Post-midterm and PNF patterns

How do you think you are doing following the halfway point in this course? What have you been discovering in your practice? or perhaps avoiding? Can you share any ‘a-ha’ moments?

Next up, we will be exploring PNF patterns (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation).

You have been presented with a great deal of information in this class. Some of this will be forgotten and recalled at some point in the future in your normal/daily life, when least expected. Can you notice how many PNF patterns you do in your day-to-day activities?

Here are some links: (a history of PNF)



15 thoughts on “Post-midterm and PNF patterns

  1. Reflecting up to this point and on the midterm, although I don’t feel like I am where I want to be, I do feel accomplish on my progress from the beginning of the quarter on the first day. At first , I struggled moving my body to the movements and for the most part, I believe, I was thinking too much on how to move my body instead of letting the movement naturally flow and thus I was getting frustrated with myself because of I felt incapable of keeping up with the quick pace. However, as I see the movement flow I try by doing and not necessarily thinking about how I will twist or turn my body to accomplish this feat. One motion in particular that I felt to have the most trouble with was the ‘spirals’ because I would move my torso in one direction and naturally my arms and legs would want to twist in the same direction but then as I learned the pelvic shift, I realized that it could also move in the opposite direction. This encouraged me to practice these laterally movements and to be honest, it feels really good as a stretching exercise

  2. My favorite part about learning PNF patterns is that we are preventing future injuries. Again, I am discovering that this isn’t just about dance, but rather something that you can bring into day to day activities. The stretching components to PNF patterns not only feels good, but is allowing a better range of motion in muscles that never get stretched. Although this week was short due to Veterans day, I’m hoping we will continue PNF patterns through the next few weeks since you can only see improvement if you keep at it.

  3. On the day of the mid-term Gerald explained that on’e center of gravity is the region below the bellybutton when examined from the front and the low back if taken from the back. I experience chronic pain in both these regions — low back pain and digestive discomfort. I am curious if this pain is my physical body attempting to anchor my soul. I struggle grounding myself, giving into gravity. Perhaps this is a sort of overcompensation on my body’s part. Regarding the mid-term specifically, I had the most trouble with the tendu exercise. I found it difficult to maintain a consistent head-tail connection and almost always let more core go. I am regularly given a similar note in ballet class: “Engage your core! Don’t let your stomach go!” When I was younger, I engaged my stomach 24/7. In my ming the most pedestrian of movement required a ‘sucked in stomach’ be it walking or sitting. Much of this was derived from a great discomfort with my body and overall insecurity. I can now proudly say that is no longer my norm. However, it appears I have shifted to the opposite end of the spectrum, from one extreme to the other. How do I find the middle ground?

  4. Though I am also taking two advanced PE dance classes this quarter, this is by far my hardest one. I have never been asked to move in this way. From spirals and orbitals, to PNF, it is all new to me. My mind is constantly fighting me to do what I have been trained to do as a technical dancer. I have learned to leave that outside the room when I walk into our class. Its crazy how much of this class has translated into the real world. I do find myself using all three planes of movement in my every day activities. This is especially true when situating myself and my things in my small dorm room. I also find myself noticing how my roommates are moving naturally. This class has given me a lot to thing about in terms of organic, every day movement. This class has also allowed me to explore the constant struggle I have with my lower back. PNF patterns feel SO GOOD. I hope to do more with them.

  5. I have had a ton of “ah ha” moments in class. From the words of Fog Beast let’s call them gingerbread moments. I agree with smallfrylyssa, I also have never been asked to move in this way and my mind and body connection fights me every class. I wish I could just “erase” the past from all the dance that I have taken and start a new, but that isn’t the case. I think I shared my “ah ha” “gingerbread moment” at the beginning of class when I didn’t got it and now I got it, however, we keep moving on and it’s a whole new movement I don’t got. This weeks dance is going to be a challenge, but I did notice that if I thought of the dance as “one entire movement” rather than a sequence of movements it helped so I feel once the memorization is down that might work for me. I also had a moment recently where I pictured a dance in my mind where one person is sitting in lotus position in the middle of the floor while 5 dancers surrounding the lotus in the middle are in fetus positions and they slowly awaken to move towards the center as other come from off stage to create a flower. I pictured a bunch of dancers slowly working from the center (ariel view of course) blossoming out and then one by one falling as if a petal is gone and dying leaving the person in the lotus position in the center at the end. I thought of it as a kind of “birth to death” or “organic life” piece and it might have already been done, but this is the kind of dancing that would allow something like that to be possible. I have been missing out on the life of dance until this class. Dance as artwork is truly making sense now and the movements is so challenging that it is blowing my mind. Trace the disco ball, taco, quesadilla and seatbelt are such awesome ways to explain movement! Won’t ever forgot those! PNF seems like it is extremely challenging and introverted-extroverted movements while working through the three planes is so graceful to watch and so hard to do. Why is that? I love this class!

  6. I actually had an “a-ha” moment in class Thursday and felt so overjoyed! I don’t know if it is simply easier for my body to move in circles or what, but the final routine we learned in class Thursday actually felt, in a strange sense, “easy” for me. This is not to say I did it perfectly by ANY means (the double turn at the end certainly left me looking like a fool…a happy, happy fool), but I finally felt connected to my body! Moving in such circular patterns actually felt natural for me, and my body was quick to change course in moving from one movement to the next. I’m not entirely sure what this says about my body and how it moves, but honestly, I almost don’t care simply because I felt so comfortable in my body. For the first time, I wasn’t constantly judging myself, I just let myself be and felt the movements as they came and went. I hope I can keep this up, but even if I cannot, I’m glad to know that it is possible to feel connected and trusting of my body again; it’ll help me push through the moments when I feel disconnected and frazzled (of which I’m sure, more of these moments will come). But for now, I’m a contented little student of dance, and I’m very proud of myself for working through my mental barriers and pushing to move through.

  7. Looking back to my first day of class and comparing it to week five, I can say I have developed a technique of my own. This technique consists of an understanding of different movements such as, spirals, orbits and patterns. I would have to say that by far, moving from spirals and orbitals have been one of the most difficult tasks. I am use to moving in a very lateral form so applying these movements to my body was by far an objective of its own. I look forward to comparing week five to week ten. Lets do this!

  8. Going back to the midterm, I felt it went great it was a little nerve wrecking not having Gerald do the routine. Just in case I got lost I would have turned to him to catch up. Thankfully all went well I did practice the routine well enough to present the day of the midterm. The best part about the midterm class was the last 15 minutes when we stretched on the floor and felt our breathing it felt wonderful to let everything go on the dance floor. PNF movements as I keep reading more and more about them I begin to realize how i use them in my everyday. A simple reach for the cereal in the cabinet involves me to strengthen, flex and coordinate my body a certain position to reach the cereal. Everyone has tried to have the perfect posture at least once and by trying you are moving muscles and parts of your body to reach equilibrium with your body. I look forward to learning more about PNF body movement in class.

  9. For the midterm, I did not feel like I had any trouble with the floor dance. I guess it’s because I am better at sensing my movements when I am up against the floor. It gives me a better sense of spacing and direction than when I am up in standing. During the tendu exercise, I couldn’t hold my body still when I needed to. I think this is partly because I am constantly looking around to remember the next step, and so my head is throwing me off balance. I am convinced that it is partly a matter of mental exercise. I need to stop thinking so much about the next move, and about keeping balance. Otherwise I will keep throwing myself off balance. Wow, I really wish I wrote this post earlier, when I actually remembered how I did on the midterm. I had a little more trouble with the third dance when I lost the mirror. I remember the steps best when I see another dancer that I can follow along with. I am a visual learner first, so I think I am giving priority of what I see over muscle memory.

  10. I think I’m doing okay following the halfway point. I’m definitely more comfortable trying out new things and I feel way more comfortable trying out weird things with my classmates. I’ve been noticing a growing comfort in my body. Even outside of class – if I feel like i want to move around or practice what I’ve learned in class – I do it – without thinking about the world around me. It’s really awesome. I guess I’m learning that bodies are meant for movement – more movement than ‘everyday life’ usually demands.. and I need to move it to feel balanced!

    As far as learning sequences go – I feel as though I’m getting it a bit more. And I’m not sure I can really explain what that means so well, but I’m noticing that my body is seeming like its getting used to moving more. My balance is getting better – and whenever I learn a something new in my aerial silk classes, I can pick it up pretty easily because my brain is getting used to learning sequences.

    I’m noticing in our spine rippling exercise that some of my spine simply doesn’t move. It almost feels as if something is holding my neck straight. I really have to focus on letting that part of my spine relax and move.

    A sort of weird ‘aha’ moment is at work when i’m working the espresso machine. I have to multitask a lot – and sometimes I catch myself having put a combo on the counter, I open the refridge., pull out milk.. THEN pour milk with right hand, grab a utensil with my left, and close the door with my left leg. I never did this before dance. hahah – it’s awesome! Life is turning into dance.

    On another note, I’m excited for PNF patterns. I really like dancing – and how practices effect me outside of class, so I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  11. Working in the Scene Shop for the Theater Arts Department I am constantly on the move. With PNF patterns in mind I have been trying to focus throughout the work day and discover ways in which I am moving that reflect both Spirals, PNF patterns, and cross lateral movements. It was surprising at first when I was able to notice if my arms and legs were turned inwards or outwards particularly when carrying heavy objects. I position my body to support the load of the object and have my legs turned outwards and my arms inwards grasping the item. Definitely an A-Ha moment if any. Last weekend during a show’s strike I was walking on the tension grid and worked my way around the cables and pipes thinking about how fluid the motion seemed to duck down and crawl through the electric jungle. There I felt in league with my body and working simultaneously to keep myself safe.
    As we are half way and some through the quarter I can see moderate improvement and comfort in dance from when the quarter began. This being my first dance class caused me to experience a dread and anxiety over the learning curve but as I become more familiar with the art form I find it easier to follow instruction and the course work provided. Mimicking choreography seems to come naturally but timing and execution are suffering. What I find most useful is to get the steps down and then work it piece by piece in timing and form. It is a fun mental process as I count down each movement to the beat. It is helpful to be able to work in groups because I am able then to see the movement and quickly practice it again to get it down.

  12. I feel like I have definitely improved since the beginning of the quarter. One of my “a-ha” moments is that in the beginning of the quarter I had a harder time learning routines but I realized that I was thinking really hard on what the following steps were, and I was thinking about it as separate movements instead of letting my body take over and thinking of it as a sequence of movements that are merged together. I’ve learned to get out of my head and as a result it has become easier to remember routines. I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement. I need to fix my technique because sometimes I realize I turn out my knees in ways that could hurt me or that I sometimes still forget to not expand my rib cage. I still struggle with isolating parts of my body instead of letting motion flow throughout the entirety of my body. On another note, I’m really enjoying the PNF patterns we’ve started learning in class. It’s a little but hard to wrap one’s head around but I find it astonishing how the internal and external rotations as simple as the ones we do have the power to warm up our body. I’m excited to continue to learn more about these PNF patterns.

  13. I have been surprised by how much I improved over the last quarter. I expected to struggle and stumble through the class, but instead I have found that I have more or less kept up. This class has also made me realize and address how bad my back pain is, something which, over the years, I had learned to ignore. It made me realize that I really don’t treat my body very well, and that in the long term that has consequences on what I can do and with how much ease.

  14. At the halfway point, I don’t see much of a difference from starting the quarter. I am still continuously focused on our coursework, but I believe my mind has settled to a more stressful thought process of Random. PNF is cool, because we are preventing future injury within the dancer. This is very important for me because I have pulled my hamstring to an awful extent before and I don’t believe I will ever fully recover. Looking at the movement PNF uses I see a lot of work with the rotating sockets, body half and cross lateral. Because the movement is suppose to be more natural to the dancer I see a lot of potential for movement in everyday life. Walking, scratching your leg, twisting your body, reaching up for a box of cereal. I believe this pattern of stretching can be related so closely with pedestrian movement because it is meant to be a natural recovery for the basic human anatomy.

  15. I definitely feel that since being in this class I feel much more in tune with my body. I have never been comfortable dancing in front of people, honestly the idea used to terrifying me (kinda still does). I just felt incredibly critical of myself at the fact that it looked so easy and I could never do it right, no matter how hard I tried. That is where my stage fright sits, which when you want to pursue musical theater, is not helpful in the long run. I liked dance, but the awkward klutz always appeared whenever I tried to move or be “graceful”. This class, even at the half-way mark had already made me realize a few things.
    1. Connection to head and tale is incredibly important, totally logical, and just feels right! It feels so natural and correct to let your whole body move together, rather than working against yourself constantly. Yay Gravity!
    2. The natural way is the key. Particular muscles or joints only move one way and if you force them to go in the opposite direction, you are doing more harm than good. Getting up from the floor, for example, is much easier, and safer, if you just let your body and momentum guide you upwards. Plus, you will be much more thankful to yourself in the long run.
    3. My mind is my greatest enemy. That fear that I face at the idea of dancing in front of people stems from discomfort and doubt. I have to work on conquering that fear, not wondering constantly if I am doing the move right, or the girl next to me nailing it. I know the dance, I just second guess my self. Even with only being in this class for a few weeks, I already feel much more comfortable dancing in this environment than I have anywhere else.
    I also really like PNF patterns because I believe they are technics that can be used in our everyday life, also they feel so good! I originally found them a little difficult to pick up at first, but by the time I got it and by the time class ended, I felt so good, warm, and ready for the day!

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