preparation to second position.
I’m fascinated by the way memory is retrieved through movement - a kind of Muscle Memory that seems to be stored in the body and only recalled through particular gestures that relate to the original - apparently forgotten - sequence. Sitting at my desk and thinking, I can’t remember the sequences from Martha Graham’s ballets that I learnt in class as a teenager, but as soon as I start to move my body seems to flow through movement after movement. I know when I’ve recalled it as it was originally set because it just feels right, and anything not true to the original just feels awkward and out of place. The movements are somehow engraved in the nervous system. I’m sure a scientist would give a neat explanation for this, but for me it’s one of the wonderful things about movement. I call it the archaeology of the body.
I believe it’s partly this movement memory that comes into play in a dance improvisation - then in fragments, informed not only by dance gestures recalled, but also vernacular movement and the memory of touch going right back to babyhood. It all comes back in a dream-like flow informing our movement script, similar to the flow writing, or free-writing, I’ve done in many writing classes. Out of the flow emerges something that has potential –something I can work with and develop something that may become a fragment of dance.