Deep Hip Dance

Moving vertically with ease: getting to the floor, jumping and landing, bending over and lifting up, or my current favourite; standing-to-mid-level. All hard work!

Deeply and softly folding and unfolding the hips feels like it offers a lot of possibilities to ride, surf and bounce through these levels. I learnt through my martial arts teacher Paul that when moving through a full range of hip flexion the first part of flexing is pedestrian, but the deeper half is a hidden technique, not immediately obvious but with profound effects. In my experience of dance training this creasing isn’t often explored in an active way (rather than say through stretching or hanging over. Compare for example a full plié to a deep squat.  The deep fold also doesn’t require your lower back to curve (though it can, depending on the movement), meaning weight can be more easily kept close to your centreline, hence the greater possibility to shift dynamically.

You can explore this folding through squats and lunges (maybe a video of those soon!), hanging over, drawing your legs upward or articulating your torso when sitting, but when I need to experience big, bold moving I know of no better improvisation than to play with deep folds in my hips, with such a central, essential movement something is bound to happen! Maybe good to start by reminding yourself just how deep you can go, be comfortable there, there might be risk in really closing softly, just as there is risk in opening up. Then freestyle! Once you start to taste a folding in your hips, follow it, explore how far it can go.  Perhaps it’s a direct drop like a stone, or perhaps a multiplanar crinkling. As you play you might find it’s hard to unfold directly upwards. No worries, you can move out sideways, forwards or backwards, gradually growing back upwards to standing, before taking the ride back down again!