CSULB Modern IV/V – Week 8: Midterm feedback and introduction to Body-Mind Centering

Great work last week everyone!

It was nice to see how much we have covered over the semester and how your dancing has been informed by somatics in this class. Whether or not it will continue to be a part of your curiosity as a mover I am happy to see your effort as you face the unknown with questions that enhance your dancing life.

On Monday, I will hold one-on-one talks with each of you in my office. I will be there starting at 10:00 am-12:40 pm and it’ll be first come first served. As much as I am giving you feedback, I would like for you to give me and the course a mid-semester feedback as well. Please consider these questions for me:

  1. What are the most positive aspects of this course?
  2. What is happening in the course that you would like to see changed?
  3. What would you like to see happen that isn’t happening?

On Wednesday, we will begin looking at the work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen – Body-Mind Centering. We may, if space allows conduct Wednesday’s class in Studio 6 because of the wooden floor. I will confirm this to you by the end of the day Monday. Please check out these websites and I highly recommend that you read Cohen’s book, Sensing, Feeling and Action.




4 thoughts on “CSULB Modern IV/V – Week 8: Midterm feedback and introduction to Body-Mind Centering

  1. I guess Ill be the first to write.
    The most positive aspect of this course for me is how I am able to slow down and be mindful of small movements of my body. I was not aware of how much more articulation my body was capable of before improvising on stage for the MFA. By slowing down with the bow and careful breathing in the beginning of class I see that I can relax and make the exercises my own. Although some of Gerald’s combinations do call for immediacy, there is always time to chill.
    What is happening in the course that I would like to see changed.. hmm. well, I actually don’t see the need to change anything. If anything, its a matter of how we approach the material that might need to be changed. is Some days will be more negative than others because we cant always be in control of everything or be in the best of moods, but this does not necessarily have to effect everyone else in the technique class. I think the pace of class is just fine, its a matter of us as a class, or rather, me (because I may be the only one thinking this way) as a student to find what I want to get from that hour and forty minutes of class. Even if its something I don’t quite understand. I like to try and have fun.
    As for the last question, I am not quite sure how to answer this. It seems that the communication between student and teacher, and students and students has gotten better. I think its a matter of staying curious. I cant really say that something isn’t happening because I feel content with whats going on. Then again that may be me not trying to hold any expectations from others besides myself. =/
    Then again… this is all but just an opinion. =]

  2. I find that in this class, I am learning (or rather re-learning) how to learn. In the past I was use to more visual cues, like “tilt your head, point your toes,” or cliche cues that became white noise, like “drop your weight into the floor.” How many times have we all heard that?
    But in this class everything became more internal (or at least that’s how it felt to me.) Instead of looking on surface to see if I am doing the correct movement, I am beginning to explore how it feels instead. I’m asking myself questions that I never considered before. How did my back feel when I did that swivel step? Can I use more counter tension? It’s a different mindset, and if anything, it’s definitely helped to improve my fetish of looking in the mirror.

    In terms of things that should be changed or added, I’m with Joey. It’s hard to pin point anything specific because I think all of the important points are being explored. It’s our/my approach that could be tweaked a little bit.

    Speaking for myself, I am always bringing mental baggage to the party that should be left at the door. But I am now starting to realize that how I approach the movement holds a lot of power. Rather than trying to barrel through the combinations, I need to focus more on the different ways I apply the movement.

  3. For me, seeing myself dance on tape is always a plus/minus experience, mentally…..for some reason ‘the tape’ is intimidating, and I sometimes feel that watching myself dance a midterm exam is nerve-wracking. When we watched the playback of our midterm performances, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I could see changes in my own dancing that are due to the somatic practices we are working through, and my own dancing appeared to be more connected and efficient than it has been in the past. It was exciting for me to watch other students on the tape, as well, just to see and remark upon what strides individuals have made just in the past 8 weeks!

    In terms of the BMC work we have tried in class, the most interesting and helpful discovery occurred when we talked about the patterning we each experienced when we were babies. It was fascinating to hear some students’ experiences that shaped how they move, sleep, and function today. The ‘fishtailing’ movement was hard for me at first, but got easier as the week progressed: I found it is hard for me to fishtail to the left (i.e. pushing with my right hand), which is odd because I am right-handed. But, with body re-education and knowing that is a pattern, I can work on that in the future.

  4. “What are the most positive aspects of this course?”
    This class has been thoroughly positive for me thus far, and I can name many different things that have opened my mind to new ways of thinking about my dancing. I would have never thought of experimenting with linking movement such as, a developpe, maybe to my kidneys or patella. I habitually think of movement happening muscularly, due to my previous training, so to even think of a movement being initiated by my organs or bones is fascinating. I see it as theoretically and logically valid.

    I also appreciate how the class gradually builds up from floor work, center, across the floor, to a large movement phrase. I never feel like there is a stagnant moment where I am getting cold, losing focus, or not being challenged physically and mentally. I think this is a very positive aspect of the course. I like the open opportunity we have to ask questions, since most of the material is fresh to me.

    Not cementing any of our class work or “choreography” is also awesome. I have not experienced freedom at this high of a level with a teacher before. Class work is constantly in evolvement and change, such as timing, intent, energy, ideas, etc…What one person is thinking about might not even be close to what the person next to them is thinking about, who is executing the same movement. I know this approach will me help in molding my true form of artistry.

    “What is happening in the course that you would like to see changed?”
    There are no big concerns that pop into my head that I would like to see changed. I would just like to be increasingly challenged every class and to feel like what I’m learning can prepare and assist me in the dance world, be it as a student, performer, teacher, etc…

    “What would you like to see happen that isn’t happening?”
    Again, there is no concern I personally have about this. I already feel like I am gaining much from this course.

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