Fat Dance

Issue #12.2: New Topographies of the Body

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This is a movement score based in Body-Mind Centering® and experiential anatomy. The score can be used in different ways: as a warm-up for dancing or other creative practice, as a personal exploratory field trip, as a solo or group improvisation.  As you enter the score, notice if you carry stories and judgements about fat – as part of your own or others’ bodies -and invite the possibility for other stories and relationships to emerge. Fatty tissue is a vital part of our physiology and liveliness. I invite you to draw on its amazing power and capabilities as a conduit, as a storehouse, as energy, as protection and insulation. What else might you discover?


Begin by massaging your skin – kneading, lifting and gently pinching, feeling its thickness. The deepest layer, the underside of your skin that faces in towards your bones and muscles, is fatty tissue. Like a living wetsuit, or the slippery and supple skin of a seal, this layer helps regulate your body temperature and provides a bed of support for nerves and blood vessels. Invite this luscious underside seal skin into movement in space, as well as into contact with the floor, walls or furniture, or other people. How does this fatty layer of skin flavour your movement, your sense of self and other?


The coordinated dance of sensation and response relies on the movement of signals along trillions of nerve cell pathways. Most of your neurons are wrapped in layers of insulation, the fat-rich tendril arms of specialized cells, allowing for more efficient movement of information along the length of the nerve. It’s like the insulation around an electrical wire, except these cells are alive and responsive and interdependent. Some nerve pathways have been wrapped since before your birth, many during the first two years of life, and some continue to wrap and unwrap throughout life.


Invite the movement of sensation, action, communication and wisdom to slide through pathways nurtured and buffered by fatty wrappings. Follow the movement pathways that emerge with fat in the service of channeling perception and action.


There are pillows of fat behind your eyes, in the eye sockets, providing soft cushioning and protection. Invite the weight of your fluid-filled eyeballs to rest into the fatty support surrounding them. Explore different orientations to gravity. Invite your seeing to rest into this weight, into fatty support. Let the rest of your body follow.


Fatty tissue occupies a state between solid and fluid. Play with calling up this viscous, shape-shifting quality anywhere in your body. Invite your fat to lead this dance, and your muscles and bones to follow. You might sense some heat as the fat is allowed to mobilize and express. You might enjoy jiggling and bouncing, rippling and resonating, breathing and sounding, playing in the suppleness between solid and liquid form.


As you dance your fat dance, remember:


Fat cells are messengers.

They are part of your immune system.

Fat is stored potential.

Fat embodies strength and resiliency.


This Fat Dance can close when and how you like. How might you bring fattiness into your daily life dance?


Image supplied by author.

Exclusively commissioned for the Dancehouse Diary