Hello my friends,
Today as I was teaching, my student was speaking. I noticed her neck tighten and grab as she spoke.
Stay with me; this applies to dance, as well…
She couldn’t feel it, but it was visible in the mirror as well as evident on a tactile level, as I gently laid a hand on her head and neck.
We worked with the idea to leave her neck quiet as she speaks.
That was the take-away from the lesson – to leave her neck and shoulder quiet and do an activity, in her case, talking.
It’s not achieved by stiffening the muscles.
It’s done by not adding something – in her case, not adding tightening, while she talks.
It’s important because she gives talks, often 1 to 1½ hours in length. Tightening up her throat impacts her ability to speak well with a clear voice and not get hoarse.
It also shows up in dance; the head being balanced is critical to being balanced on your feet and tightening the neck often puts the head out of balance.
Let me share some secrets of coordination with you…secrets of balance on your feet.
If a dancer’s neck grips as she begins to move, it will pull her head out of alignment.
That head out of alignment is like a bowling ball that lives up on the end of a toothpick. When it comes out of alignment, scaffolding is needed to shore it up.
Your neck muscles take on that job…and it is harder to move.
As a dancer, if your neck is tight, it locks up the movement of the head on top of the spine as you move through space. You may be balanced for a moment…but only a nanosecond, because the moment you move, your head must be free to adjust it’s balance dynamically with the changing positions of your body as it moves through space.
The HEAD must be FREE, IN MOVEMENT.
FREE on the end of the neck.
I’m working with a dancer to help him release neck tension that he doesn’t even feel.
OBVIOUSLY, it’s something he doesn’t feel.
….because if he could feel it, he wouldn’t do it.
He’s often in pain when he dances, but when we work, his back and his neck feel better and it’s easier to move.
It’s about learning to feel something that’s there but you haven’t been able to access it…
How do you fix something if you can’t feel what you’re doing to create it in the first place?
Have you ever struggled with the same body issue for months…maybe years?
You spend years of trying and trying…trying to find and to feel and ultimately, to control…something that’s visible in video, but that you can’t feel in your body…
…because it’s been there so long and it probably crept in very slowly …perhaps over years sitting hunched over a computer..
but what if…that elusive “how” was right there for you, if only you could feel it…
…aye, there’s the rub…the “how-to” of how to do it.
It’s my lifetime endeavor. Helping dancers to find and feel the invisible. Teaching them how to control their own neck and head, with something they have inside that they don’t know how to find.
Together, we can find it.
*Alexander Technique (AT) is about connecting thought and muscular activity. It increases your body awareness and gives you the power to change how you do, what you do, as you do it.