Tuesday, December 15, 2015

finding -The Release-

Years ago, when I danced with Next Reflex Company in D.C., my choreographers gave me some feedback at the end of the season. They told me not to worry about my technique - but instead to "find the release".

find The Release.

You know what that is. You've seen it. 

It's that magic fluidity that dancers can have. 
That way their bodies can seem to inhale and exhale through their very skin. 
It's the drop-swing. It's the bend.
It's the softness in between the precision. 

find The Release.

Now, I admit, I didn't follow their recommendation to swap dance teachers in order to work on 'my release'. I loved my current dance teacher far too much for that. But their comment has stuck with me.

Every time I attend class, I tell myself to breathe; to find the release. But you know? I have no idea how to go about doing that. I've been telling myself to find the release every single dance class for the past 5 years. But dancing is not my profession. I don't spend hours each week practicing it. Not like I do with teaching.

I've been teaching for 15 years. (yes, I'm that old) And I have been told in various ways, from different supervisors, that they'd love to see me slow down a bit, find some more balance. Indeed, even in high school that was the parting message from my guidance counselor. I continue to receive this feedback and nod my head in agreement: "yes, yes, I should find more balance. I should relax a little more. I'm working too hard and can ease up a bit." I feel grateful for the seeming 'permission' given from higher-up that I don't have to try so hard...

... though it's not permission, is it? It's critical feedback. It's a recommendation. It's not just about the technique - it's about the breath, the air, the through-ness, the softness. It's depth and emotion. It's artistry. It's the contact between performer and audience. Between teacher and student. Between Parent and child. From one being to another.

What does that look like? Where do I start? How do I actually do that?

I'm a booky person. I don't mean that I'm a voracious reader - I'm not. I mean that I rely on books, people, other experts to help me learn things and form my ideas or opinions. I scout it out before I stand on my soap box. I'm the type of person who likes to gather tons of information (much of it superfluous) before solidifying my own thoughts or making a decision. I do this for everything (teaching methods, parenting, which restaurant to try next... ).

So. Is there a book out there? A blog? That can give me the play-by-play plus rationale for how to 'find the release' not only in my teaching, but in my life? A guru? I think that this is speaking to the greater 'who-tiffany-is-and-always-has-been'. Where do I start? I don't think it's as simple as "doing less" or going home earlier. It's something else.

I don't want to do less. I love what I do. I love pouring my all into anything I do. But I do want (and need) to find The Release. And probably - the people in my life need me to find it too. (The audience needs the dancer to find it, after all.)

This is my New Year's Resolution. And I [still] have no idea how to begin.

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