How to do the clock dance
Dancing Our Own Clock Dance — The Innerwork Center
Knowing really how to pause, not just outwardly, but throughout your being,
is a consummate art of living.
— from a mindfulness poster
When the field of vision has been unified, the inner being comes to rest, and that inner peaceableness flows into the outer world as harmony and compassion.
— Cynthia Bourgeault
BY LIZ WHITEHURST
“. . . [Willa’s clock dance] would feature a woman racing across the stage from left to right, all the while madly whirling so that the audience saw only a spinning blur of color before she vanished into the wings, pouf! Just like that. Gone.”
Who doesn’t relate to the main character, Willa Drake, in Anne Tyler’s new book, Clock Dance? I know I do.
My wish is to slow my Clock Dance down before I’m gone with a pouf! I want to observe and experience my life. But how? One of my teachers is always reminding me, “Liz, you have the time to pause. ” Left to myself, I never think I do. Like Willa, I’m all awhirl, running, spinning. When I pause for meditation, at least my body is still. My mind is usually another matter.
Obviously, this is not just a modern problem. The Old Testament psalmist wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” And Quaker George Fox wrote in 1652, “Ye have no time but this present time, therefore prize your time, for your soul’s sake.”
But how do you do it? How do we approach the time we have, finding ways to slow down, pause or experience a different quality in our own Clock Dance? In the novel, two characters answer this question through their lived experience and teach Willa two Clock Dance variations.
The first variation comes from Willa’s father, Melvin, after Willa’s husband’s sudden death. Melvin tells Willa how he coped with the interminable stretch of the-rest-of-your-life-alone he first faced as a widower, a pattern he continues to use. He explains, “I broke my days into separate moments . . . there were these individual moments that I could still appreciate. Like drinking the first cup of coffee in the morning. Working on something fine in my workshop. Watching a baseball game on TV.”
Pausing. Slowing down. Observing. Taking the time to notice, to experience life. To savor. All are gifts of the mindfulness Melvin practices.
Critics, however, dismiss meditation and mindfulness as navel-gazing. They question what role quiet meditation has in a needy world screaming for right action from all of us. If not grounded, there is a risk that meditation can become precious or devolve into narcissism.
A friend recently told me how, as part of a mindfulness retreat, her job was to make coffee for the community. One particular morning as she filled the coffee maker, she accidentally spilled a few grains of coffee onto the counter. The group leader pointed an accusing finger at the spilled grounds and whispered, “That is what inattention looks like.”
Wow! This tight, rigid perfectionism is the opposite of what I’m aiming for in meditation and mindfulness practice. I like Cynthia Bourgeault’s aim better, that the results of my efforts create not only rest in my inner being but an outflowing into the world as “harmony and compassion.”
In my own life, I often feel a tension between meditation and mindfulness and action. Long ago, in a session with Brother Curtis Almquist, SSJE, I learned about the mandorla. What’s a mandorla? Take a circle and intersect it with another circle. The almond-shaped space of intersection is the mandorla (mandorla means almond in Italian). This is liminal space, "both/and" space. The space of integration. In Eastern and Western art, Holy Ones, saints, bodhisattvas are often depicted surrounded by a glowing, almond-shaped mandorla.
My mandorla -- the intersection between the circle representing my meditation and mindfulness practices and the circle representing my action in the world -- is never the same size or shape. Some days, it's only a sliver. Some days, it disappears because the circles don’t even touch. But during some parts of some days, I sense a quality of presence as I go about my life, as I act, that I know originates from my practices. Then, I’m in mandorla space.
James Finley (a spiritual writer and teacher whose mentor was Thomas Merton) explains how, after time and practice, “these moments of sitting in meditation become less and less different from one’s moment of washing the dishes or running errands.” Meditation informs action and action informs meditation. As these moments become more frequent, the mandorla grows.
Turning back to Clock Dance, another character named Ben offers Willa a different variation to Melvin’s, also helpful to those seeking to experience life in a more mindful way. Ben explains, “I try the wider approach. I widen out my angle of vision till I’m only a speck on the globe. We are all just infinitesimal organisms floating through a vast universe.”
Willa objects, asks if thinking this way makes Ben feel “puny.” His reply? “I am puny. We all are.” Ben recognizes the immense scale of reality. His variation brings with it perspective, an attitude of humility, and a sense of humor. It also informs his awareness of our common humanity. The fact is: we’re all in this together. We’re all dancing our own Clock Dance.
When I slow down or pause or become more awake in my own dance, I realize this isn’t a solo! Others are on the floor dancing with me. And there’s an audience out there, beyond the footlights, supporting our efforts. Maybe they’re dancing in the aisles! Everybody’s dancing our own variation through the vast universe, joining in the dance.
Clock Dance ends with Willa realizing “there’s no limit to the possibilities” this dance has to offer. At the very end of the novel, “She sees herself as a tiny skirted figure like the silhouette on a ladies’ room door, skimming the curve of the earth as it sails through space.”
Liz Whitehurst, a former Board member at Chrysalis (now THE INNERWORK CENTER), has spent her professional life writing and teaching. She tries her best to dance every day.
Reading guide for Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
About this Book
- Reading Guide
Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
Below are six questions designed to guide your discussion of Anne Tyler's new novel Clock Dance. They are only a starting point, and we hope they'll inspire your group to further conversation about the book and much more.
- Why do you think Anne Tyler began the story where she did? What do we learn about Willa by first meeting her as a little girl?
- What do you make of the stranger on the plane? How would you respond in Willa's position? In Derek's? Have you ever had an experience that felt like this one? How did you want your family and friends to react?
- Why do you think the cactus is so important to Willa? Are there symbols or landmarks in your own life that give you such powerful feelings?
- If the book were instead focused on the life of another main character or Baltimore neighbor, which one would you most like to read about? What would their personal journey be?
- Compare Willa's two marriages, as well as her feelings towards her sons. How has caring for different men shaped her life? How do you think these relationships affect the choices she makes in the second half of the book?
- Now that you've finished, why do you think the author chose these particular moments in Willa's life to highlight? How do they make her the person she becomes, and where do you think she ends up?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Vintage. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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How to learn to dance shuffle - Lifehacker
December 15, 2019 Likbez Sports and fitness
Master the basic moves, then improvise and have fun.
Author of Lifehacker, athlete, CCM
This dance style includes a lot of freedom and improvisation. That is why he is so good. You can master the basic movements in a couple of hours, and then complicate them to infinity and combine them with each other, create your own combinations and spy on others.
Dance in sneakers, socks or barefoot, in any outfit, anywhere.
Master the basic movements of the shuffle
In this style, you do all the basic movements with your feet, the hands most often move freely - according to the heart.
This is the most basic and essential shuffle movement. You can do it in three different ways.
The movement begins by bending your knee and lifting one leg. Next, you need to simultaneously put both legs - supporting and raised - at a distance of one step from each other.
The raised leg is placed forward on a full foot, the standing one behind slips back on the ball of the foot and remains on it - the heel is not placed on the floor. The weight is evenly distributed between the two legs.
After that, it remains to return to the starting position. To do this, the front leg slides back, and at the same time, the back leg is pulled up. You find yourself in the starting position and repeat the cycle. The movement itself is soft and springy: do not stick into the floor, keep your legs relaxed.
This is a lighter and faster running man look that may be needed for some combinations. Here you put your foot not on the whole foot, but on the heel. At the same time, the one standing behind remains on the toe.
In this variation, the foot is placed forward on the pad. At the same time, the one standing behind also remains on the ball of the foot, and the body leans slightly back.
In this movement, one foot constantly makes a “herringbone” - turns the heel in and out - and the second touches the floor and immediately rises back.
When the heel of the skating leg turns inward, the toe of the other leg touches the floor; when outward, the other leg rises, turning the knee inward.
It turns out two positions: closed - when the legs are wrapped with the knees inward, and one leg is raised, and open - when the legs are turned out with the knees outward, and the toe touches the floor. Practice doing the T-step in both directions: slowly at first, then with acceleration.
You jump on one foot while the other touches the floor in different places: on the side of the supporting leg, across, behind - anywhere you want. You can put your foot on the toe or on the heel - the latter is called a kick. The supporting leg can simply rise low or perform a T-step - move the heel out and in.
To begin, you turn your knees and toes inward and lift one leg. Then turn your toes and knees outward, and put your raised leg forward crosswise. Repeat the same with the other leg.
All movement occurs on the balls of the feet, the heels do not fall to the floor. You can move both forward and backward.
First, with a jump, you put your feet crosswise with your toes out, then you also spread your legs to the sides with a jump.
One leg is straight, stands on the whole foot, the other is with a bent knee on the pad. Leaning on the pad, you slip the foot of a straight leg back, as if wiping the sole on the floor.
Immediately after the slip, you turn around. In the turn, the straight leg bends and goes to the pad, and the one that was on the pad, on the contrary, turns on the heel. After that, it remains only to change legs and move in the same way in the other direction.
From the starting position - standing with a raised leg, as in Running man - you turn your hips to the side with a jump and put your legs crosswise.
The front foot is on the heel, the back foot is on the ball. Then you jump back to the starting position and do the same on the other side.
From the starting position, you turn your hips to the side with a jump and spread your legs a step apart from each other. The standing foot in front is placed on the heel, the standing one behind remains on the pillow. Then, with a jump, you collect your legs and do the same on the other side.
Try other variations of the basic shuffle movements
You can perform basic movements in different directions: forward and backward, turning around. This will give you more freedom to improvise.
Variations Running man
Do several times in place and then turn around. You can also try walking this way to the side. Each time the leg will need to be placed slightly crossed in order to slowly move to the side.
You can lower your foot on the toe, on the whole foot, touch the floor to the side of the supporting leg or forward and behind it.
You can also keep the other leg on the floor at all - leave it on the toe and turn the knee in and out.
Here one more element is added to the movement – the heel strike. In the starting position, you wrap the toes of the feet and knees inward, and then jump on the heels, turning the socks to the sides.
From this position, without jumping, you turn your toes and knees inward, cross your legs with a jump, turning your feet with your toes outward, and then return to the starting position.
After three turns of the Charleston, turn both toes in one direction and then in the other. At the end, you can turn the knee to the side.
Combine familiar shuffle moves
While you lack the skills to move freely and come up with something of your own, learn a few combinations. They contain interesting movements that will replenish your dance vocabulary.
This is a simple combination of two basic movements - Running man and T-step. First take five Running man steps, then four T-steps to the side and repeat the same in the opposite direction.
Another combination of two basic movements. Here you do three Running mans, then one T‑step with a back foot touch, and two front heel touch kicks. The same on the other side.
There are no standard steps here, but there are already familiar Sidekick and transition from heels to toes.
Learn more difficult combinations
We will add some videos with good combinations.
1. Cool video for beginners: movements are repeated in slow motion to make it easier to dance to the music.
2. And here the combination is analyzed step by step in slow motion, dividing it into three parts. Very comfortably. Look for more on this channel, there are several such analyzes.
3. No slowdown here, just a great combination. But you already know almost all the movements, so you can figure it out. If something is not clear, watch the video at a speed of 0.25.
Pick the music and improvise
You probably have a favorite song to shuffle to. Include them and start with basic movements: just do the Running man and periodically add different elements when you want. Move in different directions, relax and have fun.
If you don't have favorite tracks, try our selection.
I must say that the shuffle is an amazing cardio workout. In just a couple of tracks, you will be out of breath and sweat, like after a run, but you will feel absolutely happy!
What's more, if you have to force yourself to keep going while running, shuffle requires you to have the willpower to stop and not dance. As a bonus - a short video from a beginner after a couple of hours of practice.
Shuffle is cool!
Read also 🕺💃🤸♀️
- Dancing as a sport: choosing the right direction
- Dance and movement therapy: how to know and change yourself through movement
- How to learn to dance: video lessons for those who are not afraid to try
- How to learn street dancing without leaving home
- Zumba is a fun way to lose weight for those who love dancing
*Activity of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.
How to learn to dance: video tutorials for those who are not afraid to try
January 28, 2017 Likbez Sports and fitness
If you decide to learn how to dance, don't delay. Just repeat after the instructors the basic movements of modern, street, ballroom and social dances.
Author of Lifehacker, athlete, CCM
Answers to the main questions
Is it difficult to learn to dance?
It's really no more difficult than anything you're new to. Dance directions are very different from each other. Even if you have mastered one of them, it will be unusual for you to do the other.
However, all dances are connected with the ability to control one's body. And if this is not new to you (for example, you were engaged in martial arts, gymnastics, swimming, and even more so dancing), it will be easier for you to adapt to new movements than a beginner who is not friendly with his body.
Even if you have a rather wooden body, you should not despair. The secret of success is constant practice.
Learning to dance from video lessons is more difficult than from courses. If your body is flexible and obedient, you can still do something similar to the movements of the instructor from the video. If not, you can quickly become disillusioned with dancing: the difference between what is shown in the video and what you will see in the mirror will be too strong.
Still worth a try. At least in order to determine the appropriate direction.
How many times a week do you dance?
Muscles may be sore at first after exercise. But, unlike strength training or running, the body does not require a recovery period.
Therefore, you can safely practice dancing all the time. One of my teachers said to dance 25 hours a day. In any case, the more you dance, the more noticeable the progress.
How to learn to dance modern dances
From this direction we have chosen three types that can often be found in the schedules of fitness clubs and dance schools. And the first - plastic and insanely beautiful contemporary.
Contemporary combines elements of modern jazz, yoga and martial arts, seasoned with improvisation and attention to breathing. This is freedom and plasticity - the natural beauty of movement.
Here is a clip with a contemporary combination. Give it a try, just be sure to warm up and stretch well before you teach.
And here is the second part:
By the way, about the warm-up. In the video below - a full lesson with a warm-up, stretching and analysis of the combination. In English, but everything is clear and without translation.
If you do not have time to repeat or consider how some movement is done, set the speed to 0.25.
If you like combinations but can't repeat them yet, here are some more videos of routine contemporary lessons.
You will most likely have to do the same at the dance school before you can perform beautiful combinations.
Many people confuse pole exercises and strip plastic. The second is just a sensual dance that can be performed without a pole.
Doing strip plastic, you will not stand at the barre and pull the toe. Everything here is based on the natural sexuality of the female body. Of course, many teachers diversify strip plastic with elements of contemporary or modern, Latin American dances and other areas, but it all depends on the teacher.
How beautiful your dance will look again depends on how well you know how to control your body, how mobile your joints are and how stretched your muscles and tendons are.
In the video below there is an analysis of the combination. Not too simple, but very sensual and beautiful. And you don't have to move on the floor, so your knees don't get hurt.
And here is a playlist with strip plastic lessons from different dance schools. There are both individual movements and combinations.
And one more, simpler combination. Try it if the first one doesn't work.
Belly dance (bellydance)·júbilo·haku·/Flickr.com
This is a sensual and beautiful dance that, among other things, helps to develop plasticity and even get rid of some health problems.
There are a lot of belly dance lessons on YouTube. Below are some of them.
The basic movements are explained here very clearly:
And the second part:
Below is a playlist with five lessons for beginners from another teacher.
How to learn to dance street dance
Hip-hop has only been around for about 50 years. But during this time, many trends and styles have appeared, with different elements, plasticity, and special features.
In addition, modern hip-hop is often complemented by movements from other dance styles, which provides even richer vocabulary and original combinations.
But before you come up with your own combinations, you need to master the basics. In the playlist below you will find basic moves, steps and many combinations. They explain everything in an accessible way. If you can't make it, slow down the video speed.
The videos in the next big playlist explain the concepts of inertia, manipulation and isolation in hip-hop. There's also a story about improvisation, battle behavior if you're up for it, and a few variations of ground hip-hop moves (on the floor) to diversify your combinations.
Breakdancing consists of different elements: tricks and power movements on the floor, waves, fixations, and also changes in the levels at which the dance is performed.
Here on this channel there is training in different styles: Waving, King Tut, Robot, - analysis of the technique of power elements and basic movements at different levels.
Below is a video detailing the 6 steps element from Footwork.
And here you can see how the "turtle" is performed.
Here is a voluminous playlist, which contains quite a lot of breakdancing elements with a detailed analysis of the technique of dance and strength elements.
A sexy dance in which you need to actively work the buttocks, hips, stomach and arms. In this playlist you will find several lessons with analysis of twerk movements.
How to learn to dance ballroom dancing
At least once in your life you will surely need a waltz. Moreover, it is not so difficult to dance it at an amateur level.
Here are four good lessons that will teach you how to hold your hands and do the basic waltz steps in pairs or individually.
How to learn to dance social dances
Social dances are not designed for competition, but for communication between partners and enjoyment. Improvisation is welcome here, through which the dancer can express himself, his feelings and emotions.
This dance comes from the Dominican Republic. He is very sensual and sometimes erotic. The basis of bachata is four steps with an emphasis on the last one. In the dance, there are rotations and throws of the partner, small lifts.
Despite the fact that bachata is a pair dance, solo combinations can also be taught. For example, if you don't have a partner yet.
In the video below - an overview of the main steps. Where to transfer body weight, how to hold hands, how to focus - everything is told in the most detailed way.
And here is a variation of bachata from the same teacher.
Below is a playlist for those who want to dance bachata together. These are Dominican bachata lessons from the Imagine dance school.