THEA 33 – Week 4: An intro to Irene Dowd’s Orbits

I will continue on from Thursday’s lesson. And we will explore the hip sockets by studying material from Irene Dowd’s ‘Orbits’. We will also look at other exercises and ways of moving the external rotators of the hip in relation to the bony structure of the pelvis. Additionally, we will address the adjacent muscles and how their mechanics affect the overall function of the hips.

On Thursday, guest artist Cid Pearlman will teach our class:

Although we are not learning ‘Resonance’, I thought it would still be of interest to post this video:


14 thoughts on “THEA 33 – Week 4: An intro to Irene Dowd’s Orbits

  1. I found the combination we learned from Cid to be very challenging. Throughout most of the combination we alternated between a neutral and low position during the standing phrase and it took a lot of mental effort to resist the urge to releve. It made me very aware that my body is very used to going from plie to releve while passing through neutral, but completely unused to going from plie to netural back to plie.

  2. I found the similarities between Cid’s and Gerald’s technique intriguing. Although they have different approaches they work with the same root of modern technique that involves connecting with the floor and utilizing orbits and spirals to transition from one level to the next. I love the fluidity that both their movements convey and I feel honored to know that I am learning movement not only they have established over their years of dancing but also the movement of dancers and teachers before them. This historical lineage of movement being passed on from generation to generation has core elements that are essential to every dancer and mastering those fundamental concepts are what challenge me everyday in becoming a more knowledgeable dancer.

  3. I initially noticed the similarities between Cid and Gerald’s classes in the first week of Gerald’s class, because I took a class with Cid last year during spring quarter. That was my first time dancing these stylings of modern dance. While I danced and worked with Cid for “Blueprints,” I developed and grew as a dancer and person, it was an experience that completely changed me. Anyways! I loved the connectivity between the two classes and the excitement that Cid experienced from our class having done some of the same or similar moves she was asking us to do. It was also really interesting to revisit the combinations that Cid taught on Thursday, because they were the same ones she taught last quarter, now having Gerald’s technique under my belt and having grown since I last danced with her. It was still a challenging class, as I remembered, but it was nice to have some previous knowledge of what was going to happen next.

  4. I too noticed similarities between this class and the modern classes I took with Sid and Ted last year. Since I just began to really study modern dance last year, I am enjoying seeing these same fundamentals presented in different ways and I feel like it is helping me to become familiar with these types of movement.

  5. As the people above had mentioned, it is hard not to bring up the similarities between Cid and Geralds techniques. It made me think of dance as a kind of language. Just like language, dance comes from different parts of the world and is drawn from different influences. As dance and language start to spread people alter it to change with the locale and the time. So you can compare Gerald and Cid as having “accents” from the same technique. They do have different approaches to teaching and different class structures and combinations but both of their movements are rooted from the same dance “language”.

  6. Last week in class was very liberating. Whenever we learn something new in class from Gerald I am conscious of the fact that we will eventually have to be tested on the material. I do my best to enjoy and embrace the effects the exercises have on my body, but in the back of my mind I am slightly strained to maintain a student-like mentality. When Cid came into class that subliminal feeling was absent; I was able to truly relax and relieve myself of tension. When I realized this after that class period, I noted release of tightness and then tried to bring it to the following class. Yesterday I was able to remove myself from a classroom setting and was able to simply dance and move and be without having an ultimatum in mind.

  7. I understood what Zach was saying in class the other day before our Midterm- that he felt a sense of pressure when struggling to remember combinations- but after we went through our class, I realized that pressure is all in our own heads. I was so anxious for the Midterm basically the entire quarter because this is my first dance class ever, but Gerald made it very clear he wasn’t like other instructors. It isn’t about the “ideal body” like some of the girls in class were mentioning, it’s about breathing and connecting with your body how you know best. The only time I feel anxious or pressured in that class is because I want to get the combinations as easily as the other dancers, but that’s because I can be hard on myself. After our midterm, I stepped back, took a breath, and was proud of myself for the effort I have put in and all the fun I have had. I really appreciated that open forum we had before we started, it let us talk about our feelings openly and it actually helped me get to know people better.

  8. First of all, I think this pretty much sums up the conversation we had in class last Thursday:

    Also, for anyone who noticed my fall during class the same day – I actually think it helped me out. I know that I have a problem focusing when it comes to dance (focus in general really…) and there have been a select few times in class where I have nothing else on my mind besides exactly what we are doing at the present moment with our bodies. The cause of my fall was because I was more focused on the routine than my own body as I was going through the motions. My fall was a sort of reality check on what I was paying attention to and also brought me to the realization that I was slacking in grounding myself.

  9. It’s so easy to become caught up in the grading process and worrying about being successful since that is what we have be trained to worry about all our lives as students. However I really don’t think this mindset is helpful in a dance class. I feel there is no reason to dance unless you are dancing for yourself. In my experience, dancing only for a grade or to prove you can to other people, or even just to show how much you can improve as a dancer makes me unhappy! But when I can connect to why I truly love dance, I actually dance better and I want to keep dancing forever! When watching dancers, you can tell which ones have found that deep love of dance inside of them and let it show through their movements! Luckily we have a wonderful opportunity in this class to try to connect with this aspect of dancing without being told to try to be perfect and only worry about our grade!

  10. I agree with Masha that we shouldn’t be worrying about the grading process. Like I took this class in order to further my knowledge and skills of dance & improve on what skills I think I have. Also with that being said, I feel Masha is also correct that there isn’t a reason to dance unless it’s for yourself! I do agree that Cid’s class was a great way to relax and just dance for yourself, because there was no worries, but instead laughs

  11. I understand, to a degree, with what my peers are saying. It is good to let go of grading expectations and dance freely, I think it is the best way to generate organic movement. However, I personally respond best to a disciplined class structure. I appreciated Cid’s ability to have fun but reign it in so that we could really pick up the material. (To a degree, I think it may have been because she was a guest teacher which generates a respectful, reverential atmosphere.) I just hope that in the coming classes, we have playful moments in class but also realize that to progress and grow as dancers, more professionalism and focus are required.
    In response to Dowd’s orbits, I really liked how, much like orbiting planets, our bodies were made to have multiple centers of movement generation working with one another, and orbiting through the space. I liked that these orbiting exercises made me focus on where my center of gravity was, and allowed me to be more in control of it. I found that when I took ballet later that day, I was much more in tune with my center and core.

  12. I think that one of the reasons why Cid and Gerald’s techniques have some similarities is because they have a similar dance foundation. From this they both took what they learned and their different experiences and molded what they learned into their own form.

  13. Cid Pearlman’s combinations were very interesting and although I have had class with her and have been instructed in her combinations, doing them again this week was very interesting. Imagining/feeling my body move in spirals and the breathing, was pretty amazing. I could see all of the movement in positions/levels that Cid had taught me, but now I could see them with different eyes.

  14. I feel like Cid’s class didn’t relieve me of the grading mindset as much as it reinforced how free I had felt throughout Gerald’s class. I’ve spent this quarter focusing on technique in class for my own approval rather than worry about my grade. That being said, I really enjoyed Cid’s class as it was a nice change of pace and the routine she taught us was a lot of fun.

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