survey

Submitted by Rebecca Evans, 33, Female.

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part I- I am

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What do you do for paid and/or unpaid work?: I am a contemporary dancer, choreographer and teacher

What do you do in your spare time, do you have any hobbies?: yoga, swimming, rambling

What do you like to do for fun?: watch funny you tube videos, watch Ted talks, read, walk, explore

(note from Rachel...Rebecca got me hooked on The Moth Podcast. Stories to warm the soul!)

What is your cultural background and do you think it has influenced the way you move? If yes, how?: I like Isadora Duncan's quote: "The real American type can never be a ballet dancer. The legs are too long, the body to supple and the spirit too free for this school of affected grace and toe walking."
I think the ballet training in the states is less set around rules and shapes and more about movement and performance. This has created a different aesthetic in my movement from my British peers.
Spending time in South Korea contemporary dancing was the most dynamic example. Not only with very different training that created a difference in dynamics, movement pathways and even where the movement originated from in the body but how our physical differences and body shapes manifested themselves in the movement. My size and shape changed the movement.

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part 2 - my movements

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What does the word 'movement' mean to you and do you consider yourself a 'mover'?: movement means peacefulness to me. Yes! I'm a mover

Are there things that you just picked up from your carers through observation?: Totally, my fathers body language when he is impatient and my mothers body language when she ponders and thinks about things and her hand gestures. They are there and come with out any awareness of having learned them.

What is your earliest memory of moving?: In Ballet class when I was 3 or 4 and they had black and white linoleum square in the studio, I remember standing, sitting and moving on a black square. But beyond that it was the mess, the excitement and the smell of the studio and walking out to the car park with my mom and feeling exhilarated.

Many people say they want to feel 'confident' and 'comfortable' or that they admire people who look 'confident' and 'comfortable in their own skin'. What do these words really mean to you and can you describe them as a way of moving?: Stillness, no urge or need to move or be moved into a shape that is not your own.

Do you have a movement philosophy? If yes, what is it?: Celebrating the individual, unleashing the unique pleasure each of us get out of moving in our own ways

Do you have a favorite movement mantra or quote?: Another Isadora quote "If I could say it, I would not have to dance it!"

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part 3 - my body

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What does 'self-care' mean to you?: Listening to what your body needs and letting go of ego.

Which phrases do you use often to describe your body? Where do you feel or locate these words on your body?: Usually very functional things such as tight hip flexers or scoliosis that relate directly to that body part. I don't talk too much about how the energy is flowing through these but know this is where it gets stuck and then it is breath and softness of heart that helps me move through.

Do you think you have something 'characteristic' about the way you move? If yes please describe. : light, quirky, fluid, awkward, graceful, long...

What are some of the things you like about the way you move?: I like the amount of information I have now as a more mature dancer, I like the efficiency that is gained by learning only the very essential movement that is needed when moving. There is less effort and more enjoyment. I know what is mine and what is other.

What do you find yourself sitting on most often and how do you like to sit?: chairs, booooooo. I prefer the floor, on my knees or sitting on my bottom with my legs in any configuration

How often do you sit on the floor? Can you describe how your body feels when you sit on the floor?: When ever I am in the studio and often at home, my body is happier, more relaxed, grounded, supported, freer

What kind of surfaces does the skin on your feet and hands come into contact with thorough-out an average day? : lots of floors and lots of other humans. I like the tactile nature that dancers have with each other, we are comfortable with touch, we can guide and support and know when we are being supported by touch.
Other textures,
computer, metal water bottle, coconut oil and brown sugar in the shower, the dishes, warm cups of coffee, tube card, sparkly furry cell phone case, zippers, food, knives, my boyfriends shaved head, his chest, feather pillow, I often dress by texture as well depending on how i'm feeling.

Which side of the mouth do you chew with more?: right

Are you right handed, left handed or ambidextrous? How does this affect your movement choices in daily life?: right, totally, left side always feels awkward!

Have you ever been injured? How? Does it still affect the way you move?: yes, broken ankles, tendinitis, torn hip joints, stitches in my arm, toes, neck and shoulder injuries. At first it does but I think the larger and longer movement patterns take over but it does change the risk I am willing to take with those body parts.

I think scoliosis has the most dramatic effect on my movement with limitation in some places but much more space in others.

 

How much sleep would you generally say you need and do you get it? if not why?: 8-9 hours. Most of the time, if not, it is usually on the weekends when there can be late nights but I like to get up and not miss the morning.

Do you take naps? If yes whats an ideal nap length and place?: yes, 20min-1 hour. couch, tube, at the yoga studio, in a theater before the show, in the car, on the train...

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part 4 - me and others

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With whom do you talk to most about movement?: other dancers and yogi's

What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had with someone about movement? : The most interesting 'conversation' was in Korea, but it was not with words, it was in the studio I could not understand the language and I had to discover and cultivate an approach mentally to the environment around me, that physical conversation with others shifted a mental one I had with myself.

What is the most transformative conversation you have had with someone about your body?: Sometimes it is the one I have with myself to keep loving my own body. Also the functional knowledge I gain from osteopaths, acupuncture and massage therapists about what is happening posture wise as well as energy wise.

With whom do you move most?: London, my boyfriend, other dancers...

What are some of the things you admire about the way other people move?: space space space and information being used freely in the body

Does the way people move ever catch your eye when out in public spaces? Describe the last stranger to catch your eye and what you noticed.: Yes, all the time. I think yesterday there was a rather large woman at the Tate, completely unaware of her surroundings and was quite locked in her body, she was wondering around the space taking pictures of the artwork in the same space as a performer that everyone else was watching, when she discovered him she turned, snapped a quick photo on her phone of the dancer, looked around at all of us then shuffled off in to the space. I found it comical, but the way she related to the space was through her phone, not with any obvious physical or emotional awareness.

What do you consider really beautiful about your movement habits? And is there someone in your life you really admire for the beauty of their way of moving? Who and why?: I appreciate that my movements are always evolving and alive. I like watching anyone who moves with out a sense of them selves, usually untrained bodies at a rock concert, they give themselves over without any knowledge or awareness stopping them

What do you consider really unattractive about your movement habits? And is there someone in your life you share this way of moving with? Would you change it? : Where movement gets stuck in my spine, a lack of freedom and openness in some of my joints. No, it is my body, and it may create blocks but then movement, like water, always finds a way through and around creating a unique path

When you need to concentrate on something do you find yourself 'moving'? If yes why do you think that is?: No because I am focusing too much on just using my head but if I walk around or do routine movement this helps me free up thought, Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker talks about movement moving meaning, I like that.

If you have children do you think about how you are influencing the way they learn about movement?: no, more the way I will become aware of my own and what is natural and innate

Do you prefer to exercise in a group or alone? Please explain why.: both, the community of a dance company or class is a full and important experience for sharing but I appreciate the solitude in a pool to let my mind wander and or focus on the functional movement patterns

Would you say 'you know what you like' when it comes to exercise choices? Would you say you also 'know what you like' in other areas of your life?: More and more I know but as a dancer it is your job to stay open and available for all movement to happen, and yes, this is very much my approach to life

Have you ever taken part in a holiday, event or challenge that had some sort of movement as it's focus? If yes please describe your experience: Yes, a yoga retreat in Goa. It was wonderful to combine body work and relaxation and allow for the body to open further being out of the city and usual routine.

What are some movement principles or rules that you follow? Where did you get these from?: Don't do things that hurt your body, don't work for anyone who will ask you to hurt your body.

Is there an exercise trend you refuse to participate in? If so what and why?: running, it hurts and it seems to damage the body more than it helps it.

What is your favorite song or type of music to dance to?: anything that really reaches in and MAKES me shake my booty

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part 5 - me and the world

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Do you consider how your mechanical environment impacts your movement choices on a day-to-day basis? What would you most like to change about your mechanical environment?: yes, the sedentary nature and time spent sitting in a chair on the computer. no more chairs!

What do you sleep on and how many pillows (if any) do you like to have?: a bed, usually 1 to 2 pillows

How do you take the stairs? For example do you have a rhythm, is it always the same or do you do different things? Please explain.: two at a time. I like the big range of movement

What surface do you walk on most?: concrete

Describe the last horizon you saw.: In the fields on the way to Whitstable, it was in the evening by the bay as the sun was setting.

What material do you like most against your skin? Are there materials you won't wear?: satin or silk with warm knits. I won't wear thick polyester

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Please describe the shoes and why they are your favorite.: yes, my sneakers because it feels like I am walking on clouds

How much of your day do you spend barefoot and what was the last surface you felt with your bare feet?: a lot, most of it

Do you think men and women move differently? If yes, please describe what those differences are: yes, most of the time, different centers of gravity, varying differences of upper and lower body strength allow for different ranges of movement

Do you think men and women occupy space differently? If yes please give an example: yes but I think this can change with how they are treated and what is being encouraged in a conversation. If you ask a women about her hair but ask a man about the action scene he just shot in a movie, you can imagine the accompanying movements to explain these things are very different. Also the action of men being confident is encouraged but, although growing, not as much for women, which means women take up less space because, possible we feel we are owed less.

What sort of cultural expectations do you think influence the way women move? : way too many, to me smaller, yielding, to need saving, take up less space, delicate, light, fluid, gentle. Many of these can be shed in contemporary dance, the movement is often genderless...although they can come raging back depending on the choreographers eye and whether they let their own sexuality dictate the work.

What sort of cultural expectations do you think influence the way men move? : again too many, big, masculine, to be the carer, the prince in shining armor, the protector, strong, unyielding, arrogance and showmanship

What sort of 'daily rituals' do you preform?: brushing teeth, washing face, walking to the tube, eating breakfast, having coffee.

What are some of the things you feel you need to do each day to make you feel good about your body?: to move!

Do you see any connection between movement practices and religion? If so what and why?: yes, religion can limit peoples freedom to dance, especially women's. But it can also be the base of meditation for other religious practice as well as a way to punish oneself or martyr

Do you remember a time in your life when you moved differently to the way you move now?: Always, everyday is a new way of moving and offers new chances to shift the way the body moves and how we relate to ourselves

Do you feel more or less comfortable in your body as you age?: MORE!

Is there a moment in your life where something 'clicked' about the way to approach a movement skill in any given discipline? What was it? Why did it happen then do you think?: Yes, in South Korea. Ownership of the way I move and moving differently, moving beyond the shape and into the action. I think it happened because I was forced to face my differences and make a decision on whether I wanted to try and 'fit in'. More extreme circumstances as well as no use of language made the experience much more visual and emotional