Ways of Seeing (Narrowing)

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 Narrowing.

Photo of woman by William Eggleston.
Man and woman by Mike Disfarmer.

In Narrowing, a Shape Flow movement condenses in towards the center within the horizontal dimension. It is the opposite of Widening. The people above are Narrowing. Their torsos seem to shrink (They are also Shortening.) Narrowing is the movement we do when we try to take up less space. When we are scared, or shy, or not breathing fully. Sometimes we Narrow so the people around us will not feel threatened.
NYC subway riders in their Narrowing dance.
Photo by Travis Ruse.

Try it: Exhale and contract your ribs in towards your center. Smoosh your shoulders and arms in towards your sides. Feel your torso Narrow. Pretend two elevator doors are closing in on your sides. Think about the times in your life when you Narrow. Is that effective for you? The next time you are on a train or bus or plane, notice the people around you. Who Narrows and who Widens? Do the opposite of what you normally do.


  1. Aynsley,

    I am really enjoying reading your posts. They are serving me as a "cup of coffee", giving me absorbable reminders to look around me and see, and not just in the studio or classroom. I think they are working for me in the focus you bring to each individual post. Please keep it up!

  2. Aynsley,
    Lynn here. Turns out my daughter has a google account, and I accidentally posted as her. Further, I need to figure out how to get a new google account, cause this is going to post as lily as well. Thanks.

  3. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks so much for writing!!!

    I've been taking some time evaluating the role I want this writing to serve. Your note inspires me though!

    take care,