The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 4:20 am 

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Ania, I would have to agree that if stayed in the frame, the muscles will stiff.

Miriam, Frame can be good and it can be bad and being able to relax and then collect and then relax is important, I agree with that.

But it's still important to see what balance is and not confuse this with collection. And then knowing what collection really is. Which I don't think it has really been answered.

It's great that there isn't force, just encouragement.

Donald, is right, if we don't understand how the muscles affect our horses then how are we to know whether or not we are harming them, or helping them?

I have done a lot of massaging on my mom's horses and they are improving. They have shown me step by step how to help them feel better. So guess what? I am now studying to become a massage therapist.

This can be good or maybe it's bad. I have questioned so much and I know I have drivin so many people crazy, because I'm questioning.

You're probably all thinking "Oh no!!"


Thanks for the encouragement to learn and study more.

April

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:04 am 
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April wrote:
I have questioned so much and I know I have drivin so many people crazy, because I'm questioning.

You're probably all thinking "Oh no!!"


I can only speak for myself, but I like it very much when someone is asking questions. It´s nothing that would ever annoy me. The problem I have with some of your posts in this discussion and elsewhere is the tone, the judgement of what other people are doing that seems to shine through.

Yes, this is a forum for discussing things and a part of discussing is also disagreeing with certain aspects. But please be careful now and then about the way you deliver your message. If I was the girl in the Piaffe video for example and I would come here and read that it made someone (who doesn´t know me at all) sad what my horse and me are trying together, my feelings would surely be hurt. By the way, I also would feel uncomfortable if someone took over a discussion and told me not to move off topic because he wanted to talk about something and because he needs to understand.

You have stated many times that you don´t mean to sound this way and I truly believe this. But this is the way it comes along for me and in this case I don´t think that it´s just my fault because I am simply a bit hypersensitive... ;)

So please keep on asking and discussing, but please remember that that´s what it should be: a forum to learn and to discuss, not to judge. So many people here love the friendly atmosphere of this forum and it would be such a pity if we lost that and someone had to think twice if he will post a video or write a post because of the comments he might get.


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 12:28 pm 
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April wrote:
Miriam, Frame can be good and it can be bad and being able to relax and then collect and then relax is important, I agree with that.

But it's still important to see what balance is and not confuse this with collection. And then knowing what collection really is. Which I don't think it has really been answered.
(...)
Donald, is right, if we don't understand how the muscles affect our horses then how are we to know whether or not we are harming them, or helping them?


I can only say that I'm not here to convince you of my definition of collection, or to tell you that that's the only right one. I can only give you my own, personal definition (in progress), just like everybody else can give you only his/hers.

However, I think I have given my definition of what collection several times now in this topic, so I'm a bit surprised to read that apparently I (or anyone else) haven't answered that question yet.

I understand that you don't agree with my or other members' definitions, and that's fine and can also be very insightful for my own ideas - but please accept the fact that a lot of people already have devoted a lot of time to writing their definition of collection down in this topic. Reading that still nobody has answered your questions, will be kind of frustrating for all who did give their best shot and penned down their own answers.

You might not agree with these visions, but you have received the answers you asked for. Read ten books of classical dressage trainers of you own picking, and you will receive ten different ideas on collection and how to reach that. You can shred every book that has an item that you disagree with, but you can also accept that everything is an opinion, and be grateful for the few insights that you can take from that opinion and add to your own ideas.

A similar thing goes for continuously confronting our personal opinions with the writings of other trainers who say the opposite. How should we reply to that? They are different people with different learning paths and histories in training, so of course they have different ideas. That's a fact that we all agree on, so why dwell on that? If I write my ideas down, and you reply with 'But Mr. B says this instead' - well, what can I say? I already have given my ideas and arguments for those ideas, and indeed, apparently he has his own. What should I say to that, other than that I think his opinion is interesting too and apparently has worked for him, but that the arguments that I have already given to support my own opinion don't seem to agree with his?

The same thing really applies to generalisations, like if we don't know the muscles of the horse, we can't say anything about collection. That of course is true - but it seems to imply that nobody here knows about that and therefore doesn't know about collection either. The same goes for judging the work of others: saying that a horse is badly collected and is moving very bad, is not very realistic or helpful. What could help, is giving your ideas on how you would improve the situation. That can inspire people, help them improve themselves and help them understand your vision. Just writing 'what you are doing is wrong' doesn't. I know that you don't mean to sound cross or negative, but (unconsciously) stating your opinions as facts and just focussing on what you disagree with in other peoples messages/movies/pics doesn't really convince that you accept the fact that we all just have interpretations to go with, and that all we can do is learn from each others more interesting ideas/discoveries.






Some general outlines for discussing this (and other) topic:
- Realise that the only thing any trainer can give to you about a topic, be it here or somewhere else, is an opinion based on the facts/experience that are available to him/her. The same goes for you, and that keeps things into perspective.
- You already can be grateful for the fact that people take the effort to share with you their vision, whatever it is.
- If you don't agree, writing that 'but that's not collection, but balance' isn't helpful, as it denies the fact that yours is 'just' an opinion too and seems to imply that your vision overrules that of others. And with that, it overrules the entire thought on which this forum was built: that we acknowledge that there is no black or white, but may roads, ways and interpretations and that our only goal is to pick the one that suits us best.
- There's a difference between not understanding and disagreeing. If you disagree, you'll sound negative and argumentative. If you just don't understand, you can keep a positively interested attitude because you are willing to learn. Writing in a positive, inquiring way (not 'but, but, but', but ;) instead 'Interesting, and how do you feel about X?') shows people that you really are trying to learn from them with the best intentions - and that opens you up to the best way to learn too!

Just to be clear, I'm not perfect (will I ever be? :roll: ), but I don't mind that you have another opinion on collection. Quite the opposite, I think it's very interesting and would love to know how your encorporate your vision on collection in your own training, what you do and what you don't!
So if you're really interested in our ideas on collection, maybe it would help to just pen down your ideas and how you actively incorporate them in your training sessions. Then maybe we can ask you questions about why you think that way, offer you advice from our own ideas, and all benefit from it!


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 1:35 pm 

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This is difinitely a two way lesson. Because it's hard not to add feelings when someone is challenging your views and questioning what collection and balance is.

What your collection is, is what I'm questioning still...and yes we can go round and round with this.

I've read the books that you and others have brought up on this forum and when I bring there names into the discussion, it's ignored, so I'm not sure why we look back at the master riders? It is very confusing. Supposedly, these are our helpers, but this time without the bridle.

This is and was a hot topic, but I think talking it out is a must and sometimes feelings get in the way, but this is human nature especially when someone is challenging.

Many of my posts didn't have the feelings that many concieved, so I and we need to be careful that we don't add feelings that may or may not be there. Emails are very difficult without a person's tone of voice.

I've tried adding smilies and such to show that my tone wasn't mean, but just stating, but that didn't help either, so I've given up using them.

April

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April


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Quote:
I've tried adding smilies and such to show that my tone wasn't mean, but just stating,


I guess that that's part of the problem: a statement is something different than an opinion. You can't soften a statement like 'you're wrong'(or 'Mr. X writes over here that you're wrong'') with a smiley, because that indeed is pointless.

It really helps if you tell both you and the rest of the world that what you write just is your opinion too, like: 'This is completely different from what I know, and it's hard to puzzle it together with my own experiences, but I'd really like to hear more about your ideas! :) '

Writing in statements will eventually close every discussion down, because there just is no room for learning on the part of the writer. Writing from your own experiences opens the way to communication, as it invites others to share their experiences too.


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 1:50 pm 
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If I may just intervene somewhat from the sideline here :)

You know April, I think I was you several years ago.
I know how frustrating this is also :)

If it were a tennis forum, would there be the same discussions, or would people simply say:
'You need to get out on the court and tennis... we can explain in theory, but we can not teach you practise.... that, you will have to find out yourself, by practising...'.

All I am saying is, the answers you so desperatly seek, you probably will not find in books or here in the forum even. (Or I did not... the books only made sense after I found out the practise...)

You will find your answers (or I did) by being with, training with and looking at... horses.

To know...;
Feel, be, live... instead of read, think, discuss...

just a tad more, or so I have come to understand thankfully ;)

Warm regards,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 2:14 pm 
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April wrote:
What your collection is, is what I'm questioning still...and yes we can go round and round with this.


I'm sorry, but I can't write it all over again. 8) I just skipped back three pages in this topic, and what I wrote on page 4 (long text) and page 6 (also long text) really says everything that I can think of regarding my ideas on collection. In veeeeeery short: ;)

I don't believe that collection is mainly about lightening of the front or shifting the weight to the back. I've just seen too much biomechanical research and just observatins of horses that state the opposite. Instead, I feel that collection is a way for the horse to add more upwards momentum to the movement in a healthy way: by using all his main muscles in all the legs, neck and trunk as giant spring that can cushion the downwards pointing bodyweight in a landing phase. So that also is the difference between a collected (healthy upwards) moving horse, and a stiff (unhealhty upwards) moving horse.

For me, balance is a phase that comes before collection: the balanced horse is moving freely forwards in an economical, healthy way (not crooked or tense, most of the time with a low or horizontal neck). When a horse starts to add more upwards (uneconomical) energy to that balanced movement, he is starting to work on collection. A horse can be more and less collected, there are more and less collected exercises and yuo can perform exercises in a more and less collected way: you can use the shoulder-in to loosen the horse towards a better balanced posture, but also to collect him more.

In my experience horses learn to collect from balance through various states of 'akwardness'. 8) They start to add one element of collection to their movement (for example a more upwards spring), but at the same time loose another part of their balance (for example by hollowing the back and neck). I don't see that as wrong. It's a fase in the learning process, and that learning process as every clickertrainer knows proceeds in millimeters of improvement at a time. Those aren't millimeters of overall improvement either, but instead two steps forwards on one plane, while one step back on the other. For me, to 'collect' is a verb: a horse can be collecting his trot out of a balance trot, without it being the perfect collected trot.

The basis of training collection for me is alternating between balanced movements (forwards-downwards, relaxation) and now and then adding a question for a bit more collection, see what happens, which element of the movement improves, and then go back to a balanced postuer again to show the right way of holding the rest of his body too. The funny thing is that this balance-default posture over time becomes more and more collected too, because the horse learns to relax more and more in a certain state of collection too.

That's an exerpt of what I have written the last ix pages on my thoughts on collection. ;) I hope that this is more clear?


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 5:21 pm 
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April wrote:
Quote:
But it's still important to see what balance is and not confuse this with collection. And then knowing what collection really is. Which I don't think it has really been answered.


First, April, please know that we love you! Your questions make everyone think hard.

I can say that in my opinion, teaching balance is actually more important than teaching collection. Why? Because in the spirit of AND, we strive only for what is good and healthy for an individual horse. All horses requirements and abilities will be different. For this reason alone, I think it may be almost impossible to have one, single definition of what collection is. The variables are too numerous. If you want to ask the question, then I would narrow it down even farther.

What is collection in relation to Haute Ecole with an Iberian horse?
or,

What is collection in relation to cattle work with a Quarter Horse?
or,

What is collection in relation to modern dressage with a Hanovarian?

I really think the question itself is too vast. Others will disagree. But in all the books you've read, you will note that for most of the "masters" and for most of the modern trainers we trust or admire, they are speaking specifically about a particular sport (or discipline) and the preferred breeds (or preferred conformation) for that discipline is really quite narrow.

Within AND we get to experience, vicariously, through discussions, diaries and videos of it's forum members a virtual melting pot of possible horse breeds...of all ages, all conformations and such a vast array of potential ability as to be mind boggling! The focus here, of course is the gymnastic exercises passed down through the classical masters and into modern teaching, that benefit the physical and mental health of the horse. How far anyone gets "collected" is again, so varied that it is hard to comprehend. But if nothing else, these gymnastic exercises help teach ANY horse, to come into balance. Balance is the key and balance is the goal. Balance, again, encompasses not just the physical nature of the horse, but the mental nature as well. A balanced horse is straight, calm and carrying itself. NOT balanced on reins or on the hands of a rider. I feel (and I could be wrong, because, well, I have a history of being wrong) that balance is balance, regardless of breed, ability, or the experience of the trainer. Balance means that a horse is ready for collection.

Collection is a shortening of the stride without loss of balance. That shortening of the stride IN BALANCE can lead to passage for a dressage horse, or it can lead to a clean, tight turn for a reiner working a cow. I think the confusion comes in when people start thinking about frame and how far under EXACTLY the hind legs must come, and where the head should be and blah, blah, blah :lol:

The collection or extension of the gaits in dressage comes with the caveat that the tempo and rhythm should not change. This requires the horse to learn SUSPENSION. Without suspension within the gaits, then the collected strides would slow the horse down, and the extended gaits would speed the horse up. You see this in western style riding. Extended gaits should be low and very fast. The horse extends it's entire body.

Watch a reining pattern. The extended strides require a more lengthened frame, and they are FAST. The collected strides are very slow. So if you wish to encompass all horses and all disciplines, then all you can say about collection is that it is a shortened stride within a gait. Period. The extras (suspension, bending or lowering the haunches - poll high, head low, what plane the face is on, etc) are discipline-specific and must be defined separately based on what activity you're talking about.

But not everyone wants or needs to shoot for collecting the gaits. If someone stops at balance alone, they still have achieved a wonderful, healthy and beneficial physical and mental state for their horses. Regardless what breed they have, or what the comformation of the horse is, or what activities they enjoy doing.

My caveat - all the above is an opinion! :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 6:46 pm 
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Oh, this is a fascinating conversation!

Here's my 2 cents (may be worth less, I don't know!) :-)

For me, collection is (as others have suggested here), an energetic arranging of the body that translates into a certain quality of movement -- one that is extremely balanced, pulling the center of gravity inward (often upward, but I don't think only) so the body can move in any direction with power, suspension, and lightness. I think it's like a rubber band, as tension (for want of a better word -- relaxed tension?), extending out and coiling in, with a strong sense of that centered balance coming from the core of the body.

I think the position of the body comes from this energy, and that we train for position to help find the energy, if that makes sense! I think it's why the "frame" is so seductive -- by putting the horse into that position, we think collection with follow, but it doesn't automatically. But the position (or positions) can help the horse find a way to find collection and balance. So it's a dance between the two all the time, I think.

Speaking of dance, I'm going to throw a spanner in the works here and turn left and use the human body to illustrate my point. In a former life, I was a professional dancer, and it really struck me when Josepha mentioned somewhere (sorry, I'm not remembering where -- posts are blurring in my head because I've been reading so many!) that in her perception, it happens in many instances, even with people, and used dancers as an example. This made so much sense to me!!!

So I thought it might be interesting to look at human dancers to think about equine dancers.

First, I wanted to share a concept from ballet: ballon.

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Ballon refers to the ability of a ballet dancer to appear to hold a position in the air. It may be named after the French dancer Claude Balon, however it may also come from the French word ballon, meaning "balloon". It also refers to the quality of jumps/leaps or allegro steps that appear to have a soft but sustained rebound from/to the floor or stage, for example, a series of balotte saute. A dancer with good natural ballon usually has great natural spring and long achilles tendons.

To perform the more demanding routines, a ballet dancer appears to defy the laws of physics. Basic physics and understanding of human perception provide insight into this. A high level of physical fitness is required.

For example, during the grand jeté, the dancer may appear to hover. Physically, his/her center of mass describes a parabola, as does any projectile. Observors have limited ability to reckon center of mass when a projectile changes its configuration in flight. To do this the dancer extends their arms and legs, which camouflages the fall and leads the audience to perceive the dancer is floating.[1][2][3]

…The landing must be performed carefully, the dancer bends at the knees (plies) and rolls the foot from toe to heel.


For me, this sense of ballon is the equivalent of the suspension a horse finds in true collection and extension, rather than a specific head set or angle of hips or alignment of the body. The deep bend of the knees in piaffe or passage is to me the equivalent of the dancer's plie, building the spring.

One of the greatest dancers of our era, and exhibitors of ballon is Mikhail Baryshnikov. Although only about 5'7" or 5'8", he could, at the height of his career, jump six feet in the air. Think about that! He could jump higher than he was tall!

This is a clip from the movie White Nights, of him dancing to a piece called "Fastidious Horses" (:-)). Here he's dancing with extreme collection, and a great deal of tension/drama -- he's sharing his despair over what it felt like to be trapped in Russia and what he perceived as the tightness of classical ballet and being an artist there, and his desperation to find the freedom of expression his character sought by defecting. (So, this is not a relaxed collection, but it's an amazing visual of what extreme collection can do, to my eyes).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--LbFRO8SQQ

Here's a clip from a Twyla Tharp piece, that is much more relaxed and lyrical. You can see him move from a very loose sense of collection (very typical of Tharp's modern choreography), and then watch him pull it together as he begins to move farther into the piece. And, I think there are great examples here of what Donald has been exploring about the extension into the jump of horses -- I think he does the same thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ztnyex0XSg&NR=1

(I also think this is interesting because the quality of his movement is so different from the ballerina he's dancing with -- he looks to my eye like a Spanish horse or Lipizzan, compact and springy, and she looks like a Thoroughbred or Arab, much lighter.)

And here's another clip from White Nights, where he's dancing with Gregory Hines. I think this is intriguing because they're dancing in unison and are both fine dancers who come from very different training traditions (Hines was a tap dancer) and do the same movement so differently. They are both collected, but Baryshnikov is more so -- Hines is looser, his center smaller and lower to the ground -- I'm thinking that there's a parallel here between dressage horses and western horses. :-) Also, watch the very beginning as they begin to walk into the dance -- they do it twice, and you can see them pull themselves into collection twice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haBZCrBH ... re=related

And here's a short clip of him teaching a master class in Cuba to a group of young male ballet dancers. I think this is really interesting for a couple of reasons. First, most of the time he's standing, watching, not in any collection. Then he'll react to their lack of collection by flinging himself around, and then demonstrates what he's looking for and pulls himself into collection. You catch a couple of glimpses of the young dancers, who are working to find dance's version of true collection, but you can see the difference in the quality of movement. When Baryshnikov does the movement, it seems to emanate, effortlessly, from his core. When they do it, they're far more concerned with pulling their bodies up into an artificial posture (a dancer's version of a "frame"). He's trying to push them past this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgzRQg6k ... re=related

I'm sure that Donald could do this same process with martial artists!

Lastly, here's an article on imagery and the kinetics of jumping for dancers from a book by Eric Franklin. I think there are links here for both how we can imagine collection in our horses and the biomechanics involved. There are interesting ideas about muscle types, alignment, and the release of tension:

http://www.humankinetics.com/products/s ... pt_id=3539

So, I guess I've not done anything to specify the minute "what's" of a horse's collection, but I hope this is interesting/helpful! The way my brain works, when I'm having trouble landing on something directly, it can help to look elsewhere to explore the idea as a metaphor from the outside in. And I don't think it's accidental that we refer to horses as "dancing" when they are moving in collection! :-)

All the best,
Leigh


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 7:03 pm 
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But a wonderful opinion... :D :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 7:35 pm 
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Leigh, I salute you!

And I love the courbettes and levades of Baryshnikov :)

You can also witness collection with a cat when he or she jumps from total stand still, or starts running crazy out of a clear blue sky as cats tend to do.

To me:
Collection is a state of mind and body that offers you to perform the highest standard of movement that is possible for you at that particular time.

I do not believe in 'collected going horses'
Every horses collects to some degree a few paces here and there, free and under saddle if anywhere possible with a human on his back.

And believe me, it will happen so much faster and easyer if the human can collect himself...

The whole training concept of AND and of masters as Xenophon and De Pluvinel is set on helping horses to achieve the balance, flexibility, strenght and mind set to enable collection under the rider.

And there it is! it's magic and it did not seem to take any efford.
(Wax goes on, wax goes off)

De Pluvinel has not written a book about how collection look likes, or how to achieve it.

He has written a book how to train horses to become dancers, artists. bodybuilders.
The masterpieces they produce is collection. :)

Don't linger on what collection looks like... linger on what collection feels like!

Feel it in your belly, in your breath, in your spirit.

I do not believe in collecting your horse, I believe in collecting with your horse.

:)

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 7:46 pm 
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Wow Leigh, so interesting!!! :D

Your comparison with ballet has really put my mind to work! I think that the descripton of the 'floating in the air' is very interesting, as horses have that too in passage and in the haute ecole jumps. It seems like they just hang in the air for a second without movement.

I'm really going to think hard about all this new information - and watch the movies!


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 9:27 pm 
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Josepha wrote:

To me:
Collection is a state of mind and body that offers you to perform the highest standard of movement that is possible for you at that particular time.

I do not believe in 'collected going horses'
Every horses collects to some degree a few paces here and there, free and under saddle if anywhere possible with a human on his back.

And believe me, it will happen so much faster and easyer if the human can collect himself...

The whole training concept of AND and of masters as Xenophon and De Pluvinel is set on helping horses to achieve the balance, flexibility, strenght and mind set to enable collection under the rider.

And there it is! it's magic and it did not seem to take any efford.
(Wax goes on, wax goes off)

De Pluvinel has not written a book about how collection look likes, or how to achieve it.

He has written a book how to train horses to become dancers, artists. bodybuilders.
The masterpieces they produce is collection. :)

Don't linger on what collection looks like... linger on what collection feels like!

Feel it in your belly, in your breath, in your spirit.

I do not believe in collecting your horse, I believe in collecting with your horse.

:)


Oh, beautifully said, Josepha!

I often forget (but am trying to get better at remembering!) :-) that dressage means "training" and isn't the end but a means.

I just looked up the etymology of dressage, and the source that I found said that in the 13th Century "dresser" was the French for "to arrange, to prepare."

It's like the exercises that Baryshnikov does at the ballet barre, the plies, the tendus, etc. to gain the strength, flexibility and balance to actually dance. So we work ramener, the shoulder in, the lateral movements, etc., to build the equine dancer's strength, flexibility, and balance to actually dance.

Maybe this is part of what I've been subconsciously resisting about watching competition dressage at this point -- it feels like it is a series of highly trained dancers doing training exercises, rather than watching them dance. (Like a trained musician who can hit all of the notes but somehow it never becomes music because they're so fixated on technique -- there can be technical brilliance with no soul. I work with harp students on that all the time when I'm teaching, as they get so caught up in the minutiae of what is "correct" -- if it's not fluid and flowing and they're not trying to communicate something, it isn't music. OH, NO! Now she's babbling about yet another art form and has introduced the word "soul" into the conversation....whack, whack, whack!) :shock: :lol:

It hadn't occurred to me before, but I think that's part of what I don't like about it: the technique becomes the end rather than the means.

(And I agree, Josepha, that we humans need to work on our collection, too -- I'm finding myself realizing more and more that I need to be taking dance classes, or yoga, or pilates to strengthen my core more so I can be dancing, as well! My technique and my level of fitness as a dancer are nowhere where they once were...)

Ooh, ooh, just had another thought!

Another fave dance movie is Strictly Ballroom -- and my absolutely favorite scene is when the young hero, Scott, ends up at (the beginner, who is worthy of no respect ) Francesca's house. Her father is a flamenco dancer (played by Antonio Vargas, who is to the flamenco world what Baryshnikov is to ballet/modern dance, I think -- and built the same way, interestingly enough). This young, brash guy, who's got the guts to want to really DANCE also thinks it's all about flash and big movement. Vargas shows him the Paso Doble and is SO contained and collected, so powerful, so on fire from within that it takes this kid out. And then grandma, who is older and not, shall we say, swan like, begins to dance as well -- and even though she is not a young gazelle, she also has the presence and the fire and is mesmerizing to watch. They are artists, dancers. So, while being young and supple can be a part of the process, it isn't where the artistry lies.

I SO need to read de Pluvinel! Thanks for the gentle push, Josepha...

:-)

Best,
Leigh


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 1:20 pm
Posts: 760
Location: Poland
Thanks for the dancing metaphors! :)

Leigh wrote:
When Baryshnikov does the movement, it seems to emanate, effortlessly, from his core. When they do it, they're far more concerned with pulling their bodies up into an artificial posture (a dancer's version of a "frame"). He's trying to push them past this.


I guess that this is what we're trying to do with horses, most of the time... you know, once I had a thought, to ask a dancer to play with my horse. A particular person, who is a leader of one alternative theatre, very famous here. They are living in a small village at the end of the world (at least of the Polish world :P ) and there they are trying to find the real theatre in them, very mysterious ;) they are very expressive and spiritual. And sometimes they are visibly amateurs, comparing to the actors from academies, but there is one from the experienced group, whom I would like to ask to have a conversation with Avra 8) but I was too shy! Maybe next time. If it happens, I'll try to have a camera because surely it will be very interesting 8) once they even had a horse in one of their plays, but it didn't have any big role obviously :lol:

Leigh wrote:
Vargas shows him the Paso Doble and is SO contained and collected, so powerful, so on fire from within that it takes this kid out. And then grandma, who is older and not, shall we say, swan like, begins to dance as well -- and even though she is not a young gazelle, she also has the presence and the fire and is mesmerizing to watch.


And that's how our horses will be when they get old! :D

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:43 pm
Posts: 598
Location: UK
I love reading all of this, and I do realise I am nowhere near as advanced with horses as alot of you here are, but, I love the comparisons between collection and dance.
Today I took Jason for a long walk in the woods, when he see's other horses he always goes into this wonderful collected dance, his tail comes up, his neck arches, his head goes down, and as he trots on air it's as if he misses a beat as he rides on air. When we saw horses way ahead of us he started his lovely dance, and I joined in with him, it's as if we have string attached to the top us as you can feel the energy pulling you up with your horse, and the lighter and higher I make my movements, so he does with me, we truly dance along the path together, I just hope the riders ahead of us admired this as much as I did.
I have no idea how I would achieve this in ridden work, but I adore it on foot together with my boy.

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