Dance artist Heli Latola from Finland created dance tasks series "Natural Moving" and "Body Awareness" for us in Kuusamo. Heli is a graduate of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in Dance in London and she tells us her tasks series are inspired by experimental anatomy. The photos and videos were filmed by her family's holiday cabin nearby the city of Kuusamo in northern Finland. Kuusamo is known for its beautiful nature and is visited by thousands of tourists throughout the year. Dancing cards will be organizing a creative movement workshop with Heli in Kuusamo in 2019. 

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Natural moving - Imagine


This card is one of the eight cards that are called natural moving.
Start by finding a comfortable position. It can be sitting, standing, laying on the floor, whatever you feel comfortable being in. Then bring in to your mind things in your life, that you are ready to let go. Let these things come into something concrete around you and use the action of pushing to clear them away from your life. What I mean by concrete, is not necessarily a table or wall, it can also be an imaginary ball, that you can push away. Let the dance take its time, and when you feel the space around you is empty, slow down and find your way back to your comfortable position. It can also be a new place in the space.
Then bring in to your mind, things you want to have in your life. Create a picture of these things and use the action of pulling to bring those into you. There are no right or wrong ways of manifestation. You can let the movement grow and let the idea of pulling go if it feels good. 
End the practice by slowing down and taking a moment scanning your body and mind in the comfortable position. Notice, if something has changed. Remember it doesn't have to.

Photo and Task by Dance artist Heli Latola

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Natural moving - Reaching

This card is one of the eight cards that are called natural moving.
You can move with this card by dividing the practice into three parts, using two levels; ground and up, and then moving through the levels.

Start by laying on the floor on your back. Feel the center of your body, imagine strong solar plexus point where everything connects. From there start reaching with your limbs, your arms and legs, head and tailbone are all reaching to space. Warm up the body by reaching as far as you can with your fingertips and toes and as many directions as the body allows. 
Then try to reach your way to your stomach. Play with the movement on your stomach and then find your way back on your back or try moving in space.
Change the practice to the up level by standing on your two feet. Start the play in the same way as before, have a moment to feel your center and then find the connection to your extremities.
The third version of this practice is to find ways of moving from down to up and up to down.

Photo and Task by dance artist Heli Latola

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Natural moving-Pulling

 

This card is one of the eight cards called natural moving.
You can move with this card by dividing the practice into three parts, using two different levels; ground and up, and then moving through the levels.
Start by laying on the floor on your back or on your stomach and a reach with your limbs from the center of the body until the end of the fingertips/toes. Then grab to the floor and pull yourself towards it. Find different ways of pulling, using floor, walls and whatever you find from the space. 
The second practice is good to start by standing on your two feet. You can move by pulling things/air towards you or pulling you towards objects. 
The third part of the practice is to find ways to use pulling as an action to change levels in your moving.

Photo and Task by dance artist Heli Latola

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Natural moving - Yielding


This card is one of the eight cards that are called natural moving.
Start by laying on your back. Focus on breathing, in every exhale release a little bit more of your weight to the ground. When you feel comfortable, change your position and find a way to come one with the floor again. You can first stay as close to the floor as possible and little by little start challenge yourself by finding places to stop and yield higher and with less contact point with the floor. 

Task and Photo dance artist Heli Latola

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Natural moving, Pushing


This card is one of the eight cards that are called natural moving.
You can move with this card by dividing the practice into three parts, using two levels; ground and up, and then moving through the levels.
Start by laying on the floor on your back or on your stomach. Bring your limbs near the center and push yourself along the floor or up from the floor. Play around with different kinds of pushing, using the floor, walls, furniture, other people etc.
After a good while of practice on the ground, move up to your feet and do the same practice on the higher level. On the third part of the practice, change levels by pushing yourself up from the ground and back down from up.
Be aware of the differences between pushing, pulling and reaching. Move slowly, to feel what's happening.

Photo and Task by dance artist Heli Latola

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Natural moving - With a partner


This card is one of the eight cards that are called natural moving.
This practice needs two people, A and B.
First: yielding.
A will start eyes closed standing on two feet. B starts by giving pressure with hands to the person A, going around the whole body, pressing both feet, ankles, calves, thighs, hips, chest and back, shoulders, arms, hands, and head. Helping person A to yield, feel the ground. After the 'pressure wash' has been completed, B will give space for the A to explore this new feeling in the body. It can be a movement exploration or an inner search.
Second: Reaching.
Keep the roles as they are, A is A and B is B.
A will close their eyes again and stand on their feet. B starts to brush the body. Making long brushes from center to the end of the limbs. You can think about drawing or making visible the lines in the body. After B feels that the whole body has been treated with reaching brushes, give space for A to explore the new tracks in the body.
Third: Pulling.
A starts eyes closed, standing in the space. B starts by pulling A from different body parts. This pulling can take A to different positions or a different place in the space. B is the eyes for the A. A, however, decides how it wants to respond to the pull. After you feel you've done enough, give a moment for the A to calm down and feel the effects of the pulling, and to explore it on its own. A can finish their movement exploration to the position or place in the space they want.
Fourth: Pushing.
A starts eyes closed or eyes open, if they prefer so, in the position they were left from the last practice. B starts to give gentle pushes for A. B plays with the pressure they use and the different body parts they can use to push. A listens what kind of messages they are been given and let the body to respond. The length of the response that the push evokes can vary from one movement to a series of movements that travel through space.
All of the practices can be done eyes closed or eyes open. With the closed eyes, it might be easier to sense what's happening in the body and respond to the actual feeling rather than what you see, and expect to feel. But keep in mind that if the person A keeps their eyes closed, the person B acts as the eyes and takes care that no accidents can happen.

Photo and Task by Dance artist Heli Latola

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Body awareness - Body halves


This card is one of the three cards that are part of the body awareness.
Body halves are left side and right side of the body.
With this card, the task is to play with right and left sides. You can try to move one side at the time. Having balance on one side, while the other is moving. You can also play with imagining right arm and leg doing the same movement.
Try walking, crawling and moving with hands and knees one side at the time on one block.


Photo and Task by Dance artist Heli Latola

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Body awareness - Upper body- Lower body


This card is one of the three cards that are part of the Body awareness.
The task is to explore the connection between the upper body and the lower body. The line is in the middle, where the navel is.
With this card, it can be nice to use the card Pouring water for further exploration. Imagine your body as a water tank which is half full. You can decide where the water is, which part of the body is heavy and grounded while the other part is empty and light. Play with pouring the water from upper to lower and lower to upper part of the body.

Photo and Task by Dance artist Heli Latola

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Body awareness - Crossbody

 

This card is one of the three cards that are part of the body awareness.
Crossbody means a connection that travels across the body, from left leg to right hand and from right leg to left hand.
The task is to explore the crossbody connection. Start by moving slowly and see how in your moving you use this connection. 
Nice way to play with this connection is to imagine pole from your left arm to right leg and keep that very still while the other leg and arm can move freely.
Crossbody connection is visible in many everyday actions like walking and crawling, moving on hands and knees.

Photo and Task by Dance artist Heli Latola