On Natural Movement

English word ”aim” does not translate easily to Finnish. Expression ”direction towards a goal” comes close, but if you have processes where the ultimate goal is unattainable, how would you expess it?

The direction towards natural movement is an example of such a process with unattainable goal. Some claim that tango movement can not be natural for women as they walk backwards in high heels. This hides the fact that the movement can be more natural, regardless of conditions.

There is a story about Alexander, the inventor of Alexander technique, and a student of his who later became a master. The student complained about some chair at work, and they spent the next year studying how to naturally sit in that chair.

If tango cannot be natural, then almost nothing can be natural. This is not an useful attitude, because natural movement is an expression for a phenomenon that is very real and can be physically experienced through deliberate practice.

People who claim tango cannot be natural movement might not have experienced it, or might not associate their experiences to it, otherwise they would not express it this way.

The feeling where the movement is more natural is exhilarating. It feels like letting go. I suspect this is why children like slides.

The feeling comes from movement towards freedom and thus does not require one to be a skillful dancer. Actually skillfulness might prevent naturalness of movement. I have experienced this in simple exercises where I just try to fall into the step and catch myself just at the last moment.

It is said that walking is controlled falling, but this appears to be a misnomer. The point is unlearning the control of movement. We don’t control our walking on the street. But often we try to control our movement when we begin to learn to dance. At this point we lose the fluency of movement.

In our mind (or st least somewhere in our body) is something we can conceptualize as something which wants to control movement. The interesting thing is to learn new relationship with this part of our mind, and experience the moments when se can let go of the control.

About Mikko

A man hopelessly bitten by the argentine tango bug.
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