Analyzing Dances Using Anatomical Descriptions
Communicating fluently in anatomical terms while describing a dancer/dance is an important skill to master as a dance educator. And it is one of several ways to analyze a dance (deconstruction, formal analysis, choreographic tools, Laban, etc. are other methods to analyze a dance). This type of description is not only a helpful tool for clarifying the lineage of a movement, but it also helps to train the eye for spotting proper alignment of the moving body.
A dance collaboration with Jihyun Kim.
Jihyun: flexion at the neck, and slowly allowing her R knee to bend or flex, her ankle stretches into plantar flexion, and she externally rotates her R leg from the hip joint, then inwardly rotates, alternating in and out in and out (from a medial position of the body to a more lateral look), and she simultaneously abducts her R leg until she adducts it back into her center in parallel position with a strong support of the floor. She repeats this set of movement, only during this repetition, she abducts her R leg further away from her center, and now her R knee is in a more flexed angle, as her L hip goes into a slight extension to the back. Her atlantoaxial (first 2 cervical vertebrae) is nicely in an elongated extension, and rotated to her R side. She then extends her R leg with a distally initiated plantar flexed foot, in this motion, her body is in a ipsilateral position (2 limbs on the same side). She repeats 3 more times of the same motion, and her third repetition, her R hip, knee and elbow are all in flexion and externally rotated in a lateral position (farther away from the
body). But interestingly, her L hip is slightly extended, so that the body is now counterbalanced beautifully in space. Her wrists are also in an interestingly designed slight flexion. She moves on a transverse plane in her chine turns to the back diagonal, on a detailed examination, the feet are slightly alternating between inversion and eversion (rolling in). As Ji lands her turns, her radioulnar / elbows transitioned from a symmetrical flexion, into a more medial extension. Now she curves over her head slightly, as she flexes her L knee and plantar flexes her L ankle.
Mimi: flexion at the R wrist, then elbow, then shoulder slightly adducts towards the midline, making this movement more medial in relation to the body. Now, her shoulder is transitioning into a more extended position, as the elbow externally rotates to the R as the wrist also joins in with the rotators. The neck is now also slightly extended and rotated. The right elbow extends fully, and now, the R hand is at its superior position of the body. A clear illustration of an adduction of the R arm happens here, while the trunk, neck, and head is bending with its adding momentum. Her upper body becomes more proximal and contracted. Then, she abducts her R arm and everything else that followed away from her trunk/center, and she flexes her shoulder, and swings to the back as she simultaneously extending the shoulder and flexing the L knee, and her spine and hip goes into flexion.
She does a fast recovery, consists of plantar flexion of the R foot, extension of the R knee, flexion of the R hip, extension of the R elbow, and flexion of the R shoulder! Her supporting leg is grounded to the floor, so that she can hold this position en l'air. This is a very good Saggital plane example. She cuts through her space, and flexes her R knee and extends her R elbow as she turns to face a new direction, with her L leg in extension. This moment is an example of a contralateral movement, where 2 limbs are in the opposite sides of the body, in extension. She adducts her R arm. She abducts her R leg and arm, but adducts her L leg and arm as she piques onto a demi pointe releve, while plantar flexes her R leg in an extension at the knee. This next movement is very laterally expressed because both of there arms and her R leg are away from her center all in extension. She flexes her R hip in a front attitude, also adducting her R arm, catching her R leg with her hand in a palmer postal (or back of the hand) contact. She slightly extends her L should superiorly, and flexes her spine and knees, and extends her knees and arms in order to take off or the jump. She lands with a flexion at the knees, and the spine, and oops, a slight pronation at he R knee is happening! She claps coronally. Then, flexes her wrists, as her head is extending to her left. She finishes with a flexion at her R elbow/adducting her arms towards her trunk, or making her R arm more proximal to the body.
Anatomical Terms and Planes:
Rotation (Internal and External)
Distal (farther from trunk)
Proximal (closer to trunk)
Ipsilateral (2 limbs on same side)
Contralateral (2 limbs on opposite side)