What is Good Posture?

    When asked how to improve posture I usually disappoint because I don't, and can't, give a simple answer. When deciding what good posture is, we must know what we're trying to accomplish, because posture is situational. In different contexts we arrive at a posture through different lenses – either aesthetic or functional.  In some situations we judge posture for what it looks like, in others for what it allows us to accomplish. An example of an aesthetic posture is ballet, where dancers stand with legs turned out and pressed together, head erect, spine straight(ish) and arms held still. This posture is only “good” when trying to accomplish the movements associated with ballet. Watch athletes run the 100 meter dash and you will not see a posture determined by how it looks, but instead organized to move as fast as possible through space – and that is not a straight spine, head erect and legs turned out. Of course, if a ballet dancer took the posture of a sprinter it would be equally out of place. Posture is determined by context and desired functional outcome, and shifts from activity to activity.
    Another factor effecting our ability at achieve an ideal of posture is the fact that we are actually never still. To assume a posture suggests that there is a specific shape that is best for us and implies a sense of stillness or holding. Few people are still for very long, even when they are sitting or standing. Wanting to acknowledge that we are are always in action Dr. Feldenkrais coined the term “acture” to replace posture. This alludes to the fact that most of time we are always in "action" by constantly shifting, making slight changes and adjusting ourselves as we sit at our desk, waiting in line or even walking down a street.
    Posture is situational as well as always shifting and dynamic. But, this doesn't quite answer the question as to how to achieve good or appropriate posture. From a Feldenkrais perspective the first thing we must do is increase our physical awareness. Often our postural and movement choices are without awareness and simply habitual. As we increase the ability to sense ourselves we find more efficient and comfortable options in every situation. Hence, good posture is achieved not by having your head, shoulders and torso in a certain configuration, but instead being able to sense the changes needed situation to situation and moment to moment. A Feldenkrais Practitioner's goal is to assist students in improving their ability to sense themselves and choose the correct posture for any given situation.
I will be teaching a series of Awareness Through Movement lessons (May 7-21) at The Spa Room exploring "Improving Your Posture".  You can try a free lesson Monday May 7 from 6-7pm. Sign up here.
This entry is a re-post from my now defunct blog about The Feldenkrais Method.


Feedback for 'Worship/Home'

If you came and saw Worship/Home this weekend (April 21 & 22, 2012) at Joe's Movement Emporium, please leave any thoughts, comments, impressions, responses or even suggestions in the comment area below. Please let us know if you saw the video or the live performance first, and, maybe, how that impacted your experience.... but, really, any comment would be helpful. Thanks!


Earth Day Connection, By Chance

This coming Sunday is Earth Day, it is also the second night of the company's performance of our newest work - Worship/Home. In this work we explore acts of home, creating home, leaving home and being without a home. A metaphor often used in conjunction with Earth Day is that the earth is everybody's home and, of course, we should take care of it. Throughout Worship/Home we address the question "What is your favorite place in your home?" Coincidentally, when developing this material I wrote about how my favorite place is my family's garden - which, obviously, connects closely to Earth Day. Here is the text as performed in Worship/Home:

"My favorite place in my home is the garden. The optimism of the moment. The potential of bounty. The peas and tomatoes and beans. A bowl full of chard. The satisfaction of growing food. Between the planting and picking, early in the morning, when my family - my wife, my daughter - and I are in the garden, checking its progress, picking weeds, watering - these are the moments of togetherness, of doing something that feels vital, important. To have a garden is an act of community, an act of love. It is our spiritual work - to dig in the dirt, plant possibilities, nurture and harvest. This garden is the farthest I can get from my computer and daily to-do lists. It is an embrace and an island, a breath and a release. It just feels so good, to get my hands so dirty."

Go here to get more info on our performances: http://goo.gl/G3gAT


Lo-Tech Hi-Tech

I am interested in technology and how it can effect our art-making, art-presenting and art-viewing experiences. I have dabbled with technology in a number of ways - using video projection in performance, creating a performance for internet broadcast, encouraging audience members to post pictures and video of performances online, and irregularly posting videos online of performances and rehearsals. But I am also interested in technology as an social equalizer and not as an elitist tool. Because of this I am often searching for ways in which we can use technology at the lowest entry point, but still make it compelling and interesting. For instance, many of my most recent videos posted online has been shot and edited using my ipod touch. While an ipod touch is not cheap, it is much less expensive than owning a video camera, a decent computer and having software to edit the raw video footage. By having one, very small and portable devise to take care of many of my video needs I am able to create videos quickly and inexpensively. Another example will be my upcoming performance of Worship/Home in which we will be doing a live video feed (with live internet broadcast) in which we will be using the free site Ustream. Again, instead of expensive equipment and software we will be using an ipod touch with a free app from Ustream (using a free membership) to transfer the live feed from the theater to another location within Joe's. There are times, of course, when I see a performance that using high end technology to great effect and I am amazed and inspired, but because I am interested in the technology available to the widest range of people, I continue to explore these low cost entry points.

Art in the hands of the people!

Join us HERE for the performances live on the internet April 21 & 22.
Or, go HERE to buy tickets to see the performance live.


Tap as Home, Tap as Source

In my new work, Worship/Home, we are exploring ideas about home, creating home, finding home, or being without a home. As I was thinking about my own relationship to home and its meaning for me I began thinking about how dance is a type of home for me - a place I feel comfortable, accepted, at ease. This lead me think of how when I was younger my mother would say she most enjoyed watching me dance when I was tap dancing because she thought I was most myself when tapping - or, most at home. I began to wonder how to include some tap into this new piece. I decided to us some classic tap steps (buck time step and others) as a base for developing some of the movement by recording when there was a shift of weight from one foot to another, or when there was a hop. From these weight shifts we ended up with specific rhythms (1&2, 3&4, 5&6&7&8, or &2, &4, &6 7&8, etc..). Each dancer used these rhythms to create movement phrases, mostly for the legs, that moved through space. At the end of this process we ended up with movement phrases where the movements are different, but the timing of the shifts of weight are in unison. It creates an interesting tension between being in and not being in unison. We then took these phrases and layered them, combined them, and juxtaposed them to create sections of the new work. The below video is a rough draft of one such section. In performance we will not be dancing to a metronome, but were using one to keep time in rehearsal. Find out more about the performance here.