DANCE EDUCATION

 

The development of dance education during the last decades has been increasingly moving towards criteria aiming at meeting aesthetical and functional standards through muscular strain and often compulsive efforts. The wish to improve dance performance with additional training based on orthodox fitness methods is paradoxically leading to a decline of expressive qualities in the Art of Dance.

If you are a professional Dancer or on your way to become one, you have been exposed since childhood to Teachers and Trainers advising you to grow a stronger muscular system.

The crucial questions are:  what is strength in a dynamic activity like dance ? Which training criteria lead to the neural Plasticity and Coordinative motor skill observed in mature professional dancers ?

The latest In vivo studies of the biomechanics of the connective tissue show qualities of an adaptable gel like expansional system, contradicting those qualities like compression, stabilization, solidification, sought-after in orthodox strengthening training.

The significance of these latest findings lays in the revelation of a network of systems and subsystems, a wider perspective that does not prioritize the action of the musculoskeletal system but puts it in the context of the organism as a whole.

Our bodies are made up of systems of different degrees of complexity; coordination is an explicit example of the synergetic organization of our Motor System. To evolve from the level of a mere physical performer to the rank of mature artist, a dancer requires a refined kinetics that expresses the synergetic coordination of vestibular, somatosensory and muscular systems. It is when we fail to integrate these complex-neural interactions that the organism is forced to revert to the sole contractive strength of the musculoskeletal system.

It would be obviously impossible to dance up to the standards required by a professional level without the adequate strength emerging from a competent ballet training. What is questioned here, is whether the theory and practice of an Art like Dance can be sustained and improved by the same criteria adopted for the fitness of common people.

The immediacy on which the muscular system can be accessed has encouraged the fast growing of branded and commercialized methods. Consequently, context-dependent biophysical processes, not jet fully understood by science, such as Proprioception, Connective tissue or the Core, have been reduced to mechanistic principles that could be “trained” as one does it with the voluntary contraction of a flexor or extensor.

This wide spread attitude reveals a resistance to face the complexity of life and the fundamental laws of physics to which all organisms are subjected.

I believe that the latest scientific evidence Compel us to review criteria based on orthodox fitness methods and use more ENERGY-EFFICIENT methods to form and develop the future generation of dancers.
The remarkable changes I have witnessed by successful integration of the Vestibulospinal activity with the motoric skills of well-trained dancers, revealed the determinant role that a refined balance plays in the unfoldment of a dancer potential.

In order to approach more efficient methods, we need to comprehend the mutually intensifying effects that balance and efficiency have upon each other in human bipedalism. Our dance education should consider Equilibrium as a prime criterion for the development of dance pedagogy, where Equilibrium is the intrinsic capacity of the somatosensory system to interact with the gravitational force: in fact the innate cognitive capacity of the organism to integrate biological and physical forces.

A process that could fuel higher levels of Artistry and the Empathic Expressive qualities we all strive for.

Movement is the index of life... its outstanding expression

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ida P. Rolf

Dance Education

 

The development of dance education during the last decades has been increasingly moving towards criteria aiming at meeting aesthetical and functional standards through muscular strain and often compulsive efforts. The wish to improve dance performance with additional training based on orthodox fitness methods is paradoxically leading to a decline of expressive qualities in the Art of Dance.

If you are a professional Dancer or on your way to become one, you have been exposed since childhood to Teachers and Trainers advising you to grow a stronger muscular system.

The crucial questions are:  what is strength in a dynamic activity like dance ? Which training criteria lead to the neural Plasticity and Coordinative motor skill observed in mature professional dancers ?

The latest In vivo studies of the biomechanics of the connective tissue show qualities of an adaptable gel like expansional system, contradicting those qualities like compression, stabilization, solidification, sought-after in orthodox strengthening training.

The significance of these latest findings lays in the revelation of a network of systems and subsystems, a wider perspective that does not prioritize the action of the musculoskeletal system but puts it in the context of the organism as a whole.

Our bodies are made up of systems of different degrees of complexity; coordination is an explicit example of the synergetic organization of our Motor System. To evolve from the level of a mere physical performer to the rank of mature artist, a dancer requires a refined kinetics that expresses the synergetic coordination of vestibular, somatosensory and muscular systems. It is when we fail to integrate these complex-neural interactions that the organism is forced to revert to the sole contractive strength of the musculoskeletal system.

It would be obviously impossible to dance up to the standards required by a professional level without the adequate strength emerging from a competent ballet training. What is questioned here, is whether the theory and practice of an Art like Dance can be sustained and improved by the same criteria adopted for the fitness of common people.

The immediacy on which the muscular system can be accessed has encouraged the fast growing of branded and commercialized methods. Consequently, context-dependent biophysical processes, not jet fully understood by science, such as Proprioception, Connective tissue or the Core, have been reduced to mechanistic principles that could be “trained” as one does it with the voluntary contraction of a flexor or extensor.

This wide spread attitude reveals a resistance to face the complexity of life and the fundamental laws of physics to which all organisms are subjected.

I believe that the latest scientific evidence Compel us to review criteria based on orthodox fitness methods and use more ENERGY-EFFICIENT methods to form and develop the future generation of dancers.
The remarkable changes I have witnessed by successful integration of the Vestibulospinal activity with the motoric skills of well-trained dancers, revealed the determinant role that a refined balance plays in the unfoldment of a dancer potential.

In order to approach more efficient methods, we need to comprehend the mutually intensifying effects that balance and efficiency have upon each other in human bipedalism. Our dance education should consider Equilibrium as a prime criterion for the development of dance pedagogy, where Equilibrium is the intrinsic capacity of the somatosensory system to interact with the gravitational force: in fact the innate cognitive capacity of the organism to integrate biological and physical forces.

A process that could fuel higher levels of Artistry and the Empathic Expressive qualities we all strive for.

EN