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Flying And Falling Into Possibility

Updated: Feb 23

Essay #2


Keywords: gravity, refinement, simplicity, dance, movement, revolution, standing, walking,

yes, childlike, bones, art, islands, rain, protocol, centre, equilibrium, activation,

kinaesthetic, intelligence [Ki], postmodernists, returning, falling, the floor, curve, spiral,

helix, nuance, ingenuity, negotiation, sensorial, suppression, resistance, flight & final.


Context: I've adopted a writing style that lives comfortably in notes, sketches,

curiosities and collage. My background in dance compels me to write more

from that perspective. Of how art and the moving body interface with and

find language for the great adventure gravity posits. With particular

reference to postmodernist dance makers of the 1960’s and their return to

the most basic, essential, functional movements. I explore acts of returning

and falling as arts practice, through ideas, poetry, metaphor, physics,

movement, dance, Zero Balancing and consciousness. Where simplicity and

subtlety as conscious choices, hold value and service in ZB, art and life.

Closing the essay by introducing the Weber-Fechner Law (2) a field of

Psychophysics that reveals how small changes and differences can be

noticed, through refinements of sensory perception.


Yes Manifesto: a reference to Yvonne Rainer's No Manifesto 1965 (3)

Writing manifesto’s can be a useful way to get to the core of intentionality by setting out

terms and agreements. A manifesto can be a starting point for a creative process. Dogma

95, a Danish experimental film collective wrote their manifesto and I've been writing them

ever since.


Yes to simple

Yes to straight forward

Yes to less

Yes to less effort

Yes to what is essential

Yes to getting things done

Yes to no perfectionism

Yes to being a bit messy

Yes to finishing and completion

Yes to endings

And clean disconnects

knowing that also

endings are illusions

Yes to continuation

Yes to Gravity

to flying and falling

Yes to seeing things clearly

Yes to the imagined

to dreams

to things as they are

to knowing the difference

Yes to possibility

Yes to not knowing

Yes to containment

Yes as antidote to No

Yes to repetition

to repetition

Yes to notes

Yes to sketches

Yes to collage

Yes to chance

Yes to improvisation

Yes to the bare bones


#Gravity [is]


Isn’t gravity a marvel.

What a wondrous thing gravity is . . . . . . Gravity [is]

Gravity is an all pervasive force, fundamental to supporting life on our

planet. Gravity is Cosmic and Space [is]. Is it not the earth's gravitational

pull that keeps the moon in orbit and also stops earth's atmosphere from

drifting off into space. The Troposphere measures between 4 and 12 miles

high, a dense ground layer of gases, is where we live. Gravity of collision

and display, colour & light of the magnificent Aurora Borealis. Created

when charged particles of the sun meet with the earth's atmosphere and

are pulled by gravitational magnetic polar forces. Gravity is far out.

Gravity of ideas: return to curiosity (Gravity is in)


Is a return to things as they are

A return to simplicity

Just like a child in discovery, finding their fingers and toes

A beginners mind

Simple questions that are so close we cannot see

A return to that . . . to the curiosity and wonderment of the child

Was I ever that kind of child. I feel like I’m asking these questions for the

first time.

Moshe Feldenkrais asks: (4)

“Why do we have eyes’’
“Without light would we have eyes to see’’
“Without gravity would there be a need for a skeleton’’

Piercing and penetrating enquiry, like a thunderbolt that cuts through

illusion. Good honest questions. Appreciating things as they are.

The inherent qualities of ZB touch similarly have an objective clarity and

directness that are also:

“honest respectful non sentimental’’ Alan Hext (5)



Other Questions

What is a body

how did we get here

evolutional or accidental

What is sky

Where is up and down

Why clouds

What is rain

Lying on my back

in long summer grasses . . . looking up

I would perceive clouds

to be the undersides of islands

floating in the sea

of the sky

above me.

I would dream and imagine castles

cities and other worlds

floating in space

These worlds each with their own skies


Many more layers of floating cloud islands

ascending into infinity

I lived in my imagination

in sleep

I dreamt of flying

Distinguishing what is real from the imagined wasn’t a consideration as a


Distinguishing what is real from the imagined has been my consideration

for some time.

The interface and boundary between imagination and ordinariness

A push and pull of oppositional pairs.

ZB protocol and interface are a source of clarity and differentiation I keep

returning to.


Going down


Just as water vapour gases rise from earth's liquid surface (evaporation),

they are then returned in the form of water droplets falling from the sky

(condensation) we call this rain. Subject to the environmental causes and

conditions of the sun heating moisture found on leaves, plants, trees,

oceans, lakes and rivers, water vapours rise as gases. The higher the

vapours rise the cooler the air becomes and water droplets begin to form

into clouds. Becoming too heavy, they begin their fall back down to earth


All of this happens in the field of Gravity

Haiku #1

Science of rain

Meteoric metaphoric

stormy weather

Haiku #2

A frog leaping

waxy leaves vibrate

relentless downfall

rain [is]

the miracle of rain

the Hallelujah of rain

rain waters crops

rain keeps us alive

rain as pain

the tears of rain

language and metaphor

rain comes down

being down

down in the dumps

raining on my parade


“It’s raining it’s pouring - enough is enough - I can't go on’’

(6) Streisand & Summer


Buddy Holly expressed through song a human experience so relatable. A

popular cultural inference of the weight, sorrow and gravity of rain:

‘The sun is out, the sky is blue,
There's not a cloud to spoil the view
But it's raining, raining in my heart’ (7)

Down is bad

Down hurts


Falling down

Feeling down



Down to the ground

The floor is a hard surface

Falling is dangerous

The floor is dangerous

Fearing falling

Fearing failing

Standing up

At all costs


Up [is]

Up right

Up is Good

Up standing

Out standing


Going up

The Potter, the Infant and the ZB’er

An apprentice potter prepares and centres the clay, throwing a thousand

or so basic cylinders before they're able to replicate with accuracy a simple

form. Perfectly balanced, strong, shapely, functional and able to stand

alone .... In gravity.

The newborn child learns to stand through accomplishing a series of

motor sensory developmental tasks, front lying, lifting the head, kneeling,

crawling, shuffling, climbing, standing with an aid, repeatedly falling and

trying again. To then be able to stand alone with adequate strength,

balance, shape and functionality ... in gravity.

Similarly as an apprentice ZB’er, learning to stand on my own two feet I will

find my centre as a foundation for the work I do. I will keep returning to

that centre, to myself, the protocol, to hands, bodies, attention, breath, the

practice, not knowing, in a continuity of learning, embodying skills and a

deepening kinaesthetic intelligence ... in gravity.

Through trial and error, these skills become second nature, fully embodied,

allowing for the creation of more elaborate forms but we must first

accomplish these most basic of tasks. An accumulation and synthesis of

countless hours of practical, developmental, imaginative, theoretical and

reflexive learning. Returning to the simple form, it's all there, in the

foundations and at the core.



Coming back down

The Gravity Of Return

What is our relationship

to the floor

We are gravitational Beings. Our ability to lift ourselves up, appropriating

gravity into forward action ‘kinetic creativity’ is our lifetimes work. In death

and decay too, perhaps our final bodied return and fall to the floor . . . in

gravity. As instinctive and habitual standing and walking are, always

returning to what we know has it’s limitations and down-falls. Unconscious

and neglectful of our bodies, life ought not be lived solely in acts of

resisting gravity and linear verticality. Our bodies are more than vehicles

in service to brain powered intellects.

Dance and body centred practitioners serve to remind us about that.

Returning to the body with curiosity, imagination, playfulness, rigour and

discipline are some of the things dancers do.

“Dancing also nourishes

the matrix of small movements

the push and pull

in relation to the earth that we are

earth born creatures

who dream of space’’

Kimere, L Lamothe (8)

Two dance innovators of great renown and influence are Martha Graham

and Steve Paxton. Born in different era’s 45 years apart with their own

unique voices and sensibilities, both experimented, explored movement

potentials and developed methodologies that shifted consciousness into

new territories.


Martha Graham

Martha Graham became a revolutionary of American Modern Dance

whose legacy endures the changing nature of new movements and

reimaginings of 21st Century Dance.

Feminism and dance: The classical idiom and establishment defined a foot

bound femininity, long limbed, graceful, poised and lighter than air.

Graham on the other hand depicted women as powerful, courageous and

pioneering, in dance works that explored Great historical and mythological

female figures. (9)

Emily Dickenson

Joan Of Arc

Clytemnestra and more

Astonishing: Martha Graham Choreographed 180 dance works in her


Martha Graham's deeply grounded relationship with the floor, the pelvis

and a method of harnessing embodied contraction and release, began a

new and radical relationship to the floor through acts of falling.





emotional & earthy


New negotiations with gravity

Acts of falling

Challenging audiences

perceptions of beauty

and what dance [is]

“Graham’s falling

was not a falling

into collapse

but a falling

into possibility

The drama of the descent


into the unknown

and the joy of the return’’

(10a) Ellen Graff

Martha ‘trends’ with an inspired Google Gif (d)

“My dancers fall so they may rise’’ Ellen Graff quotes Martha Graham (10b)


Steve Paxton

Meeting in an old church basement

Early 1960’s, Greenwich Village New York

The Judson Church Dance Theatre

A cross disciplinary Arts collective

Redefined what dance is or can be

Deconstructing elitist dance forms

into everyday movements and gestures

A beckoning age of postmodernism

Steve Paxton was a part of all that (11)

And part of their negotiation of what dance is, can be seen as a rejection

of virtuosity and abstract expressionism in favour of those everyday

pedestrian movements. Walking, standing, running, crouching, movement

stripped down to the essential bare bones. Paxton and the postmodernists

“deconstructed and democratised dance” (12) focussing on the inherent

forms all humans do, placing trained and untrained dancers together in

performative situations.

Yvonne Rainer Choreographed Trio A (13) in 1966 and captures the zeitgeist,

in what Paxton calls ‘’personal incidents and pedestrian forms’’ (14)

Evolving, Innovating how two bodies/dancers can move in relation to each

other and the floor in constant awareness of gravity. The spontaneous

mercurial nature with constantly changing forms & fulcrums, points of

contact, a headstand, a handstand, bending backwards, trusting, feeling,

flying, collapsing, invites & encounters.


Contact Improvisation

a fluid basis for two

2 moving bodies


the giving and receiving

of weight exchange


innate empathy


Steve Paxton's falling, his use of the floor and gravity has it’s origins in the

Japanese Martial form of the Aikido roll, “a diagonal stretch across the

back, presenting curves and extending into the floor’’ (15a) and (15b)

“There's so much information in falling in rolling

I needed

to tell people

how to fall down at speed


into the floor’’

Offering bridges through contact improvisation linking to other forms like

martial arts. Ideas of a third entity, often referenced in contact improv

circles. A synergy arising out of the contact of two or more moving bodies.

“A third entity is the form, the movement, the flow’’ (15c) Steve Paxton

Zero Balancing is dance, a duet with it’s own methodology and criteria.

Curious about a third entity, perhaps in the minutiae of small movements.

Quiet synergy, unspoken, cocreating, spontaneous, unfolding, breaths,

tensions, looseness, play, improvisational, donkeys leaning, riders riding.


On reflection perhaps my hunger to become a dancer

was fuelled by a deeper drive

to continue my movement development

An arrested development

Sitting in chairs

Oppressive system of schooling

Built environments

ParKour (16) an urban movement form had yet to be invented.

moving to learn

learning to move

(17) Steve Paxton reflects and articulates:

‘’Essentially to do what babies do when they begin to move

a hunger into what movement is and can be

I think it provides a service to keep the search alive

in a culture that has engineered an environment

requiring physical and sensoral suppression

to exist in

I think dancers are trying to complete a physicality

that gets messed up by the 12 years in school

.... or longer’’

Later still Paxton developed Material For The Spine from observing

contact improvisation. In ‘MFTS’, articulating the spine as an extra limb - in

partnership with the pelvis - became instruments of initiation and

movement potentials.


‘’Two spirals making a helix

the shape of DNA

that's what we are

a twisted helix

Twisting is how we walk

twisting and retwisting

[is] walking


It's an incredible form’’

(18a) Steve Paxton

A voice of guidance and sanity, no wonder the pervasiveness of distraction

and dis_ease within the dazzling artifice and advancements of culture.

“We’ve created a world where

we've become more neon than nuance

Food is advertised rather than hunted for

Entertainment becomes divorced from ingenuity’’ (18b)

Perhaps our first fall, into being born, is as Paxton suggests not the

beginning of life but the start of a new relationship in a new environment:

“Birth is not so much a beginning

as it is an abrupt change

in which suddenly there are different factors

than those in the womb

and there is gravity

With gravity

a new negotiation begins

and these terms condition us

for the rest of our lives’’




Etymologically speaking, walking has it’s origin in the Olde

English/Germanic word Wealcan, meaning to roll, toss and wander. (19)

Fun facts about walking: the gait cycle (20)

Walking is a collaborative effort between the feet, knees and hips.

Walking involves kinetic energy, friction, propulsion, weight exchange,

leaning, vaulting, standing, swinging, rolling & balancing in a cycle called

the Gait

There is so much moving in walking

There is always one foot in contact with the floor at any one time.

For a brief moment there are two feet in contact with the floor at the same


Walking to get somewhere

Going nowhere at all walking

A moderately active person takes on average 7,500 steps a day

216,262,500 steps may have been taken over a lifetime of 80 yrs.

Walking is a meditation.

Walking as performance

Walking mindlessly

Walking is something we can do alone or with others.

Walking as activism, a protest, a march, a procession

A Peace Walk

Humans walk upright on two feet

We can walk forwards, backwards, side to side, on diagonals, around in


There is no right or wrong way to walk

There are right and wrong ways to walk


Slide Waddle

Limp Crawl Prance

Amble Stagger hobble Tear

Trek Lurch Stroll Mooch Scuttle Lunge Creep

Lollop Hop Prowl Glide Tiptoe


Stride Strut Sprint Skip Dart

Slip Stalk Pad Paddle Sneak Scamper

Sashay Wade Scurry Rush

Stumble Meander Scramble

March Trip

Fritz Smith

Explains how the first and deepest level of energy in the body arise from

walking. The motion and pressures of the feet, which translate through the

entirety of our skeletal system both structurally and energetically. This

happens in relation to the floor whilst walking, the lines of tension passing

through our ‘centre of gravity’ that travel diagonally in figures of eight from

each foot to its opposite shoulder.

“In walking

these diagonal vectors

are converted

into complicated

figure of eight

spiral patterns’’



Through the complex structures of the feet, our walking and sense of being

and balance adapt to changes in the floors surface. Whether we’re walking

uphill on a rocky steep slope, playing ball on a soft sandy beach or on the

moving surface of an airport conveyor the common ground is gravity and

how our bodies intelligently adapt to it.

As a client leaves the table to meet the floor, they are encouraged to

integrate the session by walking and helping them to return to an everyday


Entrances and exits

Perceiving information and honing observational skills. Meeting a client

where they are, as they are whilst remaining discreet and at interface.

When someone walks, what do you see. What can walking tell us about

structure. Of how the bodymind is organising, functioning and including

states of emotion, spirit, psyche . . . in gravity.

How someone enters and exits

The room . . . a ZB session . . . visible clues [information]

how the body functions in gravity

where is the weight

are they in a hurry

Is their rise & fall

stuck in rising . . . or falling

Is there collapse . . . is there hesitation

fragility . . . or robustness

A sense of freeze . . . Isolated parts

Overcompensating areas

Is there balance . . . equilibrium

Does the whole body . . . come into play


Islands Of Equilibrium

Our mid point is the most commonly known of the three primary centres of

gravity in the human body.

In ZB protocol we address the three primary gravity centres of the pelvic,

chest and head regions equally.

The feet are where we usually begin and end a session

introducing opening and closing half moon vectors

allowing the client to feel themselves fully

from head to toe as a unified whole.

“seating someone back

into themselves’’

Alan Hext (22a)

Whilst lying on our back

A structural and psychological shift

from verticality with weight and charge descending down into the feet. Now

spreading & dispersing largely to the mass of the pelvis, rib cage and

head. It’s interesting to me how a lying down position offers an optimal

place and potential to address these three primary, structural and

energetic centers.


As Alan Hext points out in his book The Structural Energetics Of Zero

Balancing (22b)

“Returning a client

back to their centres

of gravity and feeling

of wholeness and completeness

Is part of the efficiency

and grace of ZB

in its ability