A favorite Mantra of mine “be bones” stems from the comments of two great teachers I studied with who shared this basic idea with their classes. Maybe you’ve heard this concept mentioned before as well. It is helpful to think of yourself as a skeleton when you dance. When you think of yourself as only bones, you shed layers of concern about many things such as how you appear to others, your own criticisms of yourself, and the heavy weight of seriousness we often give to what we are doing. It’s easy to feel light and silly and to have fun with movement when everyone in the room is made equal by becoming a room full of dancing bones. And your bad-hair day or faded tights don’t matter if what you look at in the mirror is below the outer layers. Try it! This is so freeing. Although it’s fun to have a class full of dancers thinking this way, you can do it for yourself, in your own mind and it can work just as well. It feels silly in a good-way and its empowering because you soon realize how attention to your skeleton is a major key to mastering technique. Suddenly difficult things become simple and easy. You no longer have- to pick up a heavy muscle laden leg into develope, just rotate that thigh bone in the hip socket, shift the angle, and let the fleshy stuff fly up!
It’s a practical practice and simultaneously a metaphysical one. As dancers, we are playing with physics, and focusing on our bones just makes dealing with gravity easier. But we’re also thinking feeling beings who are shaping our reality by what we think and feel moment by moment. A commentary of self-criticism as we look at ourselves in the mirror creates the opposite of what most of us are seeking in dance. But a lighthearted, wise perspective that we are all ultimately the same, skeletons, finite beings sharing a universal experience of being on this planet helps to put your mind in a good space so you can achieve the dancing goals you’ve set for yourself while feeling happy and at ease.