Wow! What a whirlwind this journey has been so far! I have been reading and exploring, getting feedback, finding resources, watching videos and just taking it all in. Thus it has taken me quite a long time to write again. I was sort of waiting for it to sink in and for something to want to come out naturally.
There has always been an underlying current for me in my dance and my journey into dance history and theory, but I couldn’t quite grasp it until now. It is what I strive to attain in my performance, what attracts me to other dancers, what really holds my eye and my attention. I think it is something few dancers really embody, and is maybe why I like the dancers I do. It is “rootedness.” In the dictionary it is described as, :“The quality or state of having roots, especially of being firmly established, settled.” From the moment a dancer steps onto a stage, or steps into a circle of musicians or even friends, if she is a dancer who is rooted in her body, settled in perfect balance with herself you know it like THAT!
I am reading “Grandmother’s Secrets” by Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi at present and it has really re-informed me of this rootedness we must all embrace. Being present in your body, being internally aware of your surroundings, using all your senses to embrace your performance, to inform it, to elevate it. Really it all stems from our willingness to embrace our bodies in a way Western society has deemed unnecessary and irrelevant. To sit with yourself, to breath in and out, to close your eyes and move your body in whatever way feels natural, to be completely involved in your innerflow without judgement or self-conscious thought.
She gives great exercises for practicing this state…for re-informing your body of itself. Please check out this book!!!!!!!!!
Here’s a great excerpt about learning to trust your body;
“Whenever I went down the stairs in our house I looked down to avoid falling. One day my grandmother was watching me. ‘Let your feet see for you,’ she told me. ‘They’ll keep you from falling much better than your eyes! Feel with your toes until you find the next edge and let your heels slide down the stair until you find the next one. Put yourself in your center, in the place below your navel, and keep your head high!’
That was fun, and I spent days going up and down the stairs like a queen. This is how I realized, with time, that my feet were ‘seeing’ better and better. I felt my soles become more aware, my feet more sensitive and sensual. I came to trust them more and more, and my balance eventually settled into the lower part of my body.”
I think by doing these types of grounding exercises daily we might start to really trust our bodies in our everyday, but also in our performances. While these little quirky things are easy to do and seemingly nonsensical, I feel like they are in fact the MOST important part of learning to be a “rooted” dancer. You have to meet your body again, say hello and start a conversation with it. Love it and ask it questions, train it, trust it. I’m trying to incorporate some of these little things in my everyday, and it is really helping!
So, I challenge you to share your little exercises for learning your body, for keeping internally and externally aware!
“So dance, little sister, dance…for as long as you dance, this ancient women’s dance will survive and laugh in the face of all attacks. As long as there are women, it will go on beating and living, its proud strength passed on from woman to woman.”