CSULB Modern III – Week 6: PNF

This week we will explore PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation).

You have been presented with a great deal of information in this class. And, I know that it is a challenge to try to navigate through often overlapping, polarizing and seemingly abstract concepts about movement/somatics. Hopefully you can remain open and find things that may be useful to your studies and that you may integrate certain ideas that interest you and fold them into your personal practice. The intention here is to present alternative philosophies that look at ‘the subtle body’ that are not normally a part of dance ‘training’ so that your experience may be expanded.

Here are some links:

http://www.ipnfa.org/index.php?id=113 (a history of PNF)


These videos are a bit out there and specific to their academic fields but I think they are interesting to watch. Can you see the correlation between these movements and principles with what we’ve been studying in class?






19 thoughts on “CSULB Modern III – Week 6: PNF

  1. The last exercise we did today combining the standing and the floor pattern…it was challenging for me to connect my brain with my body. My brain was not able to work fast enough to catch up with the exercise, and so I found myself thinking less and just trying to do it with my body. I may have been turning the wrong way or using the wrong leg getting up or into the floor etc. I felt sort of confused, but was still able move through it.

    • I know!!!! I told Kelly I had no idea what I was doing after the first time we did it. Well I mean, I had an idea but I felt crazed and all out of place. It got better after about the third time we did it. For me, I think it was a matter of KNOWING the material before I could really dissect the material. Even after knowing the material a little bit better, I still found it just as difficult because there is SOOOOO much going on in one movement, even just in one second. There are may elements involved and lots of things to keep in mind. Its crazy that this combination looks easy to the audience eye yet it was challenging for me as a dancer to perform it. I just need time to improve:]

  2. Today I felt like I was finally comfortable with the sequencing of the pnf exercise, and I could explore more within my movement. I didn’t really have to think about what came next because it just flowed in my body, and actually felt really good!

    • YES! I felt the exact same way! In general, Wednesdays are definitely better for me because my brain is already familiar with the sequencing so I can explore it even further with my body and not over think it. I’ll be honest, Monday was rough. I felt very tentative and kind of all over the place but today I was very aware of where my body was in space. I also made a clear point to pay attention to my breath in the floor phrase and it really REALLY helped!

  3. Exploring PNF was another challenge I enjoyed facing, I had to consciously tell myself to internally rotate with one arm ad externally rotate on the other because my body wanted to do the opposite. It looked simple but I really broke a sweat, it is interesting because all these things deal with opposition in ways that we have performed before, but changing my focus or putting more emphasis on the rotation and opposition makes it a different experience. It feels different on my body but in a good way. Challenging but highly beneficial in coordination with my mind and body; the physicality of it is really nice and I can’t imagine how advanced I would feel with having mastered it all, but then again thats the beauty of it because even those with great practice still find new things to appreciate as they practice it.

    • I completely agree with Quetta. I found that the PNF sequences allowed me to find even more opposition and range in my movement, which felt great on my body. I feel like there is so much more to find and explore the more I discover. I definitely feel like I will continue to use these sequences for personal use and expansion beyond this class.

  4. The new studies of PNF sequences on Monday were quite challenging for me. I wasn’t able to be as fluid as with the “Orbits” from week 5. It really took a lot of coordination from my mind and body to work together and be able to comprehend the sequences. On Wednesday, the PNF studies felt way more comfortable and i was able to really explore them and get a hang on the whole coordination aspect of it. I guess for me, it took time for my body and mind to take it all in and understand it a bit more to really do the movement full out.

  5. The PNF exercises that we explored this week were a challenge for me, but also interesting. I have always had some problems with coordination and sequencing (especially in modern dance), so having one part of the body rotating left while another part of my body was rotating to the right was difficult. By Wednesday, it felt easier because the combinations were in my body. It definitely made me sweat! I also started thinking about when Gerald said that there’s a difference between a dancer and an artist. On Moday, I was definitely just doing the movement. On Wednesday, I felt like I was performing it (dancing the movement, focusing on the music, finding moments to explore).

  6. I found that PNF helped me go through a fuller range of motion, especially rotation, and that although challenging it made I found it easier to find opposition in my body once I got used to it. Somehow once I got the hang of it I didn’t have any room in my brain left to worry about what it looked like, going by feel felt much easier and accurate than trying to sneak a peek in the mirror.

  7. I really took to heart what you said about being a dancer vs. a performer. I’m actually enjoying learning about PNF and the opposition in the movement, but most of the time I see myself as a dancer and a technician rather than a performer or artist. I think I’ve known this about myself long enough to have deemed performing in class ‘beyond me’ and at some points just let it be. But because I enjoy studying the body in this way, and maybe once I find a style that I’m comfortable in I can venture more into personally giving more performance quality with these exercises. I’m also interested in seeing how this technique affects my body training-wise, since some things are challenging because of the pure structure of my body (like internal rotation at the shoulder).

  8. I really miss your class Gerald! Don’t ever leave us again please! It’s the one class every week that I get genuinely excited for the night before and can’t wait to get to in the morning. I love that every week (or so) there is a new topic, a new area of study. I enjoy how often you check in with us, ask questions, and answer questions, but also how much we move and explore movement as well….in every class! It truly is a somatic experience, your modern class, and although I know I’m far from perfect & still have much to learn from you, I feel that I have already grown a little bit as a dancer and a person this semester because of this class. CSULB is very lucky to have you. Thank you!

    • I completely agree with Kelly. Your class is a never-ending exploration; therefore, there is never a dull moment. Unfortunately, time goes by so fast! Thank you for all that you are instilling in us!

  9. In movement analysis today we talked a lot about yielding and pushing/reach and pull and upper and lower body connection. We had to take a combination and explore how we can change and improve the movement with keeping these things in mind, which reminded in your class today about taking that last phrase and exploring it. I went over it after class and found new ways to reach, pull, yield, push etc. I felt a major difference in performing it and I hope I can do it again for the midterm because it felt so much better in my body when i embodied the movement instead of just doing the steps and getting them right, which sometimes I focus too much on.

  10. I really enjoyed doing our center phrase ‘over the top’ today. Hearing that it was okay to go a little crazy was fun and really helped to just go for it. After doing this i walked away from the center of room feeling very accomplished, but at the same time knowing it was imperfect. And I was okay with that.

    • I agree with Madison!! Sometimes I get so caught up in doing the phrase right that I forget to actually dance it. Though everything was over the top, it felt good to be free.

  11. I really feel enjoy how you teach class Gerald. Everything is making sense. I can feel myself moving in a new way. I feel that spirals are still difficult for me. I understand the point in spirals but my body isn’t there yet. slowly but surely.

  12. I find it interesting that PNF was created to work with patients that have polio. I think Gerald mentioned it in class, but I forgot until reading it on one of the sites he posted. The combination we learned was definitely a challenge for my mind and body to work together. Now, all the spiraling feels very natural when we do it. I wonder if the patients had a similar experience that I had.

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