BEAMISH BODYMIND BALANCING
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Beamish Bodymind Balancing® and Classical Ballet
“The ultimate goal is effortless movement and control.”
The Beamish Bodymind Balancing® technique was created by Beamish to train all levels of dancers. It is the product of many years of investigation of the relation between the mind, the body, and energy flow, incorporating various aspects of acupressure, Do In (a Chinese massage and exercise technique), yoga, meditation, kinesiology, and osteopathy, in order to align the body and focus the mind to obtain maximum results while eliminating unnecessary tensions. This can then be applied to any type of physical activity, although primarily orientated to classical ballet technique. It is based on the premise that what we give, we always get back. Beamish says: “If you respect the laws of movement, and treat your body gently and with intelligence, then, through dance, you will get back what you put in.” The exercises enable dancers to reshape their bodies, calm and focus their minds, with spectacular results on and off stage. The technique is a tool to maintain a healthy, youthful body, a focused mind, a balanced emotional state, and avoid chronic injuries. It also promotes self esteem, and prolongs the ability not only to dance longer, but to live a richer and more satisfying life.
Some of the unique aspects of the BBB include the physical-mental concept of the connection of the energy centers, and the origin of the movement. It trains the body to initiate the movement from within, radiating outward and returning in a circular pattern, together with creating awareness of the balancing and alignment of the skeletal system.
An adjunct to these concepts is the use of visualization: for example, where the movement is initiated and directed, and the “feeling” of seeing oneself from behind. The use of the scapulae, sacrum, sitzbones, and backs of the legs, knees and heels is fundamental for correct rotation (turnout) which together with the anchoring of the weight into the ground, creates the effect of “pull-up”, an often very misunderstood concept. The law of duality: “To go up, you push down...” “To go to the right, you resist to the left...” All this originates in the floor exercises. The constant connections, and isometric pressure horizontally in opposing directions into the floor, now converts into a vertical vocabulary. Connecting through the body and into the floor, eliminating unnecessary tension, creates “flow” - necessary for controlled turnout, and easy, strong movement and line, both on the ground and in the air.
None of this is possible without emphasis on breathing and relaxation. As in any highly trained activity, such as singing, tennis, or the martial arts, a good technique is a relaxed technique. Dance is no excepxion. In order to allow the energy flow through the body, feel one’s muscles, and reach the sufficient speed sometimes required, the dancer must be a relaxed vehicle. This is a facilitator to the most crucial facet of dance, the music, to actually hear, and absorb, the music and its often complex rhythms into the muscles and brain, something often “shut out” through “tension training.”
The BBB trains the dancer in a wholistic fashion. Through the connection of the bones, music, and constant isometric pressure, the dancer learns to target and use only essential muscles and work at the maximum in the most efficient manner possible, resulting in apparently effortless technique, strength and flexibility. The opposite to the old “no pain, no gain” theory.