Dance and the Art of Non-Effort


A man and a woman performing a modern dance.
A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s nothing I love more than going to see a dance performance.  Watching dancers on stage as they glide across the floor, leaping and landing with seemingly effortless grace is quite simply magical for me and I get swept up in it almost every time. The vibration of the music, smooth movement and the pictures that are created through movement is truly a spiritual experience.

The other night I went to see LehrerDance and was awestruck by the lifts and silent landings of the dancers. The moves were intricate and very difficult yet what I saw and felt at a core level was fluid, graceful, effortless motion. I watched a dancer lifted into the air and she seemed to hang there motionless then came down and landed in silent, slow motion. It literally took my breath away!

These dancers, and I would be remiss if I didn’t credit Jon Lehrer for his fabulous choreography, mastered the art of non-effort. It’s not that there is no effort in what they are doing. Indeed it’s just the opposite. There are hours of grueling physical and mental work to put together a performance like this. The awareness and effort needed to do what they are doing goes beyond what most of us can imagine but part of the magic of the dance is making it look effortless and fun. I’m certainly not a dance critic but I do know what I like to see on the stage. I will add I’m partial to, and have been blessed to see some really good dance performances and this was definitely up there with the best of them.

The beauty of awareness, the ability to create a picture the audience sees and connects with as well as the execution of the movement means resistance does not come into play. Can you imagine if a dancer stopped in the middle of a performance and said it was too hard or it wasn’t worth the effort? Those of us who don’t dance and are working on the mastering the art of non-effort on a spirit connecting with body level can learn a lot from watching a good dance performance. Although the audience can get swept up in the pictures and movement the dancers cannot. They must be acutely aware of their bodies with all muscles engaged and at the same time pull from their inner being and bring it forth. It’s what makes us connect with the dancer and hopefully that part of ourselves that is touched by what we see on stage.

Non-effort doesn’t mean there’s no effort. It means you are neutral to and don’t resist the effort. The art of non-effort is means you connect with the energy of your inner being allowing it to come forward and shine so others are touched and see your creation. Non-effort is about doing difficult, and sometimes the seemingly impossible, seamlessly and without resistance. If there’s no resistance, you do what you have to do by creating spiritually first then taking the steps necessary to do what you need to do to carry out the task.

A choreographer creates a vision and passionately conveys that vision to the dancer. The dancer must see and feel that picture then passionately connect with their inner being to bring the picture to life. It’s about bringing a vision to life and allowing us to see the vulnerable part that is less about the movement and more about the passion. Think about those times when you had a vision of what you wanted to create. You were probably passionate and excited about your vision. Then when you started to create your vision were you in effort or in joy? Was the “work” full of resistance to doing each task or did the time fly by because you knew that each step completed got you closer to your goal?

Yes, we can all learn many lessons from watching a good dance performance. We can learn that it is possible for a vision in the mind to come to life. We can learn that gravity is an illusion and without resistance a body can hang seemingly motionless in the air and then land silently and gracefully. We can learn that effort is a matter of perception and giving up because it’s too hard is not an option when it comes to fulfilling your dreams.~Shine Your Light Debbie

If you’re interested in learning more about LehrerDance CLICK HERE.

©Debra Taitel 2013 All Rights Reserved

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2 thoughts on “Dance and the Art of Non-Effort

  1. Hi Debbie!

    You have been (literally) reading my mind lately!!!

    This brought (good) tears to my eyes! Not only did you hit the nail on the head, but dance has been a staple of my life since a child!

    You’re post about “Having Space” was magnificent too! Just what I needed!

    So looking forward to your session next week! I hope that you’ll be bring some wonderful flower essences to sell as well!

    Love, Gina P XO’s

    Sent from my iPhone

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