THEA 33 – Week 7: Intro to Body-Mind Centering

“The mind is like the wind and the body is like sand. If you want to know which way the wind is blowing take a look at the sand.”

This is one of my favorite somatics quotes and one that has guided me over the years. This week we will begin looking at the work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen – Body-Mind Centering. Please check out these websites and I highly recommend that you read Cohen’s book, Sensing, Feeling and Action.

http://www.bodymindcentering.org

http://www.bodymindcentering.com

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13 thoughts on “THEA 33 – Week 7: Intro to Body-Mind Centering

  1. Although the Mind Body Centering phrase we did in class today seemed silly at first, it really sparked my intrigue in where our movements originated from. How we developed as a child directly effects our movements as an adult. It made me question if we ever grow out of these tendencies or are they fixable? I have a friend that used to be pigeon toed as a child but eventually grew out of it. But I also notice people that are pigeon toed walking around campus.

  2. I really enjoyed our talk in class today, as well as the movement that followed. I especially liked the quote by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen involving wind and sand. I recently watched a Ted Talk on body language, and this reminded me of it. Body language affects how others view you and how you view yourself. Whether we’re aware of it or not, I do believe emotions are expressed through our bodies, even if simply sitting a certain way in class. More related to our discussion today, I thought it was interesting to bring the purpose of movement back to the basics, all the way to infancy. I’ve never given dance or movement that kind of thought before, and I’m not even sure what I mean by “that kind of thought” perhaps on such a philosophical level. Why do I move? I move to feed myself, to get from one place to the other, to communicate, to dance, to express, to live, etc. I find it easier to communicate with others via touch and movement rather than words, which is probably also why this blog post is all over the place. In addition to all of the thoughts I’m having regarding the ideas discussed in class today, I’m feeling myself grow more in my movement when it comes to intention and fullness, it feels great!

  3. This week’s BMC exercises and lectures were so helpful for me in understanding why we move and where our movements originate exactly. I was especially intrigued by the conversation about why we dance, and I continued thinking about why I dance for the rest of Tuesday’s class as well as Thursday’s. Considering where my dancing comes from emotionally, as well as physically, helped me refine my dancing. I found thinking about what emotions I wanted to express through whatever phrase we were working on allowed for a conscious, therapeutic release.

  4. Unlike our sense of our surroundings and pain, our sense of self is very easily overlooked. Our nervios system is very elegant, intricate and beautifully coordinated with our muscles . Being in tune not only with our body parts but also with how we carry out our movements is key in strenghtening our dancing. On that note I fell in class this week. It was not a graceful fall and I would like to quote the great Sheldon Cooper when he said, ” Gravity thou art a heartless b***h.”

  5. I think the reason why I move and continue moving is because it is a continual exploration of who I am and who others are around me. To me it is so intriguing to channel life as a mover/dancer because when you think you have seen it all you most definitely haven’t. It continues to evolve and it paints a beautiful trajectory of transformation among people. It gives record of how environmental and personal experiences have filtered into the mind of the mover and have transformed through time. I really enjoy doing the beginning exercise in class because it brings back to light my past self as a child and infant that I have long forgotten but that is still a part of me. From this exercise and from our talk about intention I think what inspires me most is that I feel that I can move in time along the trajectory of my life; moving with intention of the past, feeling the present, and channeling the future. Movement is never static and that is what continually inspires me to keep exploring myself as a dancer.

  6. Earlier this week when asked why we do art in class, I immediately thought about a guest lecture I went to recently, led by photographer Carrie Mae Weems. Someone in the audience asked her why she takes photos and where her motivations lie… and she responded “The purpose of art is to reveal. A lot of life is spent trying to conceal our pain and fears and inadequacies… but art is uninterested in this. It is simply meant to reveal.”
    This thought has been swirling around in my head since I heard it, and has been reinforced through all the testimonials of artists I have encountered since. For example, in the program of Rachael Lincoln and Leslie Seiters’ show People Like You (recently shown at Motion Pacific in downtown SC), their piece is described as an “explor[ation] of the complex intersections of how and who we are in relation to what or whom we meet.” Weems’ sentiments are also expressed by the two artists who opened for Lincoln and Seiters who descibe their piece as an attempt to “peel back the veil on what is normally hidden from view.”
    So I think back to the question of why we do art, posed by Gerald in class, and I have to agree with Weems. I think sometimes regular verbal communication is not always enough. Especially for those, including myself, who find verbal communication oftentimes difficult, dance (and all art in general) is a way to reveal what would be un-expressable otherwise.

  7. I also really liked the quote comparing the mind and body to the wind and sand. Just the week before I was talking to my friend about how mental traumas can often manifest themselves as physical pain, just like this quote suggests. In my experience this link can also work the opposite way, because when I am feeling stressed or unhappy a good dance class can clear my mind and make me feel less overwhelmed!

  8. I liked that we dialogued about the philosophy and origin of movement this week. Understanding that movement and expression beyond vocal communication are innate parts of our instinct as animals really allowed me to loosen up in class. I believe that I began to really trust my body, trust that even if learning the choreography in a dance class with other people was a little intimidating the movement and my ability are already there. It was a matter of unlocking that ability and trusting myself. After doing so, I finally nailed the combination that had frustrated me so much the previous week! It was a fantastic feeling to finally let go and feel accomplished for it.

  9. “The qualities of any movement are a manifestation of how mind is expressing through the body at that moment.” This passage from Cohen’s book is how I’ve come to understand the bodymind relationship. “Movement can be a way to observe the expression of mind through the body, and it can also be a way to affect changes in the body-mind relationship.” It is through awareness and movement that somebody can affect change within their bodymind

    Studying embryological development has given me a deeper understanding of anatomical layers of the body. Cohen’s focus on the evolution of both ontogenetic and phylogenetic movement will surely provide a similarly deep understanding of movement.

  10. Movement origin is another great reason why I belive this class is so interesting and enjoyable for me. Learning that we move the way we move because the expression of our bodies has to do where we as people originate from and the patterns that we follow are based on our experiences and habits. I feel that understanding movement this way has very roots on cultural tradition, race, social position, gender etc.

  11. The simple question of “Why do we move?” really got me thinking after class. The talk we had about the primal origins of movement reawakened my earlier curiosities about movement, and I’m glad I did. That curiosity is what led me to take this class in the first place, and I’m really glad I was able to rethink my movement midway through the class.

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