'This human realm in which we have taken birth, is halfway between heaven and earth, and is said to have fundamentally and equal measure of suffering and pleasure, of joy and pain, of loss and gain, of the mundane and the daily punctuated by unspeakable beauty and oceans of tears.' - Jack Kornfield
The Floor Edge
Floor work can open up a whole new range of experience and awareness for a conscious dancer. Ask people how they feel about floor work, and you will get a whole range of response from those who love it and cannot get enough to those who have simply never been down there. Conscious dance encourages one to push the edges of comfort and to explore new movements as a way of discovering new facets of being.
Playing on the ground accomplishes both of these for many dancers. In our classes we often start the journey lying down on the floor. In our normal day to day, it is the soles of the feet that make contact with the earth and move us around. When we bring the rest of the body into the exploration of this connection, we soon discover that there are many parts of the body that can serve as the feet, opening up a new range of movement and experience. New ways to move in connection to the floor, and new ways to stand up in the world.
Symbolically the floor represents our connection to the ground. When we say, 'I'm feeling grounded' it usually refers to this experience of being rooted or connected to the earth. Being able to go to ground is a great skill in life. When we loose the grounded connection we are left feeling frazzled, anxious, fearful, or scattered. We become less effective and even a danger to ourselves.
To be effective with our energy, our roots need to be deep. Then we are able to thrive. To grow tall. Reach far. So why are most people so afraid of getting down? Why does this theme, eliminate half the dancers who would show up for a class? Mostly habit. We've been sitting in chairs too long! The ground is a long way off. It's not comfortable on the floor.
How to do it?
How do we do floor work in conscious dance? Most of what you will learn will come from being open to exploring possibilities within ourselves, as well as noticing how other dancers find their way. Initially it may feel clumsy and without grace, but with practice, it all begins to flow. The skill we learn, the new moves, translate into new neural pathways, enhanced physical proprioceptive skills, as well as new patterns of emotions, and thinking.
Start lying on the ground. Stay present, stay in movement. Begin to explore the possibilities. The music will provide an aid to the kind of movement. Shapes, forms, gestures, and flow's. What do we want to achieve? Do we want to roll around a bit? How about crawling? Should we get up? How do we get up? When we are up, how do we want to get down again?
Explore the horizontal levels: totally on the floor, raised a little, sitting up, a little higher, standing up, reaching for the sky. Dance with the floor as your partner. Become aware of gravity. Push away from the floor. Yield to the floor.
Centre of Gravity
Notice your body's centre of gravity in the lower belly. Pull your limbs in towards your centre, push them away from it. Feel the parts of your body making contact with the floor. Roll around a little, let one movement flow into the next. Explore pushing away from the ground not only with the feet, try with the belly or the shoulders, or an elbow, or any other body part.
Work with spirals and circles. Find flows of movement (where one movement flows into the next into the next). Find ways of getting up, and falling down again. Play and be curios. After the class, reflect on how you are feeling and notice your relationship to the earth and if it feels changed.