CULTIVATING ARTS AND MINDS
The Kinetic Line
The Kinetic Line
Our Kinetic Line exercises carried us beyond our intellectual comfort zone and into the richly embodied world of dance. Gradually, through a series of gentle prompts, our bodies were nudged into motion: drawing words with our big toes, practicing the “small dance” of standing still, we were reminded that all human beings think with and through their bodies, not just with their minds. Writing short poem, then expanding them into gesture, we brought our academic✼artistic selves into alignment through the magic of (e)motion: Dancer A's "stomping gestures of thought," Dance B's "space-making acts." The exercise inspired us to notice our bodies more, to let physical movement guide our writing, and to open ourselves to dance as an art form that is accessible to every body.
I Am an Artist✼Academic
my body got frozen
when education entered
and fired up my brain
brain hovers over
neck, torso, two long legs, feet
doing the small dance
small dance opens
to twirls, pirouettes, stomping
gestures of my thought
bodies as everywhere
bodies that make spaces for voices yet to come
this symmetrical experience
of an even day
the light falls evenly
we feel gravity together
sensing and listening
we fall together in our gravity
we tune beyond this
a beginning of a care pathway
a heart that can listen
dancing as tending to space
we fall together
our ribcages breathe
there is work to do in the everywhere
as space making acts
to respect this world we make each day
The Kinetic Line
- Stand in alignment: ankles under knees, knees under hips, hips falling below ribs, ribs floating below shoulders, skull floating above shoulders.
- Close your eyes if you feel like it.
- Body scan:
- Feel how gravity is falling through your body
- Feel whether you are symmetrical on both sides of your body - are arms the same length? Do legs feel even or uneven?
- Notice your breath, the pattern of your breath
- Feel the muscles around your eyes. Is it possible to be soft and spacious around the eyes?
- We practice the Small Dance (an exercise drawn from the field of Contact Improvisation, developed by Steve Paxton - https://bodycartography.org/portfolio/smalldancestevepaxton/).
- We open our eyes when we’re ready.
Bodies and words
- We write our names with our left shoulders in the space around us.
- We write the name of someone we love with our left elbow in the space.
- We write a word we love with paintbrush left fingers into the space.
- We think of people who we want to send care to who live in a different part of the world to us. We write their names with our left big toe inside our shoe or on the floor.
- We allow another body scan and see the difference this physical left-side-initiated movement practice has made to our sense of our structure.
- We repeat this task on the right side and allow another body scan to feel our restored sense of symmetry.
Dancing as artistic research
- We write a quick haiku or short poem in response to the “Bodies and Words” exercise - anything will do.
- We translate our poem into movement - careless, imperfect, loose, undancerly.
- We share our movement, half watching, half doing.
- We revise our poem to reflect on what this exercise teaches us about artist✼academic identity and embodied knowledge.