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Jody Sperling - Time Lapse DanceJody Sperling is a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. This is Jody's blog.
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Work you can hardly see

Jody at work

choreographer at "work"

My roommate, who happens to be a triathlon competitor, asked me why whenever he sees me working out, it looks like I’m taking a nap. I have to admit that we dancers do spend a lot of time lying on the floor. Without getting defensive, I had to explain that it takes me about 45 minutes to “balance” my pelvis before I can move properly. I know it sounds half-obscene half-indulgent when I say it, but what I mean is this. The asymmetries of life pull on my bones. (Case in point, here I am sitting hunched over, legs-crossed at my computer. A moment to re-adjust.)

How do we undo life’s torques? Carefully, patiently. With micro-movements and intense awareness. I wish it weren’t so. But I do my time, nudging my sacrum a smidge this way, then that, making hints at lateral motion, then flex-ion or extension, knowing that this subtle, imperceptible work makes all the difference in being able to move fully without popping or tugging at ligaments or scraping down cartilage. I don’t want no artificial hip, ever!

The agonizingly frustrating thing about being a dancer is that you could spend all day every day working on physical skills and never arrive anywhere close to your aspirations. Or maybe this is the beauty part, that you can spend your life in pursuit of physical balance and never run out of a challenge.

As a choreographer, I sometimes wonder if my time is well-spent in this direction. Why not delegate the chore of maintaining the physical instrument to others? The “problem” is that my love of choreography comes out of a love of dancing. I can’t separate the two, yet. For me, inspiration is still physically motivated. Only after I’ve done the work–work that might look like napping–am I ready to dance and make dances.

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2 Responses to “Work you can hardly see”

  • Can a Jody comment on a Jody? If so, I will add to the conversation. Learning what you need to be ready to dance differs with each warm up. I admire dancers who can spend an hour rolling down their spine, but just can’t seem to find the time for that subtle investigation. I like to take in new information, and improvise what to do with it. Though I’ve been doing gyrotonics and pilates and ballet and yoga and biking and swimming and my own variations of release technique into inversions, yesterday I popped into a class that taught me some new approaches to spiral-y spine moves that can be done anywhere without equipment:

    Open GYROKINESIS CLASS
    taught by Aviva Geismar
    Fridays 1;30 to 2:30
    BodiBalance
    20 East 17th St, 2nd Fl
    (between Broadway and 5th Ave.)
    $20
    $15 for students, seniors, low income, performing artists
    Class cards available.

  • Hi Jody : ) Thanks for the class recommendation. I’ve been looking for some new info and it’s at the perfect time. Let’s make a date! -Jody

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