Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Riding the wave and digging the trenches

I wish I could heal the world through plies.

Or at least really, really. share the power of the understanding of the undercurve.

The undercurve? The bottom part of the kinesphere-ical motion. The bottom of a circle. The digging of the trenches when you're on a swing, trying to stop yourself from going too high or swinging around the bar and becoming inside out. (I'm dating myself with the ancient reference of Nickelodeon's Inside Out Boy. I'm probably dating myself with a reference to Nickelodeon... Google it. Youtube it. He swung over the bar. Something you don't do if you're digging trenches and engaging the undercurve. Total overcurve. with superpowers. But there are super powers in the undercurve.)

As a young dancer, I didn't understand the undercurve. What was the purpose of going down? I was interesting in going UP! Higher. Into the raked audience! Weren't we taught to project even into the nosebleed seats?

But it's not all up. And without the down the up can't be as high.

Again. Dance reflects life. Dance is life. Dance is a way to understand the human experience.

The undercurve and the overcurve. Exact opposites existing in the same sphere. In honestly, one cannot exist without the other. There is no height without the grounding from which to leave. It's a balancing of opposites and an examination of physics. "For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction."

And this serves true in the body of the emotional and psychological world too. We can turn to the physical, dancing body for truth. The lower we can engage the undercurve - the support that may not been seen by the audience; The bottom of the plie; The bottom of the inversion; The bottom of the tendu; The plie before the turn - the leap- the lift - the more fully the overcurve is realized and physicalized (in the flesh and bones body, the emotional body, and the psychological body). These require an intense experience of the opposite before the height of the overcurve can be achieved and explored. Likewise, the "low" points of the emotional and mental state can be experienced and complemented by the overcurve... the "high" points. Each in balance. One exists with the other.

There are many other examples of this. The sprinter's prep before leaving the block.... The 2012 Olympics just closed. What other examples did you see in these tried and true athletes - masters of their bodies and physics?

In this time, I am witness to change.

Change is a constant and the undercurve is followed and complemented by the overcurve. Only to be circulated into another opportunity (necessity) for an undercurve.

Have you ever watched a captive dolphin show? They perform this beautifully. I'm told they jump as they do in the wild... circling down before exploding out of the water. Have you seen this in real life? It's truly magical. (So is the human body. And the plie).

My dear friends and readers. In these times of challenge and change, return to the grounding of the undercurve.

Perhaps this post is more about the relation to dance and life more than it is about dance class or performance itself... but one cannot separate the body from the lived experience. And the body cannot be separated from the dance. Our bodies tell and hold our stories. Dig deeply.

See you at the barre. And in the modern dance class. And the jazz class. (And the tap, hula, West African...) And the performance. Let's investigate in our studio laboratories and report back. What are your research findings?


  1. One cannot know the world through the overcirve. One cannot learn to write hitting it perfectly the first time. It is only in failure that success is known. Only after sour defeat that sweet triumph is possible. Oddly beauty compasses both. Compassion embroiders both a complex tapestry. And love invests in all things, neither wanting or tolerating opposition.

  2. Thank you for your perspective on writing, Michael! I love that the circle allows us the opportunity to return again with new information - trust, compassion, empathy - both in our chosen art and in life.