How to land on your feet

One of my favorite contact improvisation tips came from a class taught by Gretchen Spiro. She just slipped it in, and didn’t emphasize it a lot, but I wrote it down and remembered it. It was simply this, although she probably didn’t say it this way:

If you relax your limbs, they point to the ground.

This is incredibly useful.

It means that anytime you are disoriented while up in the air, anytime you find yourself falling and don’t know where down is, just relax your limbs. They fall towards the ground. And then you can land on your hands or feet — most likely, both.

I do not imply any metaphorical life lessons by any of the above. However, if you would like to infer your own, please be my guest.

2 comments for “How to land on your feet

  1. Mark
    2012/12/17 at 10:17

    “If you relax your limbs, they point to the ground.”

    This may be true (and useful!) if you’re grounded, but not if you’re in freefall.

  2. richard
    2012/12/17 at 10:29

    Hm, yes, good point. But I think we’re rarely truly in free fall in contact improvisation. Usually we’re sliding down or off people.

    I may have been a little simplistic/reductive, but I think the core point remains — when in doubt, if you relax your limbs, they’ll point to the ground. This applies when you’re being lifted, when you’re sliding down someone, and when you’re falling off someone, right up until the point when you lose contact and you’re actually in free fall. Some of the trick may be in relaxing those limbs before you lose contact. I am willing to experiment with you, Mark Messer.

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