reducing counterproductive effort in ballet training though the integration of Qi Gong coordinated breathing, visualizations
IADMS 2011 - movement session is aimed at dance educators, dancers and practitioners working with health considerations in dance training. In the workshop we will learn simple, effective Qi Gong exercises applied to ballet technique and integrated in the ballet class context.
The main objective for integrating this complementary technique to training is to provide simple tools for a dancer that enhance the sustainability of the ballet technique for a durable career.
Qi Gong teaches an understanding of energy flow in the moving body and breathing techniques coordinated with the requirements of individual movements to maximize effectiveness. This ancient martial art form uses inspirational energy visualizations to facilitate the effortless support of arms, back and leg extension. The focus is on fluid tension-free movement working with strength and yet softness. It harnesses the power of the mind as a complementary tool for the dancer to facilitate speed, line and precision.
When applied to common ballet problems such as unnecessary upper body tension due to compensation for lack of core strength or ineffective use of the breath, the techniques, working from the inside reduces superficial tension, redirects the focus on central strength and effortlessly adjusts positioning. Used over time the techniques reduce adverse effects of counterproductive effort such as: increased pressure on the joints, wear and tear, problems with neck, vertebrae - relieving rigidity in the upper body and pelvic area.
The advantage of Qi Gong over other conscious somatic techniques is that it incorporates the dancer's requirement of simultaneous internal and external focus in movement. Other conscious techniques using an internal focus can be difficult to apply in dance practice.
Clare Guss-West - IADMS - Washington