Ways of Seeing (Lengthening)

When we name a movement, we can see it and experience it more clearly. This series explores the many names that Laban Movement Analysis (See post on LMA) offers. While these often sound like regular English words, they sometimes have slightly different meanings when used in an LMA context.

Shape Flow refers to the subtle, personal movement that underlies all movement and breath. For more information on Shape Flow, see previous post.

One element of Shape Flow is Lengthening.

(Above) London Junior Ballet. (Right) New York City Ballet by Paul Kolnik.

In Lengthening, a Shape Flow movement expands up or down. The dancers above are Lengthening in their upper bodies. Lengthening is a characteristic of ballet. It helps create the impression of lightness, of floating. It supports rising up to pointe, balancing, and jumping. People also Lengthen when they are trying to look taller, more confident, when they're trying to see over someone standing in front of them. Lengthening is the opposite of Shortening.

(Left) Sculpture by Giocometti. (Right) New York City Ballet by Paul Kolnik.

Try it: How do you respond to the people above? Pretend you are very tall. Reach your head up to the ceiling. What does Lengthening feel like for you? Is it common for you or rare? What could Lengthening look like in a proud child, in a witch, in a haughty woman, in a basketball player? Extra Credit: Find your tailbone at the very bottom of your spine. Now Lengthen downward from your tailbone towards your chair or the floor. Feel that Lengthening in opposition to your head moving upward. Feel the space created along your spine.

No comments:

Post a Comment