teacher Tai Jimenez believes heavily in the idea of abstract imagery in dance. Her Zen-focusedclasses help students comprehend their movement better. "Dance is about moving energy. It'smetaphysical and magical," Jimenez says. "It's not just about our bodies. It's about how we
develop 'dance thinking' and how we use it in our lives” (Sims 25).
“Dance thinking” means the
dancer is learning how to understand movement in ways that are perhaps new andempowering, thus feeding the studen
ts’ passion for dance and keeping them coming back formore. Franklin describes his first “ah
ha!” moment when he started to really comprehend thepower of using imagery in his dancing: “Through apparently metaphysical exercises I grew to be
more conscious of my body surface, of the effect of directing attention, and of the moment-to-moment change in the whole inn
er volume of my body” (Franklin xi). He goes on to explainthat his new special awareness “improved technique and movement quality” as well as
nitiating a “fuller body presence,” heightening his “expressive repertoire” (Franklin xi).
Teachers can promote this “dance thinking” by exploring possibilities themselves.
Summer LeeRhatigan, artistic director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and master teacher,shares insights that she has made in the past and continues to discover daily. She is described
as “a poetic intellectual” and elevates the students’ work “through her inventive imagery” (Sims24). Rhatigan’s main teaching tool is ima
and it works. Students flock to take a class fromher, just to get a taste of the possibilities within themselves. After a poorly performed
combination from her class, she comments, “All it means is that you don’t use your imagination
enough. It ca
n be part of your team” (Sims 24).
Sometimes all it takes for a concept to click in astudent
mind is for the teacher to explain it in a different way. Interestingly enough, oneimaginative metaphor can replace extensive explanations. Many dancers and teachers agree