We are born to move. The brain is at is most optimal state when it is engaged in complex movement, and our mind and emotions have an outlet in which to express ourselves through the body. The ability to move freely, dance, and perform according to our promptings is one of the most wonderful gifts we can offer ourselves: we are empowered, courageous, explorers, performers, and realisers.
Over the next five weeks, we’re going to look at each of these factors in more detail, examining how all of us can incorporate empowerment, courage, exploration, performance, and realisation both on and off the stage.
‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.’ T.S. Eliot
Exploration conjures up images of one traversing the planet, scaling Mount Everest, and finding a lost civilisation in the Amazon, however, in every moment we can be explorers, especially on the stage.
What exactly does ‘exploration’ mean? For me, exploration is chartering unknown waters to discover limitation and overcome these. A few months ago, I began dance classes with the wonderful Shai Faran which included making waves and circles with each section of the body in an isolated fashion. At first I felt clumsy, even silly, as I grappled with the technique – I was in unknown territory. Much like the physical sensation of arriving in a new and strange place, I was both excited and bewildered by these new movements and I could actually feel my brain processing these! As the session drew to a close though, I was slowly adapting to the new landscape and was exploring movement in a different form.
As performers at Didsbury Theatre School, you have a great opportunity to learn in a manner that is risky, daring, for you put yourself in the spotlight by simply trying something new. If you look at the small picture it probably feels rubbish when you get a move wrong or you can’t immediately master a routine. Let’s look at the bigger picture though:
In stepping outside of what you know, you’ve opened yourself to a new experience and embraced your fear of ‘getting it wrong’, with the fear more powerful than actually making a mistake! Embracing the unknown, you are now exploring an aspect of yourself that until now you were unacquainted with, and taking the difficult task of truly knowing yourself.
Stepping away from what is comfortable and moving towards what scares and excites us is one action that helps us to understand the most important thing we have: ourselves. So when you’re next berating yourself on not being ‘perfect’ at something new, remember that all explorers have to make mistakes, feel messy and perhaps get lost in order to find the right path for them.
As Friedrich Nietzsche said:
‘I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.’
Now be the dancing star both on and off the stage!
- Recall the feeling you had when you last learnt something new
- Imagine yourself undergoing the task with no fear, only excitement of discovery
- If you are fearful, imagine your ideal self, feel what this is like, and ask yourself these questions:
- What have I got to lose?
- What do I stand to gain?
- How does this help me towards my ambitions?
Song of the week
Son Lux – Lost it to Trying