I loved Akram Khan’s choreography. Although I will not pretend that the motions were not physically demanding and mentally tiring, the lessons I learned were more than one hundred times worthwhile. It was spectacular. Every rehearsal was difficult and eye opening at the same time. The motions were grounded, but in no way hindered or stiff. The body would drop very low to the ground and continue in its journey, in its shift of weight, until the body found itself at a new height. His pieces were lead not only by the types of movements but an overall tone that was both unique to each piece and a marker connecting every phrase. The energy in each rehearsal never ceased to flow. It was constantly in motion, constantly shifting in position and intensity, but it never stopped moving. I learned how to control the energy, releasing it, grasping it, and throwing it. Even the pauses, the points in the piece where the body ceased to move, the energy still buzzed beneath the surface. The analogy used to describe this liquid flow of energy was that of a bouncy ball. A bouncing ball can be thrown with a large amount of force> Once it hits a surface it momentarily pauses as it comes into contact with the wall before it changes direction, but the energy of the original throw never disappears. That is the mentality that I constantly kept while learning this movement. It was flexible, dynamic, and beautiful simultaneously.
Everything seems to be about flow nowadays. In performing the Akram Khan material I feel all the moves are connected by a certain energy and flow that constantly moves through out the body. The motions are smooth and rhythmic although they are in no way slow or constant. The energy changes to from moments of tense stillness to release and then tight grasps that are immediately released. The phrase from Vertical Road seems to employ this tactic to the utmost extent, in which the body turns into a bouncy ball. Motions are hit with force and rebounded into other motions until the whole piece takes on an elastic dynamic. The weight shifts are vital to this elasticity as is the overall energy and music accompanying a piece. I thoroughly enjoy it. Using the music as not only a source of inspiration but a constant assistance and guide to my own energy is spectacular.
I walk around the dance studio slowly tuning into my own body. My feet lift up and down in a rhythmic pattern as I feel my weight shift from heel to toe and heel to toe again. It is all about body awareness, but rather an internal awareness of how I feel within myself. The physicality of dance is of course one of its main components that can easily be lost in over analysis and intellectualization. It’s true that different forms of dance and post-modern dance especially are artistic expressions of the choreographer and their influences, but this expression of art is incased within the body.
Never before have I taken the time to truly open my mental awareness to the way every portion of my body moved in space. While walking around, tuning in to the soreness in my shoulder blades and the lengthening of my joints, I realized everyone has the same limbs in the same place but every body is a very distinct and different piece of artwork. These four divides are all held together by one pivotal point; the pelvis. The pelvis is the central point for the body. It acts as a grounding point from which all other types of movement can flow. In performing Reggie’s movements the importance of the pelvis is vital for me in keeping myself grounded. Whenever I was confused in the movements, which to be completely honest happened quite often, I thought about the position of the pelvis. Yet I was still confused. My pelvis was not ready for this large responsibility. I’ve never depended on it this much before and I felt I had a large amount of catching up to do in accordance to its abilities. Perhaps my pelvis will step up to the challenge that it has been given. With time, effort, and of course that fantastic technique called rehearsal.