Sounding the Spine
Week 8 score by Sharon Renee Stewart
I absolutely loved this one. I hold a lot of my tension in my shoulders/jaw and it just helped me bring energy into the areas which lead into the shoulder and jaw – namely the spine. I love that sounding the depths was a term before sonar – I used that sonicery (imagery) of sonar when doing this score – sending out energy and receiving information back.
I have done this one before, and as before I found it very moving. Its funny my head feels the most fluid doing this exercise/ performance. Also unlike other meditative works I have done before I find this very easy to lose myself in. However I did feel quite emotional later so I definitely recommend being close or near someone later, someone your comfortable with.
Second to all that, sounding the body sounds like an impossible scenario but you can actually feel resonance when you start these movements.
It is a wonderful piece to do.
yes, i had told stephanie that you had already done this piece. now without the room full of other people…
thanks for your feedback! it’s a good idea to tell people that it can also have emotional impact. which is very good, but can also affect the rest of your day! sending very warm greetings, love, sharon.
this past weekend the son of a friend of mine was ‘teaching’ me to Waveboard. i was just moving along with him yelling ‘faster, faster’, when, yes, the board slipped to the right and i landed on my back. fortunately more horizontal then vertical, so i didn’t get such a big whack to my tailbone, but yeah, i have been feeling it the past couple of days. my eyes were even aching… all that fluid getting jolted around.
so, good moment to give my spine some attention!
i didn’t have as much time/freedom as i would have liked, but just started anyway.
what i noticed is that this time i was not getting so much sounding impulses from my spine, but definitely lots of moving impulses. lying on my back, i felt at one point like one of those worms who suddenly curls up in the light. there were some sudden twitches as well coming from around my T7 (seventh thoracic vertebrae), small circular movements around my tailbone (sacrum/coccyx). these movements then affected my sounding and breathing. there were definitely groans and moans. also, what i did do with sounding was to follow a sound that impulsively went lower, and traced at the same time the vibrations moving down my spine, although actually i could feel the vibrations over my whole spine (and my skull). i guess what i mean is that the vibrations were going from high to low but the sensing of the vibrations as traveling down my spine was ‘artificial’, or produced from my focused attention.
on my hands and knees, i felt a strong pull of gravity causing me to ‘sag’ from my shoulders. i allowed myself to sag, and felt my tiredness. movements and sounds were more ‘searching’, higher peeps. i think i felt more like breathing and moving than sounding, actually, so got into kind of a conflict of interests with the piece and my own impulses.
my partner came in to the hallway talking on the telephone (i thought that he came in with my piano student!), so i felt very inhibited, and then thought, i really need to do this again when i have created a safer buffer of time/space for myself.
the standing while remaining fully aware of gravitational was once again informative. this time it was a fluid action that felt very integrated while standing and once i was standing (transfer of body mass flowed well from my head through my neck, upper back, midriff, hips, knee and ankle joints into the floor). breathing and sounds were subdued, however, and i slowly ended the exercise.
i did feel much more space, relaxation and balance in my spine and body!
I was very much looking forward to performing this score, as it’s similar to a kind of personal movement practice I have, where I zone out and let my body follow the movement of my spine wherever it pulls or seems to want to go.
The first time I performed the score, I had trouble integrating the sounding with the movement, and it felt more or less like my regular spinal movement improvisation, with vocalization and lying-to-standing choreography grafted on. Which was interesting, but I suspected that I needed to internalize the score a bit more and perform it again.
Finally this morning I had the chance to give it a second go. This time I put on music (Canto Ostinato by Simeon Ten Holt) to “set the mood” and to alleviate any fears of being overheard. I am still not sure that I “sounded” my spine in the sense of sonar, but I what I did do was use my exhalations to physically hum/vibrate the length of my spine, allowing any movement to flow from that sounding/vibration. This, I loved. I loved the unification of vocalization and movement, two activities that I find deeply centering, but which I have never felt combined so successfully, or experienced as much as one.
When I do movement improvisation, I usually lose myself in the feeling of the movement itself, but here, with my attention focused on the “sounding” of my spine, very little of my attention was on the movement itself, which was extra-liberating for me, physically. My experience/movements/soundings were extremely creaturely. It felt actually beyond (or beneath, or to the left of) animal, and felt mythologically creaturely. Pan-like. I was trembling for a bit afterwards…
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