Modern, Break, Belly, and Gymnastics. Fusing common elements of movement.


I simply cannot get over this video of Jenny Hoffman on the German Wheel.

Seriously, I cried a little.

The flipping and flow, the built comfort of letting go. The core and the balance, control in all boundaries. It just seems like the ultimate high to me…

Recently, I have for some reason begun to explore more into gymnastics. I never really thought about training like a gymnast, but in all reality, that is what I seem to be doing at times.

My love for dance is genuine, but my love for strength is even more so.

My roots are in belly dance, but when it comes down to utilizing a concept of full body awareness and strength, Modern dance drew me in.

I love the essence and flow of modern, the “oh shit I’m about to fall on my *catch!*” of modern. I believe I gained my full appreciation of just how much the body can actually do, opposed to reps and sets of single plane training in the gym. Through modern I started to get comfortable with throwing my weight around, shifting weight to other less common used body parts (such as the hands) and exploring in a complexity of several different planes, even simultaneously.

Then! I realized just how much modern has in common with break dancing. I started to get into breaking a little bit more, and thats when the hard hitting and quickness began to tap in. Breaking is HARD to do and it can be incredibly hard on the body. It is great to explore with though. Breakers use so many dynamics, so many elements. So many tempos (well, most dance does, but more so to the extreme in this case). And THE MUSIC really pulls a different trigger inside me. Talk about endurance!

Out of the power moves of breaking, I began to challenge my body more. Putting myself in awkward positions and finding my own flow out of them. Increasing strength by shifting weight in different ways, as well has holding positions more often than not. FREEZE!

When I was in Nashville, I was jumping around in this empty field by this one park. My main focus is to gain better stability, balance, and control to put towards dancing. I was practicing some jumps (trying to figure them out anyway), handstand variations, rolling and floor work. All of which involuntarily fuse the modern, break, and even fusion hip hop elements of tribal belly dancing of which I love.

Anyway, I was tossing myself around, and this one fellow comes up to ask me if I am a gymnast.

And Im just like…uhm…no, no I’m not.

“I’m just a dancer.”

and after conversing with him for a while about a couple of different styles I was into, (even capoeira), I began to think to myself about being a gymnast. Not that it would be any easy feat to accomplish…but more so about how the training I was doing was actually pretty similar to gymnastic floor routines (except for dynamic flipping, Im not quite there yet).

And then I thought about possibly starting to work with gymnasts. Building sequences of dance, within the elements of acrobatics. Taking my kinesiology understanding and tying my love for dance, power, and agility, all into one. Maybe one day I will get really good. OR, I could just help assist in some creative movement with gymnasts that are already well established in the field.

And of course, making sure not to overtrain. Rest is so incredibly vital. Seriously, I woke up yesterday morning, wanting to jump around…but my body was saying HELL NO. I was so incredibly tense. I rolled my whole self out for about 2 hours. 2 HOURS. If you don’t know about foam rollers or tennis balls, investigate the shit. Or better yet, Ill cover that in post for you soon. 🙂

Oh and yes, then theres the love for circus arts. Ah!

Photo I took at the Trapeze Austin student Showcase

Good day comrades.

<3, JLT


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