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  • Zosia Jo

Bringing back the 3Dimensional body...

I am not flat

I have surfaces

I move in all directions

I exist when my video is off

You are not flat

You have surfaces

You move in all directions

You exist when your video is off

We are not flat

We have surfaces

We move in all directions

We exist in relationship

We meet other surfaces

Skin

Bone

Depth

Walls

Floor

Push against

Soft surfaces yield

Hard surfaces push back

This floor holds me up

This grass springs back

These walls contain me

I move between them

I have now been teaching online for some time. One day I was so immersed in my own moving meditation that I failed to realise my internet had cut out and I’d left my group behind. On the other hand I’ve had so many people thanking me profusely for the session and saying how invaluable moving in this way is to help them cope right now, help them remain embodied. I’ve also facilitated / witnessed some beautiful work being created.

It’s a tricky balance to strike, embracing the medium and yet not losing three-dimensionality. I have to remind myself and my students that they are there, in their space, in their body whilst also finding ways to connect. A close to camera hand dance can be beautiful, choreographic… but the screen can also become a weird dwarfed proscenium arch, and we the movers, shrunk to our image, disembodied. As life moves increasingly online, dance has the power to resist this disembodiment, to provide the tools to stay rooted in the physical body, in reality, in nature. We have to continue valuing these things, we have to bring these skills to other’s attention, to share this embodied knowledge. I’ve been reading Ann Cooper Albright’s How to Land and it's exactly what I need right now. We must find moments of instability and gravity and flight wherever and however we can to help us navigate these times. Through practicing adaptability in the body, finding ground physically and developing the muscle of re-orientation, we can find these things on the larger, social scale.

Tips for online facilitation of dance/movement:

  • Create a safe space, even online. Greet everyone ‘face to face’ and see how they are, come back together at the end, hear their voices, invite comments. Ask participants to prep their space and warn them about how they might be moving and what they will need for the session. Be mindful of variance in space sizes and resources. Emphasise that they are not being judged, that they are there to have fun. Suggest they focus on moving in ways that are comfortable and pleasurable.

  • Give off camera time. Offer tasks. Invite them to turn off their video or move out of shot. Set material to try later in their own time. Use your voice to guide so that they are not constantly performing to camera.

  • Keep sessions short and frequent. Everyones capacity- especially the teachers- is lower online. Shave an hour off how long you thought your session should take. Take time over tasks, but limit the length of the session. Consider meeting more often, little and often is better than intensive


image by Lee Tinnion


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