In class I'm often saying that soon the body will just know what to do, without having to think about it so much. Because it's true.
Take the hands for instance. Las manos.
Hand movement is one of those elements of flamenco that seems to get just about everyone. (Even professionals who come to flamenco from other dance forms have told me this aspect drives them crazy.) Getting them to look good is one thing. Then how much harder steps become when we add hands… and fingers, Ay! Another thing.
Still, there comes a time when they just start moving on their own. Fluidly. Doing things we didn't know they could or would do... It can be surprising when this first happens.
But there is a catch.
I'll get to it in a minute.
First, here is something that I believe.
Our bodies are smart.
Really, really smart.
Even though I know this, I've noticed that I often pretend it's not true. I don't mean to, but all too often I choose not to believe it. I don't really know why. It could be conditioning. It could be impatience. Even though I believe it, sometimes I don't.
But always deep down I know it is true.
Because I've experienced it.
And it's when I respect my body's wisdom that I feel my best and dance my best and do everything my best.
It happened today for the first time to a student.
The wisdom of her body kicked in and had her doing things she didn't think she knew how to do.
It was exciting.
She finished the copla, looked at me, with a giant smile by the way, and declared,
"Oh that just happened! Do you know what just happened?"
What had happened was that her body did what it was supposed to do even though her mind didn't think it knew what to do.
She was so excited. (And so was I.)
"I started to worry about what was coming next, " she said. "I couldn't remember what it was. And then all of a sudden I was doing it. You kept telling me that would happen." (I'm not sure she really believed me until that moment.) "And this is the first time it's happened!"
There is a reason why it happened today.
She has put in a lot of time.
She has practiced and practiced that part. She has done it slowly. She has had it explained to her. She has done it with music. She has done it without. She has done it in isolation. She has done it with other steps. She has done it by herself. She has done it with me.
And she has enjoyed working on it...
It has taken thought.
It has taken effort.
It has taken dedication.
To get to the point where her body could just take over and do it.
The thing is, we do have to teach our bodies what to do.
We can't go to bed one night having no idea how to dance a bulerias then wake up the next day knowing how.
But we can wake up the next day and begin teaching our bodies how.
We can learn the steps and do them over and over and over again until they flow.
Then we can add the arms and again do them over and over and over again.
Then we can put the two together and… yep, do it over and over and over again.
And soon our bodies just know what to do.
Oh, and back to hands for a moment. Hands and beautiful movements. And practicing them. This is one of the things I love about class with Mercedes. She dedicates time to hands, and body technique in general. And if you watch her dance you can see why. Perhaps you'd like to join me in Jerez this fall for a personalized workshop with Her!!!
So, what do you think?
Have you experienced this? What was it like? Perhaps you disagree? Perhaps you've experienced the body's wisdom in a completely different way. Let's discuss this. Leave a comment below.