Balance is a moment in time rather than a goal

Open Floor movement practice - balance
A continuum is something that keeps on going, changing slowly over time. It is a whole made up of many parts, with a range that is always present. One of the core principles we practice in Open Floor, is learning to move freely back and forth along the following 4 Continuums: Fixed and Fluid, Include and Exclude, Habit and Choice, Absence and Presence. Life, and our dance practice, are a process that is constantly moving in flux from one end of the continuum to the other. As human beings it seems we are always existing somewhere on these continuums.

“The secret to expanding your comfort zone lies in embracing the complementary energies inside you." 

Deepak Chopra

In Open Floor movement practice, we explore these continuums to increase range, flexibility and choice – whether physically in our bodies, with an emotion or thought, or in conversation with something greater.

The 4 Continuums in Open Floor Movement Practice

Exploring Fixed and Fluid

This Continuum is about witnessing and exploring what is moving and what is stuck in our being (a thought, an unrelenting insecurity, a gesture, a part of our body, or a belief). Where there are limitations, we practice movement and creativity. Where there is too much fluidity or flexibility we foster boundaries, edges, definition and stability. This is the balancing act between rigidity and mobility, stability and freedom.

 

Practicing Include and Exclude

To be fully human, fully alive, fully functioning we cannot exclude parts of our wholeness. We aim to include all aspects of our human experience in our Open Floor Movement Practice. We include what is here now, move with it, and continue to embrace whatever else arises. Letting things change or release. Rejecting nothing we experience. When we move and included any and all parts (even rejected ones), this brings a stirring, authentic texture to our movement.

To intimately know the practice of inclusion, we must be intimately familiar with the sensations and experiences of exclusion. So, we practice consciously excluding – boundaries, pushing away, protecting ourselves and others. To exclude with awareness (random thoughts, distracting sensations, outside noise or devices) is a crucial skill.

The art of mindful inclusion and exclusion, opens our choices about what we want and need to pay attention to.

 

Understanding Habit and Choice

Through this lens, we notice our habitual patterns – in dance and in life. And, our awareness and relationship to the choices that are before us to make. With curiosity we explore the sensations, movements and experiences of both our habitual ways of moving, acting, thinking and behaviour and the sensations, movements and experiences in active conscious choosing of our actions, thoughts, and behaviours.

We cannot find balance without being able to operate effectively from either habit or choice, with awareness and flexibly, switching between the two is an important and valued response strategy, critical for adaptive behaviours on the floor and out in the world.

 

Working with Presence and Absence

With this continuum we track the depth and breadth of how much or how little we are in a state of fully-embodied presence, and/or other extreme, the breadth and depth of our absence from our body (perhaps “present” somewhere else or dissociated from presence altogether).

To consciously absent oneself is a skill. To be habitually absent is, in many cases, a natural response to past trauma, life difficulties, or socialization that required us to shut down parts of our bodily experience to fit in and be accepted.

In between these two poles of presence and absence are numerous possibilities of embodied presence. Our goal in working this continuum is to make presence and absence a skillful choice we make, a dynamic dance we do, and not just a result of our unconscious patterns.

Summary

In Open Floor Movement Practice we practice moving along these continuums to widen our tolerance for variable experiences along different places on each. The goal is to learn through our embodiment work to stay present and aware as we move back and forth along each continuum. This helps us build resilience, mindfulness and ease, flexibility, freedom, and choice. Each continuum is a hugely rich exploration in and of itself, and the lens of each can be fruitfully applied in any area of Open Floor curriculum.

Share This Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Related
resources

Subscribe for more

Love what you’re reading? Subscribe for updates when new content is published to the Open Floor resource library.