Movement can be found in so many dynamics of our lives. Not just within the physical. To move is to change place, position or state; movements that have been fundamentally restricted throughout the last year. On the surface, we can’t move from our homes unless we are key workers, we can’t move intimately between others and we can’t make any unnecessary social or travel movements together, even if its someone’s wedding. But have these hinderances, although needed for safety, watered down some of our emotional movements? How is your drive, passion and spirit holding up?
Free your soul
We may have our safety bubbles and our invisible limits, yet within these superficial walls we can sometimes forget the tide that is still moving freely within us. The tide that dances to the rhythm of our desires, our need for connection and our voice of expression. Yes, our soul! You may feel like you are not sure where that is anymore, and believe me you are not alone if that is how you feel right now, but I promise you it’s still there waiting to move, flow and fly! It may just need a little encouragement to come out and explore again. And what better way than to start coaxing it out of its dormancy, just as we begin to ease out of lockdown, wake up to the dewy snowdrops and daffodils of Spring and hopefully move into a real fresh sense of freedom for all.
In love with movement
Charlie Plunkett, our ballet teacher, and Laurie Booth, our endless movement teacher at BNHC, share their lifelong relationships and inspiring careers with movement. Through their personal stories, both place an emphasis on how moving our bodies can be a transformative pathway to reconnecting with our true spirit and the world itself.
Laurie Booth (Endless movement teacher)
Driven by movement
“My name is Laurie Booth, and I guess I’d describe myself as a choreographic investigator. I have been actively involved with exploration of the body and its movement for close on five decades. At the age of fifteen I was living alone and dealing with the total dissolution of my family. Two years earlier my father was killed and my mother sort of abandoned me. Boarding school taught me self-reliance and emotional isolation. I realised that the only asset I possessed was my sense of personal movement and my only way to survive was to prioritise this innate drive. I began to practice martial arts and there after travelled to India where I encountered yoga and Vipassana (silent) meditation. After a year, I returned to the UK. I enrolled at Dartington College of Arts to study theatre. From there I became involved specifically with physical theatre and dance.”
Experimenting with movement
“I spent thousands of hours in my lifetime so far performing and choreographing. I worked with amazing dancers and artists, with Rambert Dance company and The Dutch National Ballet. I was especially fortunate to have long term collaborations with composers and sound artists. Touring and teaching internationally gave me insight into the communality of the human experience, the irreducible experience of our incarnation as social bipeds. I believe movement is our bio-cultural heritage and birth right. It is our inheritance and our body is the vehicle which takes us into the future.
These days I am less interested in performance and more intrigued by anatomy and anthropology of the body. The antiquity of body sensation and the methods of training intrigue me very much, specifically researching the history of movement training and bodywork, dance, martial arts, chi gong, and wooden clubs.”
Why we need movement
“Cut away the ego, the cosmetic, the anxiety and the cultural tourism. We need movement to give us the experience and the meaning of what we are. A DYNAMIC BODY. It is the creative source of all our striving. It is the prime location from where we confront the fundamental agonies and joys of our existence. (Which is where it began for me in my beginning.) I find myself angered and provoked by the rapid rise of the franchising and commercialisation which surrounds so much body work these days.
In moving we participate in the ENDLESS MOVEMENT of the universe. In moving we are all LIVING PROOF that we are the source of that universe. We create it as it has created us. That’s the reality that we each represent every moment of our lives. Without movement it’s just the dark, cold and empty desolation.”
Charlie Plunkett (Ballet teacher)
The ballet butterflies
“When I was 2 years old, I took my first ballet class, and from that moment on knew it was what I wanted to do. By the age of 12, I had left home to attend a vocational Ballet boarding school, and it was a dream come true to be dancing every day. Back then, I was training to be a professional dancer, which I was able to achieve and today I am a teacher. My passion is still the same today as it was back then, albeit it is now much more relaxed as I’m no longer attending auditions and performing professionally. I do however still perform with the Brighton Ballet Company dancers and we danced at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 2019.”
Escaping with ballet
“During the classes I teach at BNHC, both student and teacher become absorbed in all the many aspects of ballet; steps, alignment, performance and musicality, that everything else just melts away and it is almost impossible to be thinking about anything other than being present with ballet. It becomes a total escapism for us all.
The method of ballet that I teach is Cecchetti, named after its creator, Enrico Cecchetti. He had an ethos of asking his students to do an exercise once, but to do it the best they could. I encourage my students to live in the moment and to give everything they can to each step we do in class because I believe, like Cecchetti, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. To use another of my all-time favourite quotes, ‘life is not a dress rehearsal.’
I encourage my students to dance from their hearts and we often learn pieces of repertoire from famous ballets. By doing this, the classes become so joyful, knowing we are following in the steps of all the great dancers and having fun at the same time. I feel ballet is just such an encompassing form of movement and because of that, it can really help us to relieve stress and anxiety.”
Charlie’s creative classes
“Online classes have actually brought even more creativity out from me, as I worked my way through a multitude of different ballet costumes to dress up in for our classes.
When we have done particular ballets with a theme, the students danced with kitchen utensils like frying pans and spatulas instead of tambourines when we did Don Quixote sequences and plastic swords for Le Corsaire. I renamed January to Swanuary and got everyone to learn and choose which swan they levitated towards more – Odette the white swan, or Odile the black swan (Odile won by a feather!) I’ve actually felt even more connected to my students online as it feels like I’m in their homes with them. We all check in with each other at the beginning and end of each class, ballet it out, and then share a few giggles about whose cat is going to kick them out of Zoom first!
I just can’t imagine my life without movement, it’s as natural to me as breathing. When I hear music, I see choreography in my mind.”
What moves you? Maybe you have a favourite style of dance or movement practise that you would like to see added to the BNHC weekly timetable? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for classes, workshops and events. Email us with your thoughts at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal is a yoga teacher and writer. She is Yoga Alliance certified in Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa, Swing/aerial and myofascial release, meditation, pranayama and Kundalini. She is also a qualified NLP practitioner and journalist. She loves cats, eco-friendly focuses and tea in all forms. Full bio and get in touch with Crystal here.
Featured image: Ahmad Odeh
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