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Friday, 31 October 2014


Image by Eugène Druet
 “Loïe Fuller dansant.”

Friday!


Happy Halloween!
(found here)

Dear Cedric,

June 19, 1937

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.

I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.

Ansel




A beautiful letter from Ansel Adams to his friend Cedric, found here.

Woman with the tools of her trade.  1870’s, Japan.
National Museum of Denmark
(via kleidersachen)

The Small Dance, The Stand


These notes were taken in February 1977, during ReUnion’s teaching/performing tour of Contact Improvisation on the West Coast. Throughout the tour, the members of the 1977 ReUnion (Nita Little, Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton, Curt Siddall, Nancy Stark Smith, and David Woodberry) transcribed each others’ classes, as close to verbatim as possible. What follows are sections from several of Steve’s classes. [Contact Quarterly Editors]
The text is to be delivered slowly, with pauses between each sentence. [Steve Paxton]

The Small Dance, The Stand

Relax deep into the cone of the eye socket. Imagine a line that runs between the ears. That’s where the skull rests. Make the motion, very small, for “Yes.” This rocks the skull on the top vertebrae, the atlas. You have to intuit the bones. Like a donut. The sensation around it defines it. Do the motion for “No.” Between these two motions you can determine the length of the vertebrae.

… Ballooning of the lungs. Breathe from the bottom of the lung up to the clavicle. Can you expand the ribs out and up and back easily? Defining the diaphragm in terms of sensation. Bottom of the lung. Two domes of muscle. So with each breath you’re massaging the intestine… What the diaphragm is doing is a signal to the rest of the body. Sky above, earth below…

The head in this work is a limb. It has mass. Mass may be the single most important sensation. The feeling of gravity. Continuing to perceive mass and gravity as you stand. Tension in the muscle masks the sensation of gravity…

You’ve been swimming in gravity since the day you were born. Every cell knows where down is. Easily forgotten. Your mass and the earth’s mass calling to each other…

…Upward force of the bones. Shoulder blades fall down the back, relaxing the intestines into the bowl of the pelvis… In the direction the arms are hanging, without changing that direction, do the smallest stretch you can feel. Can it be smaller. Can you do less. The initiation of the stretch, along the length of bones, in the direction the force is already going. The small dance—you’re relaxing and it’s holding you up. The muscles keeping the weight throughout the skeleton. Shifting weight from leg to leg, interface, taking weight, compression. Stretching along the line of compression. Center of the small dance.

Upright position… spine erect… Feel the bottom of the lung, the diaphragm, feel it massage the organs, down into the bowl of the pelvis, relax your genitals and anus… breathe deeply… exhale slowly… feel the pause at the exhalation… watch for the beginning of the inhalation… This thing, time… full of rush and pause… feel time go by through the breath… don’t initiate the breath… just watch that period… try to catch your mind, the exact moment when the inhalation starts again…

Standing… Relax erect with the weight toward the back half of the knee, put some weight on the balls of the feet… relax the scalp… relax the eyelids… relax behind the eyes… deep into the cone of the eye socket… don’t spend any energy blocking or focusing… let your ideas flow… because certain things mask other things… and it’s better for this right now to have no concentration… feel the play of rush and pause of the small dance that holds you upright when you relax… through simple mass and balance… 60% on the ball of the foot, some to toes, rest back… knees a little relaxed… Let your breath guide your torso, make you symmetrical… let your ribs be open to the ballooning of the lungs… arms fall sideways… Feel the small dance… it’s always there… think of the alignment of the bones, limbs, towards the center of the earth… length of the bone…

…Take your weight over your left leg… what is the difference… in the thigh, in the hip joint… Calling this sensation “compression,” take compression over the right leg, feel the change… compression down the length of the bone… Take your body to neutral… lean forwardcompression in front, stretch in back… back to neutral… lean backwards, stretch in front, compression in back… don’t have compression in the arms, there’s no weight there… lean forward again… feel the difference… relax… neutral… lean back, stretch along the length of your body… neutral… stretch up… let the spine rise through the shoulders… let the head be supported on a line between the ears… make the motion for “Yes,”… rock the head… the atlas… make a stretch connection, a long line of stretch between the ball of the foot and the atlas, between the toes, the ball of the foot up the leg to the spine, to the atlas… You’ve been falling in gravity since the day you were born…

Imagine, but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to take a step forward with your left foot. What is the difference? Back to standing…

Imagine but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to do a step with your left foot. What is the difference? Back to standing…

Imagine but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to take a step with your right foot… your left foot… your right… your left, right, left…… standing.

…Slowly let your body collapse into a squat… release into a voluntary fall. Breathe, squatting with hands on the floor, neck relaxed… see if you can relax in this position… and come up. [end]

Thursday, 30 October 2014



Russian ballet students of Golesovsky from expostion “international photographers" 1924.

Stretching and muscle activity

Jules Mitchell's Yoga blog is a great resource. Go check it out!
As a biomechanist drawing directly from her experience of movement (specifically in the yoga sphere) she is questioning the common aphorisms of asana instruction and applying modern understandings of the human body in movement to this practice. Its fascinating and very useful.

Here's a little piece...click here to read the rest.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) describes a stretching style that recruits muscle activation of the target muscle somewhere during the stretching process, usually right before. There are at least 9 different methods with slightly varying techniques and durations of contractions (concentric, isometric, and eccentric), holding times and subsequent relaxation/stretching procedures. A detailed review of the methods is too much for this post, so just understand the PNF involves muscle contraction followed by muscle relaxation – often referred to as “contract relax”. 

The most common method of PNF stretching that I have encountered in the world of yoga comes in the form of an “adjustment” by the teacher. For example, during a supine single leg hamstring stretch (Supta Padangusthasana or Recline Big Toe Pose) the teacher provides resistance by firmly holding the leg while the student strongly contracts her hamstring for 6 seconds, pushing leg against the direction of the stretch. The teacher then instructs the student to relax and the teacher passively stretches the student into a new and greater range of motion. Everyone is impressed by how effective the method is – the teacher is brilliant and the student is pleased by her sudden flexibility.

Unfortunately, the momentous increase in range of motion is transient. It is temporary. Within hours ROM will be what it was. The acute improvement of ROM during PNF stretching is really just an illusion. No biomechanical adaptations to the tiss ues occured instantaneously. Short tissues did not suddenly become long. So what happened?

Padmini in Raj Tilak (1958)
the hand movements!

(found here)

to establish ties

"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at." 
"I am a fox," the fox said. 
"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince. "I am so unhappy." 
"I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed." 
"Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince. 
But, after some thought, he added: 
"What does that mean—'tame'?" 
"You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?" 
"I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean—'tame'?" 
"Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?" 
"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean—'tame'?" 
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties." 

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

Giorgio Griffa








Giorgio Griffa
"She turned up the collar of the red anorak she had taken from the generous supply that hung on pegs outside her grandparents’ kitchen door. It was her favorite because it fitted her well and was warm and comfortable, and she liked it because the pockets were full of all kinds of things: a small but very bright flashlight; a pair of scissors; a notepad in a leather binder, with a purple felt pen; an assortment of paper clips, safety pins, rubber bands; a pair of dark glasses; a dog biscuit (for what dog?)."

--  from An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle

I love pockets (because I love collecting things). Women's clothes don't often have deep enough ones...if they have them at all.

Rangoli



"They trace wonderful patterns in white powder upon the red soil, which has previously been well swept and beaten. Their designs are but fleeting, and are carried away by the lightest wind or by the feet of men, goats, dogs, and crows. They do their work very quickly, guiding themselves in the tracing of these designs by marks which have been placed there beforehand, and are visible to them alone. Bending forward in a graceful attitude, they move the little box which contains a powder that escapes in a white trail like an endless ribbon over the surface of the ground. Complicated arabesques and geometrical figures grow marvellously under their hands. Often, too, they place a hibiscus flower, an Indian pink, and a yellow marigold at the chief junction of their network of lines after the design is completed. The little street, decorated from one end to the other in this manner, seems to be momentarily covered by a fairy carpet."
The daily (and temporary) art of making a rangoli/alpana/kolam is no longer as commonplace as it once was in many parts of India.  These pictures are from the 1950s and offer examples of printed contrast and puff sleeve blouses of the time (Loti’s book also makes a mention of the ways in which Indian women combine patterns and colour).
A few links on the math behind the design and cross cultural similarities.

(Found via Horses Atelier)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Watch her guitar playing, sublime! Those hands are beautiful movers....

LOVE





Love posters by Yves Saint Laurent.
I saw them at his garden in Marrakesh this weekend, beautiful.

'Love is a physical act and kindness is tangible.'

"I was having a Skype chat with my mother on Sunday. She was smiling from ear to ear, pleased that I was clean-shaven for the role I am currently playing. “I can see your lovely face,” she kept saying. She was also trying to share a bowl of peanuts with me by bumping it into the laptop’s monitor every few minutes. She has stage-two Alzheimer’s, you see. In that futile gesture, however, laid a thought. Love is a physical act. Kindness is tangible.

It seems to me that this is a concept that largely eludes many of us nowadays. We talk about the prudence of military action, of participating in the bombing of this faraway place or that. We use terms such as “surgical strike” and “collateral damage”. Anyone who is unsure about the wisdom of war is met with the response “fine then, let’s do nothing and let innocent people die”. But inaction is not the opposite of bombing, and indifference not the only alternative to war. Pointing to actively working to bring about peace as the alternative, in such a conversation, one is frequently met with a look or a comment that implies you live in some dreamworld where concepts like this exist.

Yet it is not so. To the thousands of people who volunteer at home and abroad, to the people marching to preserve a free and universal national health service, to the millions who care for their elderly relatives, to parents staying up with a child who has a fever, to my confused mother trying to feed her son through a Wi-Fi connection, love is a physical act and kindness tangible...."

Read the rest of this article by Alex Andreou at The Guardian 

'Love is a physical act and kindness is tangible.'

"I was having a Skype chat with my mother on Sunday. She was smiling from ear to ear, pleased that I was clean-shaven for the role I am currently playing. “I can see your lovely face,” she kept saying. She was also trying to share a bowl of peanuts with me by bumping it into the laptop’s monitor every few minutes. She has stage-two Alzheimer’s, you see. In that futile gesture, however, laid a thought. Love is a physical act. Kindness is tangible.

It seems to me that this is a concept that largely eludes many of us nowadays. We talk about the prudence of military action, of participating in the bombing of this faraway place or that. We use terms such as “surgical strike” and “collateral damage”. Anyone who is unsure about the wisdom of war is met with the response “fine then, let’s do nothing and let innocent people die”. But inaction is not the opposite of bombing, and indifference not the only alternative to war. Pointing to actively working to bring about peace as the alternative, in such a conversation, one is frequently met with a look or a comment that implies you live in some dreamworld where concepts like this exist.

Yet it is not so. To the thousands of people who volunteer at home and abroad, to the people marching to preserve a free and universal national health service, to the millions who care for their elderly relatives, to parents staying up with a child who has a fever, to my confused mother trying to feed her son through a Wi-Fi connection, love is a physical act and kindness tangible...."

Read the rest of this article by Alex Andreou at The Guardian 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

RUI CALÇADA BASTOS





Rui Calcado Bastos
"There are always things that I wish were different, or I feel like I’ve made mistakes. But it’s just part of it. I don’t mind that it’s a little homemade."

- Sofia Coppola

Aikido




Basic forward roll

"...in a non-wimpy way"

Exploring the work of Steve Paxton today.
Much useful, inspiring and fascinating stuff in this video...


...in a non-wimpy way / steve paxton from lenk3rad on Vimeo.

And this for a beautiful example of the spines capacity for movement.
"I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself." 

- Rita Mae Brown
(found via ketchumyoga)

play


Found here.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sunday Poem

WILD GEESE

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-- Mary Oliver

Saturday Cartoon

Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday!


(Found here)

Friday!


Enjoy your weekend...get out into the world. Get lost. Let your words get weird, let your voice get loud and don't worry about what others think of you, it's none of your business.

 (gif found here)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Shirin Neshat, Logic of the Birds. 2001

Imperfection Pot


The Imperfection Pot was designed by Adam Buick. for The School of life.
"Inspired by the Japanese tradition of wabi sabi, which finds beauty in humble, imperfect and easily overlooked places, this Imperfection Pot was made with a free hand which has resulted in the appearance of subtle flaws. Rather than ruin it, these imperfections are the key to its charm. They encapsulate – and promote more widely in life – an attitude of generosity and acceptance."

on my mind today....







" Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. "

1. Head, Heart by Maria Kalman
2. Floating. Shirin Neshat with Sussan Deyhim, Logic of the Birds. 2001
3+4. Dewey Nielsen. His videos (and instagram) are full of gems. He's very generous with what he puts out there. Take a look.
5. Friedrich Nietzsche quote.
6. found here.

"I contain multitudes. I contain multitudes."


(quote from Women in Clothes)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Recommended Read

“There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.”

I've been dipping in and out of this and I highly recommend having a copy on your book shelf. Brain pickings have a brilliant review, much more eloquent then I can manage, and here is my favorite bit from the essay “Dogs, Cats, and Dancers: Thoughts about Beauty”.

"Dogs don’t know what they look like. Dogs don’t even know what size they are. No doubt it’s our fault, for breeding them into such weird shapes and sizes. My brother’s dachshund, standing tall at eight inches, would attack a Great Dane in the full conviction that she could tear it apart. When a little dog is assaulting its ankles the big dog often stands there looking confused — “Should I eat it? Will it eat me? I am bigger than it, aren’t I?” But then the Great Dane will come and try to sit in your lap and mash you flat, under the impression that it is a Peke-a-poo.

Cats know exactly where they begin and end. When they walk slowly out the door that you are holding open for them, and pause, leaving their tail just an inch or two inside the door, they know it. They know you have to keep holding the door open. That is why their tail is there. It is a cat’s way of maintaining a relationship.

Housecats know that they are small, and that it matters. When a cat meets a threatening dog and can’t make either a horizontal or a vertical escape, it’ll suddenly triple its size, inflating itself into a sort of weird fur blowfish, and it may work, because the dog gets confused again — “I thought that was a cat. Aren’t I bigger than cats? Will it eat me?

A lot of us humans are like dogs: we really don’t know what size we are, how we’re shaped, what we look like. The most extreme example of this ignorance must be the people who design the seats on airplanes. At the other extreme, the people who have the most accurate, vivid sense of their own appearance may be dancers. What dancers look like is, after all, what they do."

(found here)

“Go out and walk. That is the glory of life.”





From My Favorite Things by Maria Kalman via Brain Pickings.

Everything is Connected

From Sustainable Human, check it out, brilliant stuff.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Gisele Freund






Virginia Woolf (and her writing desk) and Frida Kahlo by Gisele Freund.

Scott Houston

"A spare couple of hours in a park in Glasgow present me with many obstacles to play with. But the only thing I really want to play on after looking around is a solid concrete table tennis table. I had the song playing on my phone the entire time on loop so that I could play with the tempo and musicality of my movements.

Your breath is key to quality movement. Relax when you move and don't hold unnecessary tension."

--Scott Houston

Oh



Ed Ruscha and Rachel Malin

(both found here rachelmalin)

Be Careful

"BE CAREFUL, VERY CAREFUL about organisations. Yoga cannot be organised, must not be organised. Organisations kill work. Love is everywhere, in everything, is everything. But if you confine it, enclose it in a box or in a definite place, it disappears.’

--Vanda Scaravelli

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Saturday Poem

I will arise and go now, for always night and dayI hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core


--WB Yeats
The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Saturday Cartoon