Momentum: Conscious Movement
(Last update: 11/10/14)
What to Expect
Class formats vary. For full descriptions, check the Class Schedule page.
What to Bring
Loose comfortable, layered clothing
Barefeet or specific dance shoes (no street shoes, please)
Snacks, if you tend to have low blood sugar
No perfumes or strong scents/bodily odors
Cash or check only
Tips to keep you moving
Stay in Motion/Pause
This work is about staying present to what is moving in you and around you. When in doubt, come back to the movement you already know: shifting weight, walking, breathing, or even a moment of stillness can be a spring board into full motion. It’s easy to wander and get distracted in this world. If you find that happening on the dance floor, take a breath, ground and begin again.
You are the only person in the room who knows exactly what you need. If you have limitations, work with them not against them. Honor the feedback your body is giving to you. Don’t push it. Arrive early and warm up. Linger for a bit afterwards to cool down.
Dancing with others
The unique part of this dance experience is moving from dancing alone with others to dancing with others. This can be an exciting line to discover as each of us has our own comfort zone. Maybe you love getting caught in your own momentum or maybe your thing is collaborating with the dancers around you. Whatever your preference, it can all be had. As you are ready, you are encouraged to step toward the edge of what is familiar, in a safe, respectful way. If you always dance alone, try to reach out. If you are always in relationship it might be time to drop into your own movement. Listen and trust your dance.
We foster an atmosphere of openness, respect and engagement. Dancers are welcome to dance alone or with others. When you are finished dancing with another - whether that dance moment is simply done or if it isn't feeling right to you - you are free to end that dance. Turning around or moving away are effective ways to leave a dance. It is the job of the other dancer to remember not to take your leaving personally! These sessions are an opportunity for all of us to learn and grow as people: we take risks and self-responsibility, we make new mistakes, and practice engaging each other with considerate attention.
It is important to be aware when your actions are affecting everyone in the room. We ask ourselves: How do I impact the whole? Can others stay engaged in their own dance or am I distracting them with my actions? Can I stay aware enough to know where I am in relation to others? Is my dance so involved that I fail to notice that I stepped on a few toes or swung an arm so fast that it almost hit another person? Am I having a conversation or making noise so that other dancers are pulled out of their dance? We encourage a full dance experience that is in harmony with the larger dance that happens in the room. The next three topics speak to specific behaviors that can disrupt another dancer's focus.
Contact Improvisation (CI) isn’t a specific part of the practices we teach, but we recognize that many dancers are skilled in this practice. We realize that CI can enrich some dancers experiences and we find that works so long as the safety of all dancers is attended to by those engaged in CI. In addition we insist that dancers do not lift each other up and CI dancers maintain an awareness of the other dancers around you and how your CI dance is affecting the whole room. In sessions where space is at a premium we ask that CI not be engaged in.
Silence is a wonderful thing
This is a practice, a wonderful oasis for discovery. As in any sacred place, we ask that you be mindful of how words, noises and presence impacts the space. This is a place to dance. We know it is exciting to see and meet new and old friends. We ask that the talking be kept to a minimum or - better yet - outside the dance space. Many times we are asked if vocalization, clapping, or stomping are okay in this dance. Our answer…. dance it first. Put that energy back into the body and see where it can take you. Remember that vocalization, clapping and stomping affect the whole space and all the dancers, drawing attention away from our individual and collective experience.
Parents with Children
As with sustained vocalizations or reckless dancing, children can inadvertently dominate the room. If your child can be quiet and still in the opening and closing circles, during the quiet times in the music, and be attentive to this adult space - you are in good company. Chasing and lifting create hazards on the dance floor and are discouraged. If you're not sure that your child and this environment are a good fit, bring a friend to help you out the first few times while you experiment. Be prepared to take a fussing child out of the dance room. See what it's like to come back in when they have quieted down. Be gentle with yourself as you explore the possibility of these sessions. In addition, note that a child can be given a quiet activity to engage in while you dance.
Give it a try
In the end this is your dance, your time, your body. If you find that something does not work for you (music, format, etc) we ask that you first give it a try: dance the “I don’t like this song dance”! See where it takes you. We are available after class for feedback and you can always send us an email with your comments or concerns. If this is your first time to our classes, we strongly encourage you to give yourself 2 or 3 sessions before deciding if we're a good fit or not. Some of the biggest barriers (inhibition, judgment of self and others, the awkwardness of a new experience, feeling like you don't know anyone, etc) have the most powerful impact in the first session or two. Be kind to yourself and breathe through the intensity!
The M:CM teachers are committed to holding safe, fun, spirited dance classes. We provide a variety of music as well as a range of classes to meet the needs of our students. We bring our best to each and every session and ask our dancers to do the same. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.
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