by Sasha Bezrodnova
(background photo: Oceans and Flow)
We speak to dancers.
Did you notice, that together with appearing of good underwater cameras, a request for good dancers that are able to perform under water, increased tremendously?
Every cameramen having underwater equipment, has also a wish for making good shootings with people, freely floating in the element of water.
So we see on our screens... models and dancers, suspended in water, playing with transparent clothes, from time to time doing fast movements with their legs and arms, in between their "full of freedom movement".
There is a sharp contrast between the will to move aesthetically, and an absence of comfort in this new environment.
There is an attempt of bringing the earthy dance into a place in which our "dry" principles of movement and physical laws don't work.
The heroes are half dancing, half swimming somewhere, unaware of their movement patterns. If we see it as their first attempt, and we focus on the beauty of the costumes and scenography, then it is still bearable to watch.
Even better if we watch pictures rather than videos, because in pictures is easier to isolate just the good looking part. Of course, there are exceptions to this, Ashes & Snow for example is one of that rare exceptions.
Now what if you really want to create your water, or underwater dance?
When you are born, you have all the options within you. There are no rules or patterns to follow, not yet… then you begin to learn to move and walk on land, dance on land, on the floor, under the conditions of gravity… If you are lucky enough to have access to water, soon someone will come to teach you how you to move on it, and that is swimming.
In a glimpse all that innocent freedom is taken away. Now you find yourself moving in a straight line from one point to the other, forgetting about breaking the surface and swimming down, and enjoying…
That is a myth, many of us learned it at some point in childhood: the belief that the only way to move through water is swimming. This is why, begginer water dancers shift from dancing to a funny kind-of-swimming, from time to time. If you can’t see it in the videos, check again, you might notice how many videos are edited into very short pieces, in order to make that not visible.
Water is not land. It has its own laws, limitations and possibilities. You can't just displace your dance from land to water, as you would move a wardrobe from one place to another. Your wardrobe will sink in water, while on land it would stay and be ok
You have to become a child again, or a baby, learn to lay there, to roll, to crawl... To feel all the space. Afterall… to dance. Most likely, this process will not take you that long, as it took you to learn to walk, or to swim.
In most of the cases, already after first or second intensive the dancers are ready to let go the exceeding tensions that appear automatically in their muscles. They become aware of the details of their body while moving in and crossing the space absolutely freely, multi dimensionally. They put an end to fighting with water and they get support from it, developing their dance out of this support.
Any exceeding effort underwater creates resistance, and tremendously burns your oxygen. This is a big handicap when you're holding your breath, and is unnatural. You can feel that when you perform your dance, and you can perceive it when you watch others.
To dance underwater, we certainly don't need as much effort as we do when on land. Un-learn making this effort is a whole task to achieve. Once completed, it will also affect your "land dance" in a very pleasant way. You will start moving with less, with the minimally sufficient effort.
Your water dance can become connected, continuous, complete and holistic, once you overcome this habit of swimming. You will become able to move yourself and your partners through space without shifting into swimming or kicking, which also means effortless. You will discover such amazing quantity of new possibilities that you didn’t dare to dream before.
Dance in the water and under the water.
New depth of knowing yourself, new width of your artistic expression. If this is your dream, put on your best bathing suit!
Here you can see some of the water videos, made by us and our colleagues:
Deep water videos:
Shallow water videos:
Classics of CI in water: