Thursday, November 28, 2013

Trust-ATS® Style: An Essay By Wendy Allen of FCBD®

This essay is written and shared with permission by Wendy Allen of FatChanceBellyDance®.
It comes on the heels of a big blogpost by Carolena Nericcio about the differences in ATS® Classic, Modern and what she is calling Movement Dialect. You can read that Fireside Chat here.

Thank you Wendy for these wise words. They've already been implemented in my classes as part of teaching. Wendy is so wise in this dance. I am so glad to call her one of my teachers and I am excited for the day to get to dance with her again.

And now, her essay: Trust-ATS® Style

Trust: noun \ˈtrəst\

1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.

When we are all learning the moves of ATS®, we hang on to our teacher’s every move for dear life, because we don’t know what happens next. 

Guess what? That’s your dance career in improv. We talk about ATS® being a trust fall. It is. Forever and ever. And guess what? That includes trusting yourself. We often talk about not checking out during dancing. That is part of trust. Your partners are trusting you to not check out, and you, yes, YOU have to trust yourself not to check out. It’s your personal responsibility to stay present while dancing so you can execute changes when your leader initiates them. 

If you are a leader, you have to remember that you have a group of women who are trusting you to lead them through unfamiliar terrain, in a manner that makes ALL of you look good. 
We talk about ATS® being a trust fall. 

"A trust fall is a purported trust-building game often conducted as a group exercise in which a person deliberately allows themselves to fall, relying on the other members of the group (spotters) to catch the person.[1] There are many variants of the trust fall. For instance, in one type, the group stands in a circle, with one person in the middle with arms folded against his chest and falls in various directions, being pushed by the group back to a standing position before falling again.”

In ATS, that is the chorus, and the formation. It's the show. 

People want a formula. They want a way to not mess up. I get that. 

But in ATS, we give you the formula. The rest is up to you. And the grist is that you have to trust yourself. 

You have been given the moves, the cues, and the transitions. You learn them, you drill them, you learn how to dance in a formation with others. Part of the trust fall is in trusting your partners, and responding to them. The same way you would respond to a loud noise by flinching. (You do get to that point, believe me.) The other part of the trust fall is trusting yourself that you know the vocabulary and can just react when you see the cue or transition. 

Try just dancing with your group without clinging to a set of rules, yet stick to the ATS® moves. Jump off that cliff. If you do, I promise you will find a new level in this dance form you didn’t know was possible. You will find the flow.

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