Improvising for life

May 24, 2011

So I have temporarily found a way to get past this great big firewall of China to gain entry into WordPress! I can finally write in my blog again!

I have been doing some movement improvisation workshops with high school students, and a lot of these techniques draw upon the normal movements that we engage in everyday. I believe that improvisation is important even for non dancers and movement specialists. It is a unique skill that allows one to move without thinking, to truly bring out emotions and thoughts through bodily language. Simply taking five to ten minutes out of your day and giving yourself completely to your body, letting your mind relax and letting the motions flow, will have amazing changes in your body and overall health. Not only does improvising improve your physical health, it also stimulates the growth of body awareness in the brain, vital for mental health.

Below is an exercise I did with the dancers, but it can be done by anyone.

Stand upright in a relaxed position, let your mind be at peace and take a couple deep inhales and exhales. Slowly melt yourself to the ground, take your time, make sure you are completely sprawled out on the ground at the end of the melt.

On the ground, let your eyes close softly, let your eyeballs relax in the back of your sockets. Now, while on the ground, choose one of the following scenarios to do:

1. You have suddenly gained superpowers. What kind of superpower? What kinds of movements are related to your superpower?

2. You are in the ocean swimming with fearsome sharks and beautiful schools of fish. How will your body move in response?

3. You are slowly entering a blissful lucid dream, everything about this dream is perfect. Notice how your body reacts to this and explore all the possible movements and poses.

Remember to take your time, and music is optional – in fact, I usually recommend against using music because it has such a powerful influence on the way we perceive movement.

Body movements are the purest forms of expression. When we talk to someone, actual words provide very little impact for the way others will interpret your communications. Body language and tone of voice provide the bulk of understanding. This is why I smile when people say they can’t dance or move. That’s impossible, because dance is a birthright possessed by every single human being. So please, enjoy this little improvising session. Take your time, be aware of your movements, and become fascinated and inspired by them. It is a journey.

By the way, I also recommend against using mirrors. Mirrors are great…..for intense technical classes. For improvising and free movement? More of a distraction.

If you tried this and enjoyed it, I will make a page specially for these kinds of improvising exercises that anyone can do.


Random thoughts

May 9, 2011

love the falling leaves

love the warm breezy wind

and your hair gliding through air

love the children playing

love the dogs barking

and your friends laughing

love this attitude

love this presence

and cherish this moment

love the life you live

love the people you know

and most importantly



Stay strong troopers

May 8, 2011

A nice little story for us all.

A couple days ago, I was in a mess. I had a couple papers that were not finished and hitting close to the deadline. I also had to clean up my dorm room, which looked like the result of several rabid gorillas having a bachelor’s party and then magically disappearing. On top of that, there were multiple internships and applications that had just turned me down. I remember just lying on my bed and trying to take in all the chaos. It seemed like time, which is suppose to prevent everything from happening at once, was slowly loosening up its knot on me. Then, as if the situation was not bad enough, the fire alarm went off. Everyone was evacuated to safety. After a couple minutes of confusion, we were allowed back to our dorms.

So what happened? Apparently, some precious soul left their book in an oven in their dorm.
A book and an oven? I’m not even going to go there.

See, we have all had those really bad days. Nothing seems to work. It feels as if the entire universe is pushing against our every step. You might have woken up late for school, walked into a door during work, or realized that your parents have been celebrating your birthday on the wrong day for the last 20 years. Things happen, and life does occasionally throw those nasty lemons at you. So what can you do? You can certainly sit there and obediently receive those lemons as they smash into your face. Or you can take those lemons, lift up your head, and create some amazing lemonades. See the obstacles that you face as powerful augmentations that will make you a better person. Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.

Realize that millions of people are living lives much more catastrophic than say, accidentally spilling wine on your newly purchased dress. At least you have the privilege of owning a dress. Chances are if you own a computer and have the convenience of reading a blog, you are probably in the world’s top 1 or 2 percentage of wealth.

So the next time you experience the bad, remember that every day is a new day, and simply tell yourself:

“At least I didn’t leave a book in an oven”.