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Author Topic: the centre - mechanical and mythical...  (Read 3530 times)
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2009, 06:06:16 AM »

The EXACT center or centers is in  a different place for each person. I always think about "energy balls". They are about the size of walnuts. And they move my body in the direction that my partner asks me to go.
interesting - along the lines of multi-centres...
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Sarosh
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2009, 08:09:55 PM »

I agree with Dora on this.  It is a very BIG subject and each teachers understanding varies because of their level of understanding and knowledge.  I asked one latin finalist how many centers he has.  'ONE', he said.  Some refer to centers but use different words.  This is where the system my teacher has taught me has come in handy to translate.  I would advise to not get too analytical with it.  It might just paralyze you....

S
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elisedance
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2009, 10:13:20 PM »

You do have a point - if you have to think about 5 centres - and all the other things you are working on at the same time then not moving at all might become a very attractive option Smiley

However, if you are working on different aspects of your dancing it might be useful to consider other places in your body that are behaving in all essence as a centre, but I agree too much emphasis on this might throw all my other centres out of whack!
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2009, 03:41:07 AM »

And remember that we are only working 3 at a time. hey...it's less than 5.    Roll Eyes
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
elisedance
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2009, 05:44:23 AM »

I'm learning to 'compact' my centre - this is the physical centre, or rather my core.   sort of bringing my stomach into my rib cage Undecided  the effect is interesting - it causes the torso to move better as one and improves ballance and 'attitude'
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Becca
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2009, 12:49:38 PM »

I learned that there were 5 centers in yours core that you use to produce different types of movement. In Rhythm dances for example, when im dancing with straight forward movement, I feel my core center right below my ribs in my diaphram. But when I am moving backwards i feel my core center lower in the muscles just below my belly button. I feel that my center is always changing with whatever movement i am doing. In The smooth dances i feel the change of centers even more, although it changes so much I am not sure of how to explain it.

I was wondering, does a persons center of gravity change depending on their muscle strength?  The answer, I am thinking, will be yes, but after I think about it for a while I might change my mind on what I'm thinking... lol.  Like if a person with smaller amount of muscle strength did the same movement that a person with high muscle strength did, and the movement was one that reeally REALLY pushed the boundaries until you almost fell over. Would the stronger person be able to maintain a position past their center of gravity?

And one more thing..? When talking about the 'center' when partnering and not just considering your own balance, does the center always have to be the physical connection or any physical place on the partners bodies?   Could the center of the partnership just be the energy between the partnership. I would think that the center of the partnership would be just as dynamic as ones personal center.  When I dance in any closed position I feel that my center is higher, like just below the point where my torso stops touching my partner. I never feel my center in my lower abdomen like one of the previous posts said.

I dunno, all of this could very well be totally wrong.. just saying what I have been thinking about 'center' lately. Smiley
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cornutt
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2009, 02:17:06 PM »

I was wondering, does a persons center of gravity change depending on their muscle strength? 

It's certainly possible; muscle is denser than fat, so muscle development is bound to produce some amount of change.  Most of the average person's muscle mass is between the tops of the thighs and the shoulder blades, so a theoretical workout program that developed all muscles evenly and resulted in overall fat loss would result in an upward movement of the CG.  Of course, such development would also have a big impact on how one moves, and therefore one's perception of where the CG is.  Which I'm starting to think is more important than the physical CG point.
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elisedance
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2009, 02:38:47 PM »

I learned that there were 5 centers in yours core that you use to produce different types of movement. In Rhythm dances for example, when im dancing with straight forward movement, I feel my core center right below my ribs in my diaphram. But when I am moving backwards i feel my core center lower in the muscles just below my belly button. I feel that my center is always changing with whatever movement i am doing. In The smooth dances i feel the change of centers even more, although it changes so much I am not sure of how to explain it.

I was wondering, does a persons center of gravity change depending on their muscle strength?  The answer, I am thinking, will be yes, but after I think about it for a while I might change my mind on what I'm thinking... lol.  Like if a person with smaller amount of muscle strength did the same movement that a person with high muscle strength did, and the movement was one that reeally REALLY pushed the boundaries until you almost fell over. Would the stronger person be able to maintain a position past their center of gravity?

And one more thing..? When talking about the 'center' when partnering and not just considering your own balance, does the center always have to be the physical connection or any physical place on the partners bodies?   Could the center of the partnership just be the energy between the partnership. I would think that the center of the partnership would be just as dynamic as ones personal center.  When I dance in any closed position I feel that my center is higher, like just below the point where my torso stops touching my partner. I never feel my center in my lower abdomen like one of the previous posts said.

I dunno, all of this could very well be totally wrong.. just saying what I have been thinking about 'center' lately. Smiley

er, did you look at the previous page Roll Eyes  Its just one page but its about as good as our pages get Cheesy
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2009, 01:06:51 AM »

I was just talking about the center with a few people today and I looked up some movie clips of dancers with great centers.


This one is Bob Fosse. The illusive stillness of the center is just amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw0FSREoaLQ

Bob Fosse is the one in dark red. This is a great clip to compare the use of center. It is easy to see the stillness of Bob Fosse's center.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhvSpwbsTAA

This is a Gene Kelly clip that also shows great center.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKlub5vB9z8

Both Bob Fosse and Gene Kelly totally master the idea of dancing within the clothing.

DSV
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2009, 06:26:50 AM »

Fantastic - I would never have thought to look but I can totally see what you mean.

Its easy to see how this applies in latin dances - and Eugene Katzelman is someone who comes to mind with an amazing centre
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0gkA1wQosk

But keeping a good centre in ballroom would seem to depend rather on having a partner that can do the same?
A good centre is obviously essential for a really good balance
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2009, 10:14:10 AM »

But keeping a good centre in ballroom would seem to depend rather on having a partner that can do the same?
A good centre is obviously essential for a really good balance

Well, you can only take responsibility for you own action. If you hold your center really strong then your partner should pick up that information and want to do the same. Of cause there is no guarantee. As one of my teachers always said

"Don't expect anything form your partner, if get anything take it as a bonus".

and

"Don't wait for your partner to be perfect as it may or may never happen".

So focus on yourself, take responsibility for your actions and hold your own center.

DSV
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2009, 11:04:29 AM »

Thats what I do try to do - but there's this Other body.. Cheesy
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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TangoDancer
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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2009, 02:59:16 AM »

As one of my teachers always said

"Don't expect anything form your partner, if get anything take it as a bonus".

and

"Don't wait for your partner to be perfect as it may or may never happen".

So focus on yourself, take responsibility for your actions and hold your own center.

DSV

Thanks for the Fosse. Had the chance to work w/ him on 2 productions. It was great!

Also, I wonder if our dance parents knew each other. My dance mother said the same thing to me... different words. "Dance for yourself; lead yourself; and, follow your own leads. Focus on your own strengths, and if your partner is there with you, it's a great feeling".
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
cornutt
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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2009, 11:29:46 AM »

Let me take this thread in a different direction.  This occurred to me this week, in the process of thinking over a problem I've been having with my dancing, which is that I don't lead turning figures very well.  And I know why: it's because I have difficulty bringing my torso into play.  I have a tendency to lead rotation by rotating my shoulders, while everything below there remains stationary.  I can see how this creates a confusing lead, but I've been baffled as to what to do about it. 

As it happens, last weekend, my instructor took a bad fall in her home (they're renovating, and a temporary stairway came apart as she was descending it).  So she's been too sore to dance, and at the moment I don't have a partner due to my DW's foot surgery.  So I was trying to think of something we could do with a lesson that wouldn't involve her having to dance with me.  We've been in this situation a few times before, and the answer is to have her show me exercises that I can use to improve areas where I lack strength or flexibility.  She can tell me what to do and/or do the "puppet master" thing, without having to do it herself; that way I get something out of the lesson, and she doesn't have to dance. 

And I thought about this thread.  And something occurred to me: We have a tendency, when discussing the "center", to treat it as a theoretical entity.  Well, it isn't.  It's a real part of the body.  We may argue about exactly where it is, but it's a part of the hips/torso complex, and all of those muscles come into play when the center needs to do something. 

She had me do some exercises that involved combinations of torso rotation and bending, in various directions.  One of the things we discovered is that I have a lot of "vertical" strength in my torso, but very little rotational strength.  Since, for the most part, it's the same muscles, this may not appear to make any sense.  But I think the explanation for that is something that is true of most men.  Which is:

Most men are trained from childhood to be able, and prepared to do, physical labor.  Which involves a lot of lifting.  And we've all had lectures and training on how to lift properly.  You lift through the middle; you use the whole complex of muscles together to distribute the stress.  And you minimize the left/right difference absolutely as much as possible.  Everyone knows that leaning to one side or being off balance left/right while lifting something is a fast track to back injury.  You absorb these lessons; you do it wrong a time or two and it hurts.  Pain is a very powerful re-arranger of brain pathways.  It teaches you, very quickly, how to do it right.  It becomes part of your subconscious.

So I have very good strength in that mode.  If you need furniture moved, I'm your guy.  Unfortunately, a lot of what we do in dancing involves breaking that paradigm, and allowing/demanding the left and right sides to work independently.  It's not really a strength thing; it's more a different mode of using the muscles, and in a way that those of us without prior dance experience have always been told not to do.  When we're moving furniture, we don't rotate the torso, we don't lift one side of the ribcage while crunching the other.  Our motor nervous systems are wired, by the lessons we learned as children and teenagers, to prevent that. 

So when I override my motor nervous system interlocks and do it anyway, I have no strength.  Rotate the torso?  No strength.  Push through one side of the ribcage and stretch the other side?  No strength.  I can do it when I'm just standing and practicing by myself.  But in a dance, I have to put too much conscious effort into overriding the interlocks, and then if there's the slightest bit of resistance from my partner, I can't get enough power into it to transmit my intention.  At the brain-stem level, it feels too much like something that's going to cause an injury, and my body resists doing it.

So this is my challenge now: to build up a new set of motor nervous system coordination routines and interlocks that are appropriate for dancing.  I've got some exercises to get me started, but I'll probably wind up having to devise more myself.  And these exercises are a little different because the challenge isn't really to build up muscle strength or flexibility as such; I've got that.  It's to re-wire all of the brain-stem-level inhibits.  This is going to be experimental, and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing.  Should be interesting.
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2009, 05:10:15 AM »

Firstly, sorry to hear of your pro's accident. Blessings to her for a quick recovery. Secondly, though some might think of center as being theoretical or nonphysical, you are very correct in that it is very real. Center, in fact, is not a real thing, it is a real 'things'. Let's clear that up first.

Center, in dance, refers to 5 points (2 horizontal; 3 vertical. Respectively:
head placement (inner ear) and knees (horiz); and side line / center line / side line (vert). If I can figure out how to do it, I'll post a graphic of this from Angel's copyrighted manuscript (soon to be published...yea). In the meantime... the horizontals speak for themselves, but the verticals might need a bit of expounding upon. quite simply, we have 3 kinesthetic vertical centers. Stand upright afront of the mirror, and picture these 3 straight lines: 1- passing between the inside of the shoulder and through the clavicle; through the areola; through the hip pocket; through the knee; through the instep, 2- through the supra-sternal notch (that little hole at the base of one's throat); through the sternum and navel; throught the crotch, 3- same as #1, but on the other side. In dance, we refer to these as body lines. They are our vertical centers.

A simple understanding of the rotation into a normal, standing dance partnership position is that since one can not balance on 3 centers at once, the body needs to try to align the 3 as much as possible. In dance, both partners align over the left body line. This speaks to the second point. You posted that the muscles that lift you and the ones needed for rotation are, for the most part, the same. They are not. The obliques are used for lifting, whereas it is the back muscles that we want to engage for rotating. Tha back is so important in all of dance, and is overlooked much. You are correct in stating that it is incorrect to try to rotate from the shoulders... a common error. It is good that you realize this.

2 common exercises that will help are (there are others); 1- lie on your back on the floor. With the arms stretched to outwards/palms down, pull the knees up wit hthe feet flat on the floor. Cross the right over the left as if you would when crossing the legs while sitting; resting the foot at the knee (I hope you understand the visual. If not, I can send you a pic via PM). In this position, roll the right foot down to the floor... keeping the shoulders/arms/hands as flat as possible. DO NOT FORCE THIS. Only go as far as possible. Hold it for 1 minute before doing the opposite side. Repeat at least 3 times each side. if you can not go to the floor on the first day, you will after a very short while of doign these once or twice daily.

The other exercise is to stand at a ballet barre (the portable ones [approx $100] are wonderful for us to have around), or the back of a chair, or at a counter, etc. Hold the body as upright (and slighly forward) as possible. Holding the barre, chair, etc. just outside of shoulder width apart, place the weight on the right foot. Swivel to the right, and take a comfortable step to the right with the left foot. Maintain a squareness of the body core to the barre, chair, etc. You may move the arms/hands, if necessary. Repeat to the other side, of course, and repeat the entire exercise until you are bored.

The issue is that most persons (men) can not rotate this area, as you are describing, not because they can not rotate, but because they do no stretch first. The secret to getting this area of the core to rotate properly is to stretch upwards first. Think of the pelvis as a bowl, and of the upper body core as something set inside of the bowl. Before trying to rotate the core, lift in from the bowl first. These things should be a good start to solvign your issues. It doesn't take long.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
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