).

2) I think scholars noticed how writers had these similar techniques and styling and tried to understand the deeper messages the writers were thinking about based on the language and syntax used. 

3) The scholars then develop theories about the writing. The authors of literature may have been aware of the theories in practice as they wrote (like intuition), but they didn't try to fit their work into any kind of structure. Sometimes, details are "planted" in literature by the authors. For instance, I think Charles Dickens was very particular about his word choice in describing scenes, Henry James was careful to be as vague as possible, and Jane Austen changed the syntax of her writing so that the reader would unconsciously change his/her perspective with Elizabeth Bennett's. I'm positive these authors are aware of the type of narrator they have for their books, too, but I don't believe they thought, "I'm going to use this narrator because it's going to do x, y, and z for the reader, which will make them reflect on A, B, C and question how X and B fit together." I think they thought, "How can I make the reader see this point I'm trying to make? (They write something down, maybe revise it 50 times, and then...)There! That'll do it! Let's do that again!"

(Then I thought...hmm intuition vs. structure...interesting!)
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
*
Posts: 1437


« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 04:57:54 PM »

You're definitely on to something there.  My coach always reminds me that the technique book is not a "how to" book, it's more of an end-result book.  The book was written by somebody who watched and described what they saw.   
Logged
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 01:00:48 AM »

My coach always reminds me that the technique book is not a "how to" book, it's more of an end-result book.

It's so weird to think of it in that way, but it makes a lot of sense!
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 01:07:01 AM »

I found this in Dance Forums (c/o btfgus):

After the usual strain of qualifying questions, it was decided they would work on the waltz. Len was in his immaculate suit with a flower in his lapel, and put on the record. My teacher began to dance to the track whilst Len gazed out the window not looking at them once. The track played out and they were instructed to dance to the next track.

Len continued to look out the window not paying them any visual attention. The pupils were rather annoyed by this stage. Turned out he could hear the quality of their movement, the way their feet would strike the floor.


Goal. Smiley
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 07:59:50 PM »

“Goals” is such a lofty word. It reminds me of clouds: you see them but they’re too far away to actually touch. I think of accomplishing a goal in a similar, unattainable way, too. I imagine that meeting a goal would take a leap of extraordinary efforts and it would feel like slaying a dragon. And then an incredible feeling of glory would follow - a beam of sunlight would shine on me and a choir would sing.
 
Funny enough, I recently met several of my goals this last month…and none of that happened J.
 
For instance, I had goals of:
-         being mentored and becoming a mentor in something important to me
-         performing a Smooth-Standard routine and a Rumba in beautiful outfits in an elegant venue
-         Getting to gold level in my competitive dancing (Standard and Latin) by the end of this season
 
I had actually forgotten about my goals until after I achieved them. I had been concentrating so much on taking the little steps to get there (choreographing routines late at night, stressfully looking for fabric, and remembering to pay competition fees) that in the end accomplishing my goals was after-thought. I was walking home after my team’s showcase, for instance, and said to myself, “Wait a minute - I had this goal/dream once…and I think I just met it.”

While it was neat to think that I met my goals without realizing it, I noticed that the moment was somewhat anticlimactic. I'm now finding that this sense of anti-climax, though, is not uncommon. I read a book called, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. In it, he talks about running from Athens to Marathon in Greece. The weather was hot and the journey difficult. When reached the end, his "muscles felt like they had been shaved away with a rusty plane." Most notably, though, he states: "I finally reach the end. Strangely, I have no feeling of accomplishment." What is it about reaching a goal that brings no immediate joy afterward but rather relief or mental numbness or even indifference?  Shouldn't we feel the "glory"? Shouldn't we feel amazing? Why don't we?

I think it's because many of us expect goals to be almost unattainable, and when we reach them, we should change somehow. But I think many times the changes take place little by little along the way. It's like any sort of trip: if you step outside and keep walking - one foot in front of the other - and eventually you will get to the next city. Your friends and family might think you're amazing (or crazy) for doing such a thing, but it actually makes logical sense. When you take little steps along the way, the giant leap to reach something isn't necessary and dramatic change in yourself doesn't happen in one sweep.

I also like to put the "little steps" idea in the context of the Olympics, for those of us who need a picture with high goals:
 
Competing in the Olympics seems like a huge feat to accomplish. But if you’ve trained every day for several years, sought expert advice on nutrition, physical training, mental training, moved closer to your resources, and applied most of your knowledge, time, energy, and money to your sport…why wouldn’t you get there? It makes sense that you would, because you’ve taken all the little steps. Again, an extraordinary leap wouldn’t be necessary, and it seems that a goal is not so unthinkable or incredible in this context.

So, as the season for me comes to a close and I take stock of all that I've accomplished this past year, I realize that I did a lot - more than I dreamed, in fact. However, I didn’t slay a dragon and I didn’t make any extraordinary leaps. I just followed a yellow-brick road one step at a time. It doesn't make what I did any less amazing, but it does make other goals that I have seem probable to achieve. It's very hopeful, in fact. It makes me believe that as I set my goals for the future, they aren't clouds I will never touch, but instead tangible objects that I will one day hold. 
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
millitiz
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 220


« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 10:50:05 PM »

I think I should say this, even though...

Congratulation on reaching your goals! I especially like the first one.
Logged
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2011, 12:04:00 AM »

As I've progressed as a dancer, I've never thought that my skills "improved." Rather, I believed my inner dancer was able to finally show itself. Like Michelangelo said about the sculptor finding the statue in the stone, I feel like I'm showing the inner dancer in me. Have any of you ever felt this way?
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
*
Posts: 1437


« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2011, 01:52:18 AM »

Yes!!!   Smiley
Logged
elisedance
Administrator
Blackpool Finalist
*****
Posts: 34896


ee


« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2011, 04:51:48 AM »

GE - fascinating approach and discovery.  Reminds us that the object of learning 'technique' is to get to the point of forgetting it. 

However, I'd make one small suggestion: differentiate 'goals' from 'dreams'.  To me a goal is something quite concrete that is achievable with my resources, time and abilities.  I don't make goals that I do not think I can reasonably reach.  Dreams, however, are objectives that I wish would happen - they are what I strive for (and sometimes they do happen) but their odds are long.  I have a goal of playing violin in a quartet to my friends - but I dream of performing a concerto with an orchestra Cheesy
Logged

If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2011, 06:35:23 AM »

GE - fascinating approach and discovery.  Reminds us that the object of learning 'technique' is to get to the point of forgetting it. 

However, I'd make one small suggestion: differentiate 'goals' from 'dreams'.  To me a goal is something quite concrete that is achievable with my resources, time and abilities.  I don't make goals that I do not think I can reasonably reach.  Dreams, however, are objectives that I wish would happen - they are what I strive for (and sometimes they do happen) but their odds are long.  I have a goal of playing violin in a quartet to my friends - but I dream of performing a concerto with an orchestra Cheesy

Thank you for that.
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2011, 03:59:48 AM »

I saw my “end result” yesterday…but I didn’t recognize it as such until today. I’ve seen it before – several times and in glimpses – but there’s a difference between “seeing” and “recognizing,” you know? And sometimes you doubt what you see or become distracted. This time, however, I saw it in someone else and this time I knew it when I saw it – I thought, “Yes! That’s it! That’s it! That’s what I want to be!”

I know it is my end result, because I experience this inner sense of joy when I see it. Other visions that I thought were my end results inspired happiness and awe, but they weren’t quite fulfilling (I think they are stops that I’d like to make along the way). It’s like going through your music collection: all the songs are great (energetic, soft, romantic, or rhythmical), but they don’t measure up to that one song…the song that hits the spot. “This one,” you think, “…this one gets it right.” My end result inspires peace, joy, and a sense of confidence in knowing I’ll get there. There’s no worry or anxiety, because I  know it’s going to happen – and there’s no other way to explain it besides, “I just know.”

This end result may change – as new or unforeseen opportunities appear – but I’m ok with that. Having that one moment of clarity gives me hope and I know it will lead to more clarity. I'm sure there will be new goals, new “end results," in the future and I’m sure it will fill me with the same joy.

All I can do now is be aware of the opportunities I receive and my feelings about pursuing them…and then push forward with determination to expand that opportunity to its fullest potential.

~~~~~~

I post here when I make realizations about myself, but one of my hopes is that if anyone is figuring out his or her life too, maybe my realizations will be relate-able and will help. Maybe - I think - someone will say, "Yes! I've had that feeling about ABC! Maybe it is what I actually want to pursue!"
Also, sometimes my head gets so wrapped up in things that it's nice to get some perspective if I need to come back down to earth and get a reality check Smiley. Anyway, thanks for reading these.
Logged

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!