Resistance and continuation in movement

Sunday, 16 May 2010 at 17:19
From resistence comes presence and from presence flow.
You resist my impetus, my body knows where you are -
as mine begins to go,
yours says 'wait', calmly, smoothly.
Like water, light at rest,
but when moving, just a little weight.
And so we move together.

Continuation of movement,
a mirror of its starting, carries inertia.
A child plays with a ball
that rolls a little way when pushed.
That simple inertia,
fuel for the creative spark - from my listening energy
I know where your body will be. And so we play together.

This poem was inspired by a synergy of experiences: Homer and Cristina's excellent workshop on follower secadas in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago in which they emphasised the importance of follower resistance (or 'tone') in both pushing and pulling movements (which I never got around to writing up..), and a wonderful and inspiring set of performances by Movement 12 at the Brighton Pavilion Theatre this evening. Amen for contact improv! The dancers moved with such poise and power and fluency together, such dynamic and strong connection. In my rapt appreciation I kept noticing and thinking 'smooth, dynamic resistance in contact, fluid continuation of movement': two catalytic ingredients in tango, fundamental in contact improv and in such powerful effect right in front of my eyes.

How can you interact with someone through touch? By feeling some resistance to movement. Where that resistance is smooth and predictable (like moving in water) a real dialogue can grow. Where force is allowed to have it's inertial effect (even emphasised) the beautiful flowing sequences of movements that these dancers showed become possible, and tango gets a lot more fun. Luckily I have a practica coming up after some sleep.


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