Class recap: Contact Improvisation: Weight-Sharing & L.A. Style! (3/3) [rough]

Note to self: waiting six months to finish your notes from a class is NOT conducive to recording accurately what happened! The following is a mix of my pre-class notes and my (hazy) post-class recollections of what we actually did. If you were there and remember something different, please tell me!

The class was focusing on refining rolling point technique and doing a bit of overview of low lifts.

Recap of 2-hour class at City Life Wellness in Brooklyn, NY, on Thursday, April 19, 2012.

Opening Circle

  • check in on people’s bodies
  • check in on class intentions

Warm-up

  • The Stand [Steve Paxton]
    • nod yes
    • nod no
    • bring attention to your breath
    • lean forward, weight to balls of feet
      • may notice your back muscles engage and your abdomen relax
      • may notice the front of your lower leg engage and your calves relax
    • lean backward, weight to heels of feet
      • may notice abdomen engage and your back muscles relax
      • may notice back of your lower leg engage and the front relax
    • if you don’t notice these things, you’re not necessarily doing anything wrong
  • Rajendra’s walking-around exercise — pouring weight between feet
    • back and forth [Rajendra Serber]
      • pour weight entirely into one leg
        • lift the heel of the other, to make sure there’s no more weight there
      • then by 10% increments into other leg
    • then walking
      • when weight is entirely on one leg, lift other leg up
      • place it forward without weight
      • then pour weight into it, in 10% increments
  • falls
    • falling to the ground in different ways by yourself, and rolling up
      • diving into the floor, greeting it like a friend
      • or tipping off-balance first, then falling down
      • or going down gently and easily
    • “falls up”
      • instructions:
        • hands up, throwing oneself up and up on tiptoes, small suspensions
        • try putting one leg up to delay, but do both ways
        • catch self
      • add falling into someone, and be pushed back
        • pusher/catcher
          • can catch at different places
          • easier is sooner, and at pelvis/center
  • More warm-ups
    • X-rolls
      • lying on back, limbs in an “X”
      • leading with different limbs across body, spiral to turn over to another X
    • crescent rolls
      • towards middle
      • towards hands & feet
      • showing shoulders & feet off the ground
    • push-ups (10)

Rolling point & weight-sharing refinements

  • rolling point – no skips, no slides
    • explanation of this
    • common areas for skips
      • shoulder to chest
      • hand to hand
      • head to shoulder
      • upper torso to lower torso or butt
    • monitoring — calling “skip” or “slide”
      • first, one person on outside, calling “skip” or “slide,” while couple dances
        • couple should dance slowly!
        • rotate in, to make different combinations
      • then, only one of the dancers can call “skip” or “slide”
  • weight-sharing – “sweet spot” work
    • “finding the ground under partner’s feet” [Jeffrey Nash phrase]– a sense of when your center is connected to the point of contact, to your partner’s center, and down to the floor under your partner’s feet
    • “sweet spot” demonstration
      • I dance with each person to help find it
    • I call it from outside
      • two people dance and try to stay in the sweet spot
        • I call “stop” when I think they might be losing it
        • and go again when I think they’ve worked it out
    • then they call “stop” from inside (I’m still watching)
      • and person who calls stop says go again
    • then I rotate in, and anyone calls stop *except* me
    • rotate again, and again anyone calls stop *except* me

Check-in

  • feedback, thoughts?

Lifts

  • overview talk
    • Lifts in L.A. Style (and many other teachers)
      • not forced — things that can be subtle, can appear spontaneously, can be reversed
      • small lifts — don’t worry about height. Small lifts are cool and subtle.
      • not trying to sustain lifts
      • continued connection through partner to ground
      • continued connection even after the lift
  • to land on feet or hands
    • letting limbs be loose, long to find the ground
      • if you get disoriented, relax your limbs — they point to the ground!
    • esp. with lifts where over dancer is vertical, over dancer should have long legs (and not bent)
  • falling-over lifts
    • demonstrate high post
      • bent over but chest up
      • arched back, butt out
      • saddle for others
      • hands on knees
      • I like feet slightly wider than shoulders
    • checking everyone’s form — pushing down on support
      • practice tilting side to side, as if taking a ball on one side and handing it off on the other
    • falling into lifts
      • start perpendicular — B’s shoulder to A’s chest
      • roll contact point down to hips
      • A extends up (making self tall, maybe on tiptoes a little
      • B pushes off, squats into high post and tilts towards, A falls up and into B bit by bit — but not all the way on top of B at first.
      • B pushes off again, squats a little lower. Repeat. (sort of a weird form of rappelling)
        • B starts high on A, works way down
        • A does NOT help to get into lift more than extending a little up
        • eventually A falls over, up onto B
      • B can help by tilting towards A to help into lift
      • refinement: keep connected after the lift!
        • A stays into B when coming out, B stays into A
      • progression — B gives A a slight push-off, then quickly slides down right to the position where B can lift A

 

  • ways getting into lifts in a dance (shown)
    • push off (just did)
    • anytime hips are below hips
    • A can help by lifting a leg (shown)
  • side-to-side lifts
    • A & B side to side, small separation but leaning into each other
    • A hands up, make self tall, probably go on toes
    • B pushes off
      • slides down, catches A’s hip above B’s hip, arm on opposite side
      • leans back, takes A’s weight
      • can go straight back, or can move A through space by taking a step
  • hand-based lifts, from push-offs to counter-balancing
    • when falling away from someone, you can extend a hand and catch your partner to counter-balance. From there:
    • whip-crackers
      • jumping game from before — just continued!
      • can do with one or both hands
      • but keep coming back to a weight connection, either towards or counter-balancing
    • hand-based lifts
      • pull in, push on hands. If B gives some support, A can jump up off it
      • but keep coming back to a weight connection, either towards or counter-balancing
  • knee lifts (initiated by under dancer)
    • typically A is taller, pushes up under shoulders & knees at
    • same time
    • stay in contact, find the weight connection immediately again
  • lower leg lifts (initiated by over dancer)
    • A just slides down the knee
    • find the weight connection again immediately

 

more time in high post

  • feeling partner’s center to the ground
    • start with A up, just feeling connection through B to the ground
    • B walks around (slowly)
    • A tries to stay on, then lets self fall off
      • spread, long limbs
      • when you’re not sure, let your limbs relax, and they’ll find the ground
    • staying in contact after coming off
  • tipping overdancer (A) out of high post
    • to hands
    • to feet, even off balance, being swung off

Wrap-up

  • last thoughts?

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