Getting use to your own body after time off might take some patience. Thankfully we have the visual memory and muscle memory systems to help us return, but how else can we continue to improve technique in the present body?
“Technique” is thus understood as the skills experienced in practice and inscribed into one’s own world of understanding – Jenny Coogan, Practicing Dance: A Somatic Orientation.
Depending on what style of training and/or performance, it’s often through consistent practice that a technique or style becomes enhanced. This may mean that practice can create a fuller understanding and meaning to the work both physically and mentally. Therefore the goal with practice is to explore, especially the challenges.
Move the body as it is today, right now. When this happens there isn’t time to fixate on how we pliéd, jumped, or pointed our foot in the past. When returning to a technique, this is the time to move and listen well with the mind and body.
With having past experiences in a particular technique or style, it might be tempting to just go with the motions. How can we continue to generate new feeling and new meaning in our movements? Using imagination, small tasks and goals are very useful. Never allow the mind and the body to become unresponsive to feeling and challenges.
Ask questions amongst your teachers, peers, and colleagues. Also maintain an inner dialogue which can help with problem solving when learning or rehearsing something new (or old). This inner dialogue could also help with maintaining curiosity and a fresh outlook.
The process of practice and improving don’t really end. Therefore, it’s pertinent to enjoy the process. For some of us, this can be difficult as progression and improvement are hard to see with our own eyes. Think about what elements that you’ve enjoyed within a class, performance, research development, etc. Do more of that!