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I was taught a variation of Port De Bras by ballet teacher Janet Panetta and then re-taught what I had just learned from my understanding of it as a somatic movement teacher – in this case then I was drawing in particular on my training as a Feldenkrais teacher and my experience of Ideokinesis – I should add that I had never taken a ballet class before

 
1.          a) in standing, with the feet turned out comfortably, cross the right foot in front of the left foot maintaing the comfortable turn-out
 
         b) begin to shift the weight back and forth so that a little more weight is on the front foot and then a little more weight on the back foot – both feet maintaining full contact with the floor
 
         c) while shifting the weight as described above, bringing the attention to the vertebrae around the top of the chest/base of the neck – noticing their trajectory though space – slightly forwards and backwards, a little from side to side
 
         d) continuing to shift the weight like this, noticing how the whole spine curves a little to one side and then to the other below these vertebrae around the top of the chest/base of the neck
 
         e) continuing to shift the weight like this, noticing how the head and neck begins to incline in the opposite direction to the rest of the spine – as the weight comes more onto the right foot in front then the left side of the spine and chest elongates and the head inclines to the right – as the weight comes more onto the left foot behind then the right side of the spine and chest elongates and the head inclines to the left
 
         f) sensing the moving support of the whole skeleton from the feet right up the spine, sensing how this support arrives at the vertebrae around the top of the chest/base of the neck – beginning to actively incline the head a little in the direction it already wants to go
 
2.          a) in standing, allowing the arms to hang at the sides – scanning along the arms and the sides of the torso – noticing the space between the arms and the torso on either side
 
         b) beginning to allow that space to expand a little, carrying the arms upwards and outwards as it does, then returning to the resting position – starting with a very small movement, each time allowing the arms to be carried a little further
 
         the image is that the arms remain at rest and it is the space expanding between the arms and the torso that carries the arms up and out to the side – it is as if the space itself, not us, that is moving the arms and we are just allowing it to happen
 
         c) without hurrying, and noticing the sensation in the whole self while doing so, eventually allowing the arms to be carried out to the sides so the hands arrive a little below shoulder level
 
3.         a) as the hands arrive just below shoulder level moving them forwards as if to reach around and embrace the trunk of a large moss-covered tree
 
         b) allowing the roundness of the tree to shape the arms – including in the image of an embrace the front of the chest moulding itself around the tree to unify the chest and the arms – including also an awareness of the circumference of the tree trunk around which the arms can't reach
 
         c) focusing on the imagined sensation of moss on the bark of the tree softly pressing against the skin of the the inner arms and chest – using this to modulate the tone of the arms – firm enough to hold the embrace, relaxed enough not to deform or displace the moss
 
writing this now, then I have to confess that I am still to take a complete ballet class and I have difficulty remembering exactly how the movements described above fit together – I hope though that from these partial notes then those that do know could nonetheless make use of them – for me personally then this re-teaching process gave me a valuable insight into how I analyse and learn, verbalise and teach movement

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