Tracking is both a fundamental and a meta skill in dancing. The ability to sense/feel the complexity of what one’s body is doing is essential to becoming a compelling dancer – in other words, dancing trains one’s proprioception or awareness of where their body parts are in relation to each other as well as where their bodies are in space.
When I am dancing I am constantly tracking, and also constantly trying to track more – more sensations, more joints, more planes and axes – trying to be as aware as possible because I believe awareness is the pathway to artistry. How can I know what I’m “saying” if I don’t know what I’m doing?
This is one of the reasons I am drawn more and more to improvisation as a physical practice, especially as I get older. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good technique class and learning someone else’s choreography, but for me now, training has more to do with practicing awareness rather than practicing steps.
When improvising, I like working with scores; I appreciate some parameters for physical exploration. A score that I have been working with a lot recently came from choreographer Jeanine Durning (I’ll speak more about Jeanine and our current project together in a future post). The score is called, “I notice,” and it is exactly what it sounds like. As I am improvising, I am using the act of noticing what I am doing/moving to track my attention or more specifically, track my ability to attend to what I am noticing in my body.
It is practice for building endurance of focus and attention – reducing the moments of checking out or disengaging – for being, in fact, conscious. In the present moment.
This is what I practice.