Body Movement & the Cello: Pt 3 - The BrainDance

Please help me give a round of applause to Karin Stevens and Faith Stevens for opeing up the world of movement to us cellists this weekend. What a success!

As promised, here is the BrainDance material I wanted to share with you...

Anne Green Gilbert is the Artistic Director of the Creative Dance School and the Kaleidoscope Dance Company in Seattle. She's created this series of developmental movements called the BrainDance which is based on the the first year of life.

From her website: "As babies, we did these movements on our tummies and back on the floor. However, cycling through these patterns at any age, daily or weekly while sitting or standing, has been found to be beneficial in reorganizing our central nervous system. Repeating these patterns over time may help us fill in any missing gaps in our neurological system due to birth trauma, illness, environment, head injury or not enough tummy time as a baby."

Here's a lovely little blog interview with Gilbert from 2010 and an article from the Seattle Times too!

Karin and Faith both did a beautiful job of opening our chair-bound minds as cellists to the full span of movement that we have to offer our practice sessions. I was reminded many times this weekend of all the different parts of my body I've not been using to help play the cello. Yikes. [Example: My lungs' expansion & my thighs pushing down to the ground.] It was so wonderful to have those reminders.

The BrainDance Patterns

I would encourage each of you to create your own BrainDance to do before you start your practice session with the cello. And like we proved this weekend, these movements can also be done from sitting in a chair too! To the right, you'll see Mrs. Beasley from youtube introduce the following patterns...

    1. Breath: Take four to five deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth filling the belly, diaphragm and lungs. (Brain needs oxygen to function)
    2. Tactile: Touch all body parts in various ways – squeezing, tapping, slapping, scratching, brushing. (Bonding and sensory integration)
    3. Core-Distal: Stretch away from body center (naval) through fingers, toes, head, tail, and curl back to core center. (Relate to others and to self)
    4. Head-Tail: Stretch and curl head and tail (pelvis) together & apart, circle head & pelvis, wiggle spine. (Spine flexibility and neck strength)
    5. Upper-Lower: Move the whole upper body while stabilizing with lower body. Move lower-stabilize upper. (Articulate body halves and emotional grounding)
    6. Body-Side: Move right side fully while stabilizing left side. Move left–stabilize right. Track eyes right/left. (Articulate body sides and horizontal eye-tracking)
    7. Cross-Lateral: Move or connect opposite arm and leg, or cross mid-line of body in many different ways. Track eyes up/down. (Integrate brain hemispheres, vertical eye tracking)
    8. Vestibular: Swing, tip, rock, sway, and roll. Spin until dizzy (fifteen seconds), rest, and spin the other way. (Proprioception, balance)

    Other Interpretations of the BrainDance

    Enjoy the videos below! and have fun creating your own BrainDance for cello warm-ups! I might even post my own version on youtube soon... ;-)