Friction, A Contact Improvisation

If you try this exercise, please tag so we can see your explorations! #findingyourfreestyle AND #FYFexercise

This week in my Finding Your Freestyle classes at Body & Pole, we centered around friction as a theme. What a beautiful, wide-scoping noun! For pole dancers, friction makes up much of the what and how we do. How we communicate physically with our surfaces, what creates the magic of floating, lifting, sticking, dragging, sliding.

FRICTION (NOUN): “The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another.”

There also is a humanistic component here to explore, if you think of one idea/emotion/person/communication coming into resistance with another, the mind simple explodes with ideas!

Last night, in a round of prompting guided by my theme of friction, I wanted to explore the “friction” between two persons when it comes to movement. You can see this exercise as metaphor for life, but how much resistance is generated or lost by the way one thing comes into contact with another? What drives our ability to “go with the flow” (internally and externally), what makes us stop our momentum, what can help us find the path of least resistance?

We used partners, (respectfully and safely) informed touch and direction guidance to find some really exciting movement. I swear, the collective movement quality of the room was next level. We will explore this again!

A few tips if you want to try this exercise:

  • •  You need at least two dancers, one who is moving, and one who is giving direction and focus.
  • •  Start by discussion your needs. If there is an area of the body that isn’t feeling great, let your partner know! Set your boundaries before you begin. Discuss what your needs are, honestly and openly. This also will create more trust between both of you! For example, does pushing, even lightly, trigger you negatively in some way? Do not judge where you are at, work realisitically with where you are at, and grow from there.
  • •  Keep the music gentle (repetitive and consistent, even potentially instrumental or ambient) to start; supporting larger, more broad-strokes movements until you get more comfortable with the partner exercise. The music you pick will dictate heavily the movement quality. Relaxed or dragging beats, will create the same sensation in the body.
  • •  Have the mover center their movement around a pole, or closer to the floor. As you get started you may want to rely on those places of anchoring so you don’t feel like you may fall. Those with stronger centers, or those feeling confident in their ability to direct momentum or fall safely, can do this without apparatus.
  • •  Mover gives non-verbal feedback that they are ready for another push, lift, draft, pull, or any direction intention by becoming still, or pausing their movement, signaling that they are ready for another action.
  • •  Those giving actions, think of larger body parts, sending energy through a place on the body that is more stable (upper/middle back, hands/arms, shoulder, hips, feet). If you are pushing or pulling, you don’t want to do so in a place that may feel potentially bad, dangerous, unstable for the mover to initiate movement from. As you build trust and understanding, you can take larger “risks” in your choices.
  • •  Think about the quality of your touch. What will foster trust, faith, and surrender in the mover? The quality of your touch, the way you apply pressure or momentum, and even the subtle energies (maintaining your focus, staying positive, loving or non-hesitant touches), all matter here. Practice will make your instincts better, feedback helps too!
  • •  Action partners…don’t be afraid to apply two forces gently, using two hands or assisting with another part of your body (shoulder, feet, knees). Get creative! Example: To get your mover to fold, it might work best to place one hand in front and one hand in back of their body, giving them maximum feedback that you intend them to fold.
  • •  Make sure you are switching their direction frequently, opening their possibilities of new directions, not simply predicting where they will most likely go next. That doesn’t keep the mover “thinking on their toes”.
  • •  Be curious, have fun, and try to make it work best for you and your partner, don’t just try it once! Grow the exercise in ways unique to your partnership, it may go in places you don’t expect! Let it!
  • •  I recommend recording your sessions, as video homework really allows you to see your choices, learn from what works and what doesn’t, allowing maximum growth out of the exercise. Allow the lessons to teach you more about you, and the way you move and interact than with just this one exercise.

Thank you to the lovely amazing Rebecca Starr for such an incredible demo.

Last night, in a round of prompting guided by my theme of FRICTION in FYF – I wanted to explore the “friction” between…

Posted by Tracee Kafer on Saturday, March 5, 2016