Do you or your dance, theatre or circus company need to brush up on running skills? Perhaps you’re working on a piece that requires a lot of running or a high level of fitness. I’ve worked as a professional dancer and performer for over 10 years, and much of my approach to running stems from my training and research in dance.
In response to your needs we can look at general running techniques and more specialist skills such as running in curves, running backwards or sideways, starting or stopping, running in unison, running in costume or in character.
Running is used in many different ways by dancers, actors and circassiens – it gets us around the performance space and is a feature of choreographies, keeps us fit cheaply and can be part of rehabilitating from injury. It can be a relief from long hours in a studio; it both gets us out into the world and is a solitary activity in what is often a very social scene.
So, it may be that running needs a little closer attention – we’ve all heard it or experienced it first hand; running is a high impact activity that requires highly engineered shoes, soft surfaces, (surely not bare feet and a hard floor!), it blisters and splits our feet, it tightens those loose muscles we need for our grand battement (if that’s your cup of tea), that it hurts and that the pain is either good for us, or is a sign of a lack of fitness.
I like to approach running from a dancer’s perspective, it is a movement that can be explored and adapted, that any pain should guide us towards a non-painful way to do such a fundamental movement. The way we have always done it is not necessarily the most appropriate. Change is possible!
Unlike a runner who runs for fitness and pleasure, dancers may have to adapt their running to the aesthetic of a particular piece or a limitation such as set, costume or unison movement. I look at building suitable running forms from an investigation of its basic principles and the options available to us, rather than attempting to apply an existing “correct” form onto our bodies. This understanding can then be used as a base to create infinite variations, practical, or otherwise. From running for-wards, backwards, sideways, fast or slow, changing speed and direction, running together with others, to a complete Ministry of Silly Runs.