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trues and tendus

No MIRRORS is a self-affirming statement that invites dancers to take ownership of their artistry, identity and their inherent sense of beauty. 

As dancers we have grown accustomed to using a mirror as an integral part of our learning and development. The idea is that by seeing the body move in space with our own eyes we are able to measure the angles of right and wrong, according the to rules of technique. However we forget that the mirror is a two-dimensional surface that reflects the image that is shown; while the perception of what it is shown, lies within us. What do I mean by this?

Take for example: a tendu a la seconde. Standing at a distance from the mirror, the foot appears to be pointed and detached from the standing leg 180 degrees from a frontal view. But the anatomy of the body is such that the foot would more likely be extending at a 120 to 160 degree angle on the point of the circle, which is the circumference of the body in space (three-dimensionality or 360 degrees) unless you have some extraterrestrial open hip arrangement. Otherwise the other parts of the body begin to compromise for it's aim to reach that perfect a la seconde tendu: the pelvis begins to tilt forward or backward, the shoulders then become misaligned with the hips, and the spine creates an off center-curvature in an effort to balance all the dysfunctions of this perfectly 180 degree tendu. At this point several rules of thumb about Ballet technique have been violated and compromised, thus at the discretion of your voluntary discomfort you are in perpetual state of wrongness. So if you were to look in the mirror marveling at the beauty of your dysfunctionally perfect tendu, you would know in your body that everything about this WRONG.

Although the mirror shows what appears to be right or correct the body has an intelligent control system led by the anatomical structure of ligaments, tendons and muscles with all the information and insight to sense what is true. Notice, I used the word "sense". The ability to sense or feel what is happening in our bodies is what aids us in movement. If we begin to tap into our bodies by bringing the unconscious sense of authentic self into consciousness we begin to notice subtle details that make all the difference.

What would happen if we dared to step away from the mirror and became involved in the space of dancing? How many more ways could begin to see, not with our eyes but with our inner eyes?

or simply put, as Alonzo King would say (in that earth shaking bellow of a voice)




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