Magazine article Dance Spirit

Mental Maneuvers

Magazine article Dance Spirit

Mental Maneuvers

Article excerpt

DANCER'S| BODY

IDEOKINESIS LINKS YOUR MIND WITH YOUR MOVEMENT.

Dancers have always looked beyond studio training to explore other methods for refining technique and enhancing artistic expression. One popular method is ideokinesis (ideo = Idea of; kinesis = movement), which uses specific imagery to release chronic postural holding patterns and reorganize movement. Ideokinesis originated in the 1900s when Mabel Todd, who taught therapeutic physical re-education at Columbia University in Now York City, theorized that, by visualizing movement, you could Improve your muscle action and coordination. Lulu Sweigard, one of Todd's students and a teacher at The Juilliard School In NYC, further developed the method and coined the term "ideokinesis" in the early 1970s. Today, scientists have proven that mental practice of movement greatly enhances performance skill.

MIND WORKOUT

Your conscious mind can re-educate your mind/body system to select optimal movement patterns. When muscles are doing the least amount of work possible and movement is imagined, excess muscle tension decreases, kinesthetic awareness increases, inefficient habitual movement patterns are turned off and mechanically efficient patterns are activated. The resulting feeling of muscular ease and precise coordination makes a strong imprint on your nervous system. As you learn, new nervous system pathways are created. The result is that your mind will naturally seek to repeat this experience.

CONSTRUCTIVE REST POSITION

Todd developed the constructive rest position for practicing basic imagery. …

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