In this section, MOVEMENT NEWS publishes new articles that can be of interest to the general audience and the Movement Studies community, and brings back others from previous editions of the LIMS MN Magazine. New articles are reviewed by the LIMS' Editorial Committee. If you would like to be be featured, please send your article to Movement News Editor Regina Miranda at email@example.com
We hope that the ARTICLES section's collection will give you an insight into the rich world of
Laban & Bartenieff Movement Studies.
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CONVERSATIONS WITH ELLIOT D. CHAPPLE
By Dr. Martha Davis, CMA
In the mid-80’s when I was on the faculty of the Performance Studies department at NYU’s Tisch School, I was invited to contribute an article to TDR: The Drama Review edited by Richard Schechner. I proposed to write an article together with Eliot D. Chapple that was ultimately accepted for publication and entitled “Movement and Performance.” There were many reasons I wanted to work with Eliot Chapple that would be hard to discern from the off prints and correspondence included in the archive folder, so I’m adding a note to help make sense of them.
Eliot D. Chapple was one of the foremost American anthropologists of the 20th century. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology at Harvard in 1933 and while he did some major studies of U.S. social systems, he devoted most of his research to face-to-face interaction patterns. While working at Harvard he broke down a wall and made a one-way screen to observe people talking to each other. At the time this was so new it was considered a violation of privacy (even though the pairs volunteered to be participants in the research). Chapple wanted to study how people interact in face-to-face conversations, and with Conrad Arensberg, he hit upon a way of observing and measuring interaction that would cut across different languages and be applicable to different types of encounters. It was an incredibly simple aspect of behavior that — when recorded in exquisite detail to the microsecond — revealed a wide range of fascinating and important patterns. Chapple and Arensberg reasoned that all interactions -- conversation, business transactions, rituals, artistic performance — share variations in time and pacing, and there are moments of action or increase in movement and moments of relative inactivity no matter what the context. In conversation this is obvious in the turn-taking pattern: one person speaks, the other listens. However, Chapple and Arensberg did not measure this as the onset or stopping of audible speech because they saw that people typically move or become more active before (and sometimes) after they “take the floor.” Their measure was “going into action” vs becoming relatively inactive. Making vocal sounds and being silent was just part of the action of conversing. They found that individuals had preferred levels or durations of action vs inaction. They were also interested in the oscillation and coordination of each person’s activity/inactivity in terms of duration, delay, interruption and synchrony.
In this simple example, A takes the floor for longer stretches than B and there are pauses (mutual silence and inactivity) before B takes the floor. A interrupts B at first, but on the last turn takes the floor exactly at the point B yields the floor. For Chapple, a perfect meshing of the turn-taking is an example of “action synchrony” (i.e., not changing the direction of their movements exactly together — a more common notion of synchrony — but precisely alternating actions without delay or interruption.)
Chapple writes in a complex way about culture and biological rhythms, and he was 20 years ahead of his time in electronic recording and computer assessment of micro-behavioral signs of temperament and interaction. Of course, the study of individual differences in activity level was not original to him. In the 30’s developmental psychologists were discovering how very young babies displayed preferred activity levels, and years later Kestenberg would elaborately assess these preferences in Laban-related ways. But Chapple had a very promising way to identify an individual’s preferred activity patterns and levels, one that also measured how a person’s activity rhythms could mesh or clash with another’s in various ways. With the same terms and measures, he was working precisely at the interface between individual temperament and face-to-face interaction patterns.
For the first 20 years of my research in nonverbal communication, I immersed myself in the literature through two annotated bibliographies and my doctoral work, studying key researchers, what they were attending to in movement and what they were discovering. Chapple was a pioneer with enormous experience. He became the keynote speaker at the first conference of the Institute for Nonverbal Communication Research that I directed from 1978 - 1982 and I visited him at his lab in Rockland Hospital before he retired. We developed a correspondence and he attended a conference at NYU Performance Studies with me that focussed on nonverbal behavior. So with the invitation to contribute to TDR, I was glad for the opportunity to work write with him and it was an intense and very interesting project.
Some of our discussions are included in this archive folder. Reading it today I fear it may be all but unintelligible. One way to think of it is that both of us happened to be doing research on the interface between individual movement preferences and interpersonal relationships. On the audiotape that is partly transcribed, I am struggling to explain that in my experience you could spend days studying one person in an interview to identify that individual’s movement style because in movement (with benefit of Laban Analysis) there are so many dimensions to see. (I would later systematize this into what I called Movement Signature Analysis). However, if in a video of two people talking, you shifted your focus on one individual and observed the patterns of synchrony, echoing, position matching, etc., that occur between them, then no matter how good a picture you had of the individual, you could not predict how the two would “get it together.” Put another way, there might be patterns of interaction that one could not predict from an individual profile. In our conversation on the tape and transcript, we are coming from very different backgrounds -- one with an elegant, pared down observation method and the other with training in very complex observations of movement. It may be hard to see how we got from such diverse points to a coherent monograph, but I like to think we succeeded, however “heavy” some of the text of “Movement and Performance” can be.
“Box 2” of this collection also includes Chapple's book: Biological Foundations of Individuality and Culture. I have an interview of Chapple in 1992 originally filmed on super-8 that I hope to transfer to DVD. In this interview I am urging him describe his work in less complex and more accessible ways than are presented in his writings. His work remains to this day unparalleled, but I was very aware at the time that researchers were beginning to forget his contributions, even some who were studying rhythms of dialogue.
Chapple died in 2001.
 Later, as Chair of Columbia’s Anthropology Department, Conrad Arnsberg would work with Alan Lomax and Irmgard Bartenieff on the Choreometrics Project.
EMOTION REGULATION THROUGH MOVEMENT
Unique Sets of Movement Characteristics are Associated with and Enhance Basic Emotions
Written by Tal Shafir(1, 2), CMA Rachelle Tsachor(3), and Kathleen B. Welsch(4), and published in Frontiers in Psychology on January of 2016, this excellent research is a MUST READ for everyone in the Laban Movement Studies field. You can find it at http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02030/full
1 The Graduate School of Creative Arts Therapies,Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences,University of Haifa,Haifa, Israel, 2 The Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,MI,USA,
3 Department of Theatre,School of Theatre and Music, University of Illinois at Chicago,Chicago,IL,USA,
4 Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,MI,USA
ABOUT IRMGARD BARTENIEFF (From MN 2010)
by Angela Loureiro, CMA
Irmgard Bartenieff developed the exercises known as Bartenieff Fundamentals on the basis of her rich and complex experience in which art and science were constantly interwoven. Born in Berlin in 1900, she met Rudolf Laban in 1925 and immersed herself in his research into the mobility of the human body, space, the dynamics of movement and notation. At the Berlin Laban School she studied and worked with Laban himself, Gertrude Loeser, Dussia Bereska and Albrecht Knust. This new area of the theory and practice of human movement and dance enabled her to combine her previous experiences in the fields of biology, the fine arts and dance.
At the end of the 1920s, Irmgard (née Dombois) and Russian dancer Michail Bartenieff set up their school and dance company, the Romantisches Tanztheater Bartenieff. As Irmgard was interested in the dance notation system developed by R. A. Feuillet, who had published a book entitled L’Art de décrire la danse in 1700, she reconstructed some courtly dances from the book for her company, transcribing them into Laban Kinetography with Albrecht Knust.
In 1936 the Bartenieffs were forced to leave Germany and they moved to the United States. In 1938 Irmgard began introducing Laban's ideas there and taught his notation at Hanya Holm's dance studio. In 1943 she joined the Dance Notation Bureau, which was started in 1940 to make the notation more widely known. She graduated from the Swedish Institute of Massage in New York and later obtained her Physical Therapy Certification from New York University. This was where she met Dr George Deaver, a pioneer in functional rehabilitation who recommended a method that took account of the person as a whole and was based on the patient's active involvement. This innovative approach dovetailed perfectly with Bartenieff's training and experience. For many years she worked in hospitals with seriously injured people and poliomyelitis sufferers, experimenting with various ways of stimulating movement and encouraging changes in patients' attitude to their treatment: she tried to make them an active part of the healing process and to help them find inner motivation, especially by clarifying the intention behind the movement in space. Her scientific approach to functional rehabilitation, at the leading edge of neurophysiological research into human development, was continually enriched by Rudolf Laban's analysis of body movements, in which she found a basis for deepening the connection between the functional and expressive aspects of the body.
On several occasions between 1950 and 1955, Bartenieff met Laban and his associates in London, and took part in research into Space Harmony and Movement Profile. Warren Lamb was the spearhead of the latter, which later became known as Action Profile Assessment or Movement Pattern Analysis. Bartenieff incorporated these developments of Laban's approach to movement into her teaching and practice in the United States. The wide variety of people with whom she worked doubtless provided fertile territory for her to explore her approach to movement, expressiveness and behaviour. As well as training dancers and actors, she did remarkable work in hospitals and in the field of anthropology: she was a therapist and rehabilitation coordinator at the Blythedale Children’s Hospital in New York, head of research into the development of newborns and infants at the Long Island Jewish Hospital, an associate of Dr Israel Zwerling (a psychiatrist who specialized in non-verbal communication) in introducing dance therapy to Jacobi Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical College and Bronx State Hospital, and a partner of ethnologist Alan Lomax, of Columbia University, in his Choreometrics research project, which set out to make a comparative analysis of the characteristics of dance and work in different cultures.
In 1965 Bartenieff started the first professional training program based on the study of movement according to Laban's research. Called "Effort / Shape", it was held at the Dance Notation Bureau until 1978, when the Laban Institute of Movement Studies was established. Bartenieff trained generations of dancers, choreographers, actors, movement researchers, anthropologists and therapists. In 1980 she published Body Movement – Coping with the Environment. She died in New York in 1981.
The Bartenieff Fundamentals are a vital contribution to Laban Movement Analysis. Right from the start of their cooperation, Laban was perceptive enough to see in Bartenieff the person who could develop the physical aspect of Space Harmony. Her contribution to the Laban system – the Fundamentals – confirmed his insight.
They were developed gradually, in close liaison with therapeutic, artistic and educational practice and with Bartenieff's research. In her own words, they are exercices that promote the body's experience of movement while developing awareness of how and why the body moves. The initial name, Correctives, was changed because the exercises were aimed more at seeking out the fundamental aspects of movement than at correcting actions. The Bartenieff Fundamentals are made up of six basic exercices with countless variations and developments. They were called "Fundamentals" because they may be applied to any type of human activity. They develop the body's core support system, and the relationship between that system and the space around the body, and they follow the various stages of development – from lying down to walking, via turning over, crawling, sitting, standing and moving around, with the ultimate goal of carrying out increasingly complex movements in space.
A class based on the Fundamentals is first and foremost a unique encounter with those present and always addresses both the functional and expressive aspects of movement. Level changes, weight transference, the body-space relationship, phrasing, movement sequencing, connections, counter-tensions, spatial intent, patterns and three-dimensionality are just some of the themes that are continually explored.
According to Bartenieff, three major concepts in Laban analysis form the core of the Fundamentals: first, the emphasis is more on mobility than on muscular strength; second, it is considered that a configuration of body, dynamic and spatial elements is involved in any movement – from a small, single gesture to an action involving the entire body; third, the spatial intent, the preparation and initiation of a series of movements determine how they occur and the quality of their function and expressiveness.
Two concepts – while remaining completely consistent with this analysis – have particular significance when discussing the Bartenieff Fundamentals: connection and pattern. The very idea of connection includes the establishment of links between two or more things. In the case of these exercices, the idea refers first of all to the ability to mobilize the weight-bearing structure – the skeleton – through cycles of kinetic muscular processes that enable a series of movements to appear as one continuous sequence. Bartenieff regarded these cycles as configurations of connections controlling the movement process. But other levels of relationship are also involved: in addition to the concept of the body as a whole made up of interdependent parts, there is the ability to incorporate organizational patterns, to introduce dynamic variations (Effort), shape changes and spatial configurations during the movement, to leave the way open to feelings and emotions, to enjoy a phrased movement whose interpretation involves communication between different parts of the body. Bartenieff was particularly interested in combining corporal, dynamic and spatial aspects that would enable the movement to be adjusted, adapted and magnified.
The word pattern recurs frequently in Laban analysis because it refers to a combination of various elements. For example, when Effort and movement factors are being explored, the idea of Effort Pattern is fundamental as it describes the specificity of the movement of a person or activity. In Bartenieff's various writings, the word pattern (from the Latin patronus: a shape to be copied) occurs in various contexts, including that of human motor development. In the Bartenieff Fundamentals, patterns are neuromuscular templates that are established and developed during childhood to guide the execution of sequences of movements. Bartenieff, who was well acquainted with theories of human development, refers to motor patterns in her article "Functional Approach to Early Treatment of Polio" (in Physical Therapy Review, 1955, vol. 35). The document "Effort-Shape Analysis: the unity of expression and function" (1965, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York) studies the relationship between Laban Movement Analysis and the stages of postural and locomotion development according to neurophysiology. Her article "Correctives" (1970, Dance Notation Bureau, New York) summarizes some of the principles of Fundamental Body Movement, underlining the essential role of locomotion patterns in structuring the body. In an unpublished manuscript, "Body / Space / Effort: The Art of Body Movement as a Key to Perception (1979), Bartenieff explains – at much greater length than in the book published susequently – how her work is based on a thorough understanding of the first models of neurophysiological development. This approach concurs with Laban's thinking, which aims to clarify the basic structures of movement by, for example, suggesting "scales" – cyclical movement sequences that develop the sense and perception of space – and by looking for elements common to all human beings but whose organization lends a specific "colour" to each person's interpretation.
Bartenieff made a substantial contribution to the development of both the Kestenberg Movement Profile and Body-Mind Centering. Judith Kestenberg, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, contacted Bartenieff because she was looking for a way to analyse and understand how babies moved. Their work together resulted in a form of analysis that draws a parallel between movement and each of the stages in the child's psychological development.
Kestenberg's published work includes The Role of Movement Patterns in Development (Dance Notation Bureau, New York, 1977 vol. 1, 1979 vol. 2). Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, who developed Body-Mind Centering, studied with Bartenieff at the Laban Institute and incorporated the concept of pattern into her ideas, clarifying further the gradual nature of the specific and interdependent stages of motor development that form the basis of movement. The Bartenieff Fundamentals currently benefit from this theoretical framework, but as just one of the elements helping to diversify and increase the possibilities of functional and expressive movement.
The two main bibliographical references to Bartenieff's work are the book by Bartenieff and Dori Lewis, Body Movement – Coping with the Environment (Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, New York, 1980), which discusses the theory and practice of the various aspects of Laban Movement Analysis as well as the Bartenieff Fundamentals, and Peggy Hackney's book, Making Connections – Total Body Integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals (1998, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Amsterdam), which offers an outstanding explanation of the principles of Bartenieff Fundamentals, along with illustrations and personal experiences. An article entitled "Connectivity and Expressiveness through the Bartenieff Fundamentals" by Peggy Hackney was translated and published in Nouvelles de Danse, no. 28, summer 1996.
THE RHYTHM OF EFFORT AND RECOVERY
From Rudolf Laban Speaks About Movement and Dance
Lectures and Articles selected and edited by Lisa Ullmann
Digitized by CMA Ellen Goldman 3/20/10 for the students of the LIMS Certification Program in Laban Movement Studies - NYC Yearlong Format. The article is now shared with the larger movement community
For man the relationship of effort and recovery is one of the most important aspects of the great number of rhythmical alternations observable in Nature. It has often been said that rhythm is life. The definition however ignores the rhythm of lifeless nature. It would be more exact to say that the biological aspect of rhythm constitutes the clearest and most comprehensive form of that curious phenomenon known as rhythm or the alternation of somehow opposite happenings.
The relationship of effort and recovery needs a closer scrutiny. They are not contrasts, which exclude one another.
Effort is generally understood as the exertion of power, no matter whether physical or mental. One says also that the production of some work of art of oratory as a whole represents effort. Many exertions, otherwise called attempts or trials, which result in struggle, strain and even pain, are termed efforts. It is obvious that labour, toil, trouble of all kinds involve effort.
In contemporary movement-study the term effort is given to the active exercise of any power or faculty. This active power, however, need not be extremely vigorous or laborious. On the contrary, we know today that an effort can take a calm and almost strainless form: especially is this the case when an action is performed with full acceptance of and even enjoyment in the task at hand.
Investigation of human movement has resulted in the distinction of two contrasting inner attitudes with which the effort invariably preceding any movement can be activated. The inner attitude of fighting against something contrasts with the inner attitude of yielding to something, but if either of these attitudes results in a movement, clearly some kind of effort is needed. The effort can be a pure fighting effort or it can also be one of yielding. But some efforts are mixed, containing a fight against some part of the task and an indulgence in other parts of it. There exists no effortless action or movement – physical or mental – and the effort used with a non-fighting indulgence does not always involve a low degree of exertion. It uses rather a different kind of effort, clearly distinguishable from the fighting effort.
Effort commonly suggests a single action, often with a definite object in view, which is consciously attacked. However, it is clear that in a continued activity the continuation also needs effort; indeed it involves a sequence of frequently different effort-qualities. Moreover, in exertions which are neither voluntary nor conscious the same or similar degrees and kinds of effort-qualities are involved as in a conscious action.
The main difference between exertions and efforts can be understood by comparing the usual meanings of these two expressions. We say that someone is wearied by an exertion, which has thus some repercussion on a person. This person might have made a supreme effort, that means an active exercise of some power or faculty. The effort is connected with a power or faculty, while the exertion is a result of an effort.
If we now consider the idea of recovery, we cannot say that the act of recovering takes place without effort. Recovery found in some leisure-time activity will surely involve effort. It would also be wrong to consider an energetic inner attitude of fighting against something as incompatible with recovery. Many actions in sports of a fighting character can serve recovery. Effort and recovery are, therefore, not contrasts in the ordinary sense but from a very specific point of view they are opposites, which do not, however, exclude one another.
This become most obvious if one uses the word recovery to mean restoration from sickness, weakness, fright, and such-like conditions. In the restoration of health and inner balance, noticeable effort is not only possible, but frequently indispensable. Thus one could say that recovery takes place when the effort serves the healing power and faculty within man himself, instead of being used to deal with the external world.
Some of the uses of the word recovery as technical terms in sport help in the understanding of the relationship of effort and recovery. In rowing one calls recovery the movement of the body and the oar, which, after completion of a stroke, brings the body and the oar into position for the next stroke. In fencing or sparring the act of regaining the position of guard after making an attack is called a recovery. Thus one sees that recovery is an indispensable counterpart to an effort consciously oriented towards an aim, and that no recovery is needed or possible without a preceding effort
Effort used in actions and that used in recovery serve and help each other in alternating with one another in a definite rhythm; they are rhythmical opposites within acts of vital function.
The verb - to recover - (Effort has no corresponding verb) means to regain something, for instance, a lost property. One can become entitled by a judiciary decision to recover damages. One can make up for something or can retrieve, repair the loss or injury of something. One can recover lost time. One gets something back, and recovers the power that makes further effort possible.
The recovery makes an effort to regain the recoverable. The person making an effort other than that of recovery spends power, which has to be recovered.
If the change between effort and recovery were a simple rhythmical change occurring at well-discernible regular intervals, it could be regarded as a waste of time to scrutinize the relationship of these two function. The complexity of life functions, however, is so great that frequently we are hardly able to discern at the first glance whether an effort action projection power into the external world is made, or if a recovery action has been served by the effort in order to regain lost power. Still less sure can we be, at first sight, whether an action is really necessary and of vital importance, or if it is superfluous and works in a way unfavorable for vital issues. The exact observation and efficient use of the rhythm of effort and recovery is therefore a necessity. The purely instinctive or intuitive letting go of the continuous flow of energy between effort and recovery leads often to crises and catastrophes which civilized man is more and more inclined and perhaps also able to avoid. Movement study and the control of effort connected with it strengthens our conviction that the thorough study of rhythm in general and of the rhythmical to and fro between effort and recovery is indispensable.
The fundamental alternation between effort and recovery which can be observed in work during the day and sleep during the night can give some general hints of the main aspects of life rhythm. But work is not exclusively effort and sleep is not exclusively recovery. Work makes it necessary to use effort sprinkled with recovery, and sleep offers the opportunity of recovery during which, however, a great number of most puzzling efforts of a special kind take placed.
Uni-cellular living beings consist of two parts: the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Neither of the two constituents is able to live by itself. The nucleus is unable to nourish by itself, while the cytoplasm without the nucleus cannot reproduce or propagate itself.
The contemporary functions of the nucleus and the cytoplasm are indispensable for the continuation of life. It is surely more than a poetic image. If one considers the function of the cytoplasm which consists of procuring food to be more masculine than that of the nucleus, which aims at reproduction and is therefore more feminine.
The structural division of the single-cell living being into nucleus and cytoplasm is demonstrated by anatomy, which deals with the static constitution of the body. Physiology deals with the dynamic order of life functions where the rhythm of metabolism is the main aim of investigation. The science dealing with the whole complexity of life as shown in the correlated shape and rhythm of the structure and function of living creatures is perhaps not yet born, as neither biology nor physiology has risked the decisive step. Such research was inaugurated by the rhythmic intuition manifest in the comparison of the iambic and trochaic measures with their male and female implications. This might well be considered a forerunner of psychology.
If it is assumed that the rhythm of life consists of an alternation of male and female functions as they become visible in unicellular beings and that the co-operation of the two rhythmically opposite poles works on the evolution of the chain of life, perhaps one comes nearest to a definition serviceable for our research on effort and recovery.
Effort – rhythm should be regarded as an essential peculiarity of the flow of energy. One could quote here the very ancient belief most clearly demonstrated in the theory of Greek poetry that rhythm has two fundamental measures, one of which, the iambus, has a male character, while the other, the trochee, has a female character.
The impression of masculinity and femininity becomes more obvious in longer sequences. If one compares the sequence of iambic and trochaic measures one can indeed feel more impetuosity in the first one and the expression of a more languid mode in the second one.
Contemporary movement study is still in agreement with this intuitively found conviction of the ancient Greek musician, who was at the same time a dancer, a singer-actor, and a poet. The development of biological and psychological sciences throws a new light on the role, which the rhythmical antithesis plays in human nature and life. We are accustomed to regard masculinity and femininity as a sexual difference in the structure and function of highly organized human beings. In the simple form of life no such structural difference can be found. For instance, there exist no separate male and female amoebae, but these primordial animals have two antithetic functions united in the same individual.
In returning now to work in the daytime and sleep in the night it is obvious that the sub-division into these two periods of opposite functions derives from a contrast created by the planetary motion of the earth. The response to light and darkness can be explained in a purely utilitarian way. In principle the search for food is easier in the daytime while it becomes more difficult during the night. It is a well-known fact that many modifications of this general rule seem to contradict the validity of such an explanation. With man the tendency to insert a period of leisure time between work and sleep is more conspicuous. In both periods, that of recreation during a wakeful state and that of rest and sleep during the night, one can see more than the adaptation to the conditions of the surrounding nature. Living beings detach themselves from their surroundings in sleep, and man does a similar thing during recreation. The tendency to acquire new power and energy during sleep is not restricted to a cessation of conscious movement. Waste material accumulated in the body through exertion is sorted out and fresh material destined to be burnt in a coming strain is built up. The harvest of the day’s work does not, however, consist of food only, but also of impressions and experiences which become assimilated during sleep. Thoughts and ideas as well as traces of emotional excitement sink into sub-consciousness. They are added to the treasure of inherited and previously acquired ideas, sentiments and ideals. The cells of the organism are thereby freed from their service of continuous watchfulness in daytime and are able to cleanse themselves from the poisoning products of strain and exertion. They recover lost material and functional power by assimilating the nourishing juice brought into their neighborhood after the periods of feeding, as well as the experiences and information received during waking state.
The rhythms of many biological functions superimpose themselves on the fundamental rhythm of work and sleep. Such rhythms are those of the processes of nutrition, the processes of reproduction, the processes of a vegetative or instinctive kind and the processes of ordering the relations between impressions and experiences. All this is not explicable simply as a complication of the day and night rhythm. Living beings must have had their own rhythmic polarity which has enabled them to respond to the rhythms of the environment. We cannot imagine a living being without the alternating functions of nutrition and reproduction; but the rhythm of waking state and sleep is also of greatest importance, and so is the rhythm of recreative activity, a halfway=house, perhaps, on the route from the waking state to sleep. Dream on the route of sleep to awakening also has its peculiar rhythm.
The forms of rhythm, which have been preconceived by ancient favorites of the muses, the iambic and trochaic masculinity and femininity, acquire a new face under these auspices. In the complications and variants of these two fundamental rhythms curious reversions take place. Sequences of stresses followed by lightness have been female in the trochee but have a manly character in dactyl.
The dorian mode, which was considered as the expression of the manly national character, did not comprehend either the iambus or the trochee. These measures were both relegated to the voluptuous Lydian mode of an outspoken feminine character. The Lydian mode was not national; it was like the third mode the Phrygian imported from barbaric – mainly oriental – tribes.
The dorian mode comprehended beside the dactyl and anapaest the cretique peon, a kind of amalgamated trocheed and iambus whilst the anapaest was used in both the manly Doric and the feminine Lydian mode.
These rhythms have been performed only during leisure time in recreational activities. They are clearly detached from the rhythms in periods of work and sleep.
The activities of dancing, singing and acting show a fine balance of effort and recovery. It is very probably that the relationship between effort and recovery can best be studied in these fundamental recreataive activities.
An amoeba which has the power to emancipate itself from the conditions of its surroundings, by changing its place, by moving away from an unfavourable spot of the surroundings to a more agreeable one, is of course, not a cancer, because the change of position is caused by practical considerations. (If one is allowed to use this expression for an inner function of an amoeba.)
A dancer is moved by ideal considerations in the multiple changes of his position; and each of these changes is always done in a definite rhythm. The individual moves not only from place to place, but also from mood to mood. The recovery value of his/her free activity is incontestable.
The two great unchangeable conditions of the surroundings can be either love or hatred, corresponding somehow with indulgence and fight. The dancer does both alternately: fighting against time, and trying to overcome it by the suddenness of movements. In everyday life, we can also easily recognize people fighting against time. They are often hasty, having no leisure for anything, and contrast intensely with other people who indulge in time, up to the proverbial laziness of the sloth. These people let themselves by carried by the flow of time with a real feeling of indulgence and resilience. To some people such resilience seems to be the essence of recovery, but to other people racing and dancing seem to be the best means to recover – what? Something lost? It seems impossible that recovery could be found in both extremes, in the loving and in the hating of time-or in the loving or hating of anything else. One comes nearer to the problem if one can detect what has been lost. It is balance, not the stable balance of immobility, but the dynamic balance of a well-proportioned alternation in rhythmic function,. This recovery is to be found in the exercise of rhythmic functions trying to balance one another.
When this is applied to the life of a one-celled living being one will see that even if the cellule is immersed in nutritive liquid it will not take in food continuously. The stretching out of a pseudopod, a protuberance of its outer surface, is the sign of the period of feeding activity. Suddenly the animalcule becomes sensitive to the nutritive fluid around it, but there must also be an inner need, which has not been there before. A working period starts in which food is caught and absorbed. Then follows a period in which no pseudopods are stretched out. The food is digested and period of a kind of sleep is inaugurated. It is clear that this rhythmic change is essential, because neither continuous feeding nor continuous abstinence would keep the being alive. But the nucleus is also fed and its special faculty of production, consisting in the dividing of the cell through a twisting movement, is awakened. The working period of the nucleus has started, and if it has divided itself, the whole cell, so to speak, falls asleep, recovering from its effort. But the cytoplasm has to nourish the exhausted nucleus, and the play of stretching out pseudopods and so on starts again.
The basic scheme of the biological rhythm is the same in the most humble amoeba as in the most refined neuron of a human genius. The different species of cellules have a similarity of function throughout the whole scale of living beings. Everywhere there is not only an exchange of material, but also a combination of functions. The cellule repeats certain movements, which correspond to age-old experiences. This is of course a much simpler process than that involved in human memory, or even in the memory of more primitive animals. But the essentials of the function can be considered to be similar.
One of the memory acts is intimately connected with the attitude of a living being towards space. It has been shown that opposite forms of effort arise from an inner attitude of fighting against time on the one hand and from the yielding to time on the other hand. If one compares the stretching out of pseudopod into a definite of space with the twisting movements by which cell-division is accompanied, it becomes obvious that these acts can be understood as contrasting attitudes towards space. The unit of space-time is one of the two great unchangeable conditions of the surroundings of a living being. The direct stretch is the expressions of a fight against space in which all directions but one are avoided. The fight against space contrasts with the yielding to it when in twisting movements several if not all directions in space are consecutively touched. The being is bathing in the ocean of possible space directions, confiding in the, indulging in them, without trying to overcome distance in a definite direction.
Such contrasts are known in the art of dancing. One traditionally discerns the so-called arabesque performed along and ending in a position of a direct line, as if reaching out straight for something. The contrast is the well-rounded movement into an attitude which has not definite target in space, curving the body into a ball-like shape or a vessel around a centre. All dancing consists of alternations of such plastic and linear shapes, with, or course, an almost infinite number of intermediary transitions.
The aggressiveness of a male rhythm is stressed if accompanied by an impact into one definite direction or arabesque. The tenderness and voluptuousness of a female impulse is increased if performed in the flexible shape of an attitude in which the indulgence in space becomes visible. It would be wrong to consider the two extreme attitudes towards space, either as producing recovery or as exerting effort. Both require effort, and recovery originate from the successful attempt to bring them into dynamic balance. One does not speak about space rhythm in general, but uses the idea of space harmony. The simplest case of static space harmony is symmetry. Dynamic symmetry arises, for instance, if the right side and the left side of the body are used successively as, say, in stepping, or walking, or in any other form of locomotion. Space harmony in the deeper sense, however, is achieved only through an alternation of “direct” and “flexible” spatial effort qualities.
The stress in real harmony is laid on the memory content of the balance between the two primeval attitudes as seen in the nutritive (male) and the reproductive (female) function of uni-cellular beings.
In the behaviour of human beings a whole scale of rhythms and harmonies can be observed, from the simplest vegetative or instinctive rhythms and harmonies, up to the most complex rhythms and harmonies of the rationally-experience relationship between functions. The simpler rhythms and harmonies always tend first to adapt the behaviour (which consists of externalized memory movement) to the facts or rhythms of the surroundings. Thus the rhythm between the wakeful state and sleep is adapted to the planetary motion of the earth and the resulting light and darkness into which the surrounding nature is immersed. In the higher rhythms (into which harmony as a space-rhythm may from now on be included) the living being aims, not at adaptation, but at domination of the facts and rhythms of the surrounding nature.
All the higher or more complex rhythms are, however, only modifications of the primary or fundamental rhythms. It has been shown that the dactyl and the anapaest are modifications of the iambus and the trochee, but it has also been noted that a reversion of the original male or female character has taken place.
In the fusion of the trochee and the iambus into a cretique peon (see pages 47, 49) no revision but a loss of the primitive male-female characters has taken place. The Greeks have considered this rhythm as the expression of great excitement, in which man becomes either foolish or pitiable: two moods, which are indeed apt to extinguish sexual characteristics.
Greek rhythmology, however, has not stopped with this extinction of sexual traits; in the Phrygian mode (a barbaric imported one) the Greek artist-conjurer has used besides the peon two forms of the so=called Ionian rhythm:
While the peon was felt to express inner states originating within the human being (foolishness and pitiableness) the two forms of the Ionian were used to show the reactions to the overwhelming impressions gained by outer surroundings, including the manifestations attributed to fate, demons, and gods.
The phrygian mode, in which the rhythms of exceptional inner and outer excitement were combined, has been considered to be a supernatural character and to be connected with sorcery and spell-binding functions. They are furthest away from the simple male-female contrast and the ordinary life functions of feeding and reproducing.
In a way they characterize two functions of memory, possession or retentiveness on the one hand and evocation and emanation on the other hand.
The conservation of the impressions and experiences gained during a lifetime, which means that which has entered the living being from outside, is here contrasted with the stream of evolutionary happenings originating from hereditary disposition, which means that which has lived for times untold in the inner recesses of the being. Conserving retentiveness is a duty, while evolutionary development is a right.
Sleep arrests the exaggerated tendency and duty to conserve the acquired part of the memory treasure. It liberates the active search for new external impressions, which are interrupted. Work and waking state intoxicate the being not only with the waste material of exertion, but also with an increase of possessiveness and the spell of the duty to conserve the accumulated treasures of acquired memory.
Every living being is driven to give origin to other living beings. The plant in producing its seed, and the higher animals with their extensive and intensive care for their offspring transmit the hereditary characteristics common to the whole species. But they transmit also something of their individual rhythms of function, which can improve into the greater capacity for harmony, or deteriorate into a tendency towards disharmony in the next generation.
Neither sleep nor work is the real source of balance and harmony. The tendency towards harmony and dynamic balance is always present in any phase of real recovery. Effort directed towards the satisfaction of external needs, though indispensable for the sustenance of life, infallibly causes disharmony and lack of balance in a contrary but yet somehow similar way to that of sleep. Sleep is also filled with efforts which are, however, hard to control. A kind of connecting link can be found in leisure-time play, which, like art, is neither work in the ordinary sense nor is it real dream. Effort and recovery meet in those leisure-time activities or dreams, where the essence of rhythm is practiced and experienced. One can see in these activities the real recovery, which goes beyond the refreshing of the ordinary action power. Harmonized effort is recovery, but harmonized effort can only be achieved to a relatively small extent in work and sleep.
The ideal is that harmonized effort should penetrate work and sleep as much as possible. But art in leisure-time remains indispensable.