Life has sometimes unexpected shifts and challenges on our path that we do not wish or long for. These changes force us to let go of things or people we love and to reinvent ourselves anew. Personal loss can confront us with deep sorrow and despair. As we get older we start to acknowledge that anything we try to hold on to, will crumble and change form through time. 

Experts in change

As movers we experience this process over and over again. In some ways we are experts in changing form and being in this continuous life/death stream. Being an expert doesn’t mean necessarily that we are better prepared in handling unexpected changes in our own life. But may be we can understand them better on a physical level. When I am dancing my moving body is in change constantly. My weight is shifting which will cause body parts to adapt, my dynamic level of involvement to change in accordance to my form and environment I move in. How do I keep up and stay in flow when so many things are changing all the time? 

Being exactly where we are

One of the keys is to try not to hang back in time and not to bent forward into the future. The present moment of movement is offering us all we need to take the next step. You can get the information only when you are here. Trusting the ‘now’ can be deeply comforting and relieving.

Dualities, survival and stress

One of the other keys I found is to dive into the ever-changing thematic dualities that we use in Laban Bartenieff Movement System to identify where we are. We are using thematic dualities as Stability/Mobility, Self/Other, Exertion/Recuperation, Inner/Outer to identify the polarities we live in.

Maslow is talking about ‘the hierarchy of needs’ to balance ourselves on a continuum of survival/coping behavior and expressive/transcendental behavior. He states that a person needs first to attend to the survival levels but will only meet his/her own potential when s/he is developing the expressive/transcendental parts.

I believe that here is a parallel to the theme of Exertion/Recuperation. Many people are not aware of the fact that they are actually living in a ’survival’ modus even when they think that they are recuperating. Our time demands so much fast action, which accumulates a lot of stress in the body that we often do not ‘read’ the signs of stress in our own bodies anymore. The chosen recuperation often is not very helpful  (relaxing in front of a computer) and on the long run the body and the mind can get very exhausted. When in addition of that life challenges can knock us down, it feels like we are not having the resilience and the mobility to bounce back off the ground.

LBMS in our lives

Our movement reflects thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuitive aspects of ourselves. There is a very real fractal relationship between how we move on a “physical” level, and how we move through our lives — both of which can be identified in terms of patterns.  These patterns, micro and macro, inner and outer, self and other related, are reflected in lively and revealing ways. Our movement reveals our own stories, if we know how to look.


How can we use this information?

Once we become aware of our tendencies and preferences in movement, we begin to recognize these patterns in our lives. Then we can begin to play creatively. This is where the richness of Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies  (LBMS) is so valuable. By providing a taxonomy of what, where, how and why movement occurs, we are offered a map of possibilities.  We can find our way to new places we’ve never been before. Change is movement and movement is change.  New movement experiences in the studio allow us to make new choices in our lives. By literally “practicing” ways of moving, these alternate patterns become available to us when we want and need to call them up. Conversely, changes we make in our lives can enable us to access new movement possibilities in the studio. It’s a wonderfully vibrant circle.