Ways of Seeing (Widening)

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 Widening.

Photo of boy by Nicholas Nixon.
Photo of woman by Richard Avedon.

In Widening, a Shape Flow movement expands to the right and left, in the horizontal dimension. The boy and the woman above are Widening. Their arms move out to the side, but their breath and whole bodily senses do too. Widening is expansive, open, vulnerable. It is the movement we do before we give someone a big hug. We Widen when we are proud, full of life. Also when we want to establish dominance, power.

Man, Unknown, MOMA collection.
Photo of woman by Ernest J. Bellocq.

Try it: Take a deep breath and expand your ribs out to the right and the left. Feel your chest and shoulders Widen. Allow your arms to follow the movement of your breath, imagine the whole world is yours. Think about the times in your life when you Widen. Decide on one situation in which you would like to Widen more. Think of the people you know who Widen. Do those moments excite you, irritate you? Do you trust them? Watch for the next time a dancer Widens in order to stretch out a movement, appear bigger.

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