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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:sooooooo having had the chance to spin in front of a mirror last night for the first time in ages i realised that i dont find my staff to be particuallary pretty, stalls not horizontal enough planes being all over the show, lack of bodymovement when doing contact, incomplete understanding of the flow of movement, movements being awkward in that the body adjusts itself around the staff to pull the movement off rather than the body knowing where the staff is going as if it where an extension of the body. short of donning some baton twirling tights and rote learning movements in a fixed path im looking for a way to find the flow and rythem of complete body movements for staff. any suggestions? anyone that has seen me spin feel free to offer constructive criticism of my movement

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:i reckun some or all of these might help the whole bodymovin thing a bit...



more isolating of your stick

do more doubles/poi

do less contact

spin more

sort your planes out



actually, you're tripping. Your planes are fine. Unless you're talking about horizontal contact, in which case everybody's planes suck...



edit - oh yeah, and play more with off centre grips

EDITED_BY: simian (1099928179)


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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mo-seph


mo-seph

enthusiast
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Total posts: 524
Posted:Put the stick down, and go to a dance class.

Coordinated body movement doesn't start with the staff - it has to come from your body, and that's what dance classes teach. Find a dance style that suits the kind of stuff you want to do. For me, it's been contact improvisation, as there's no "steps" to learn, and it's quite like contact staff but a lot richer in terms of different kinds of movement, qualities of contact and you have the interaction with another person. Plus you get to roll round on the floor a lot.

But really, really, do some kind of dance. It'll take a while before you can integrate it, depending on what you do, but dancers have a lot of knowledge about how to make movement look good. It's the thing missing from a lot of spinning - people know how to move the toys but not their bodies, and loose out on a lot of the expression that could be put in.

Also think about the moves you're doing. There's quite a few contacty moves that don't look very good. OK, that's a generalisation, but even the baton twirlers look bad when they do neck traps - it's just not a very nice shape. Think about the shapes you want to make, and the movements between them, and then figure out what moves allow you to do that - let the movement lead the moves. Don't expect a move to look good if you don't have the flexibility to pull it off comfortably: a classic example is horizontal pinwheels, which need a lot of flexibility to be done cleanly, with a nice horizontal back and good planes, and are very often done badly.

Play more, and practise less. It might feel like your not improving so much if you're not nailing new moves, but the way to get flow is to forget moves and just dance. And then you'll find the moves you really need to learn, because they're the ones that get you out of tricky situations.

A few movement tips:

Think about your centre. It's the point just above the middle of you pelvis, roughly your centre of gravity. You can control a lot of how movement looks by choosing what you do with your centre: does it start the movement, or is it just static while your extremeties move? What happens if you drop your centre (e.g. bend your knees)? How small a movement can you make with your centre in order to make a bigger movement happen with the rest of your body?

Think about your feet. I'm terrible for always forgetting my feet. Try planning a routine (or just a sequence of a few moves) starting with footwork and then adding in the rest of the movement, finally putting the spinning on the top.

Play with different qualities of movement. Forget the stick for a bit, and try moving your arm from one position to another. Compare how it feels to move it at a constant speed, or to move it very quickly and then slow down as you approach the target position. See how many ways you can make the same movement, and understand the effect they have.

Play some movement games. Try only allowing certain joints to move. Try constraining a certain joint to a certain line, and then seeing what movements you can do. Then you can try adding in the stick. Try spinning fig8's keeping the centre of the staff fixed with your arm out horizontal, and then move the staff centre slowly across the front of your body and off the other side, then back again.

Really really forget moves. Assume that your hands/body will deal with making the staff spin, and then move about. For me, that's the reason to practise - so that you can just move without worrying about the staff.

Become really pretentious. biggrin

Make up music (or a least a beat of some kind) in your head if there isn't any when you're spinning.

Look up. Don't look at your sticks, they'll look after themselves. Don't look at your feet - you know where they're going to be, because you're placing them purposefully now. Don't look at the ground, it's not going anywhere. Unless you're spinning on a cliff.


Hope some of that helps. The realisation that you've had about body movement is key to becoming a good performer (in my opinion), and when you develop it, that's the really fun bit of spinning. biggrin hug


monkeys ate my brain

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Klaymen



Location: Melbourne, Vic.

Total posts: 180
Posted:Written by: TeaBags
movements being awkward in that the body adjusts itself around the staff to pull the movement off rather than the body knowing where the staff is going as if it where an extension of the body



I hear that. Sometimes i stumble around like some type of drunken master or something. Especially cos my staves are so darn heavy. It's good to have control and all that, but I dunno, i've almost adapted to go WITH the stumble around. Sorta like martial arts, you do a massive swing around where you're out of control (in martial arts maybe this is a jumping kick :P), then you get it under control and drop your centre of gravity. Then you're solid again. I think twirlin can be 'beautiful' and still er, hectic. Yesh


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Glåss
DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2523
Posted:Teabags looks like benjy...Hmmmm
I think another victim has been infected with a fairly vicious meme tongue

Mo-seph is god.
I much agree with what he typed smile

I recommend that you Log off, cos you wont get the answer in words.
Put down your staff and go and do 2 or 3 dance lessons a week for at least 9 months.
You''ll suck hard for the first 6

Pick a dance that you like the music for, something happy, if you like the music you'll dig the dance.
I've been on swing dance and jazz dance, I can recommend a teacher in East london.
Oh yes helped me a lot totry to staff and dance in front of a mirror every week.
Good luck, its going to be a difficult, and VERY rewarding
Smiles
Drew
bounce2 cool


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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 3044
Posted:umm... i was thinking about this recently. from my perspective, the best staffers ive seen are those who are graceful enough with their entire body to make it look easy.

how to achieve that?
the first thing i figured, was to make it as much of a natural motion as possible, so even with my basic 'normal' staff spinning [yay for contact snobbishness!], id make more of an effort of moving my staff - without the effort - playing with the balance, momentum, moving my body to make it look more casual.

upon reflection - taking a bit of contact philosophy of working WITH the staff rather that being a centerpoint of absolute control.

i think the second part of looking pretty is the general dance - as stated previously. that as much as confidence thing to move and throw your body around as anything else. ive done some wierd sh#t moving my limbs around in seemingly random angles and planes, and had randoms tell me it looked cool!

but seriously mate! what the f^ck are you on about? - ive seen enough vids of you spinning - i think you have a really good sense of making staff look pretty!

but then again... maybe im just flirting with the 'outed' gay poet inside you. biggrin


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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T&B
BRONZE Member since Aug 2003

T&B

Me
Location: London/Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 607
Posted:I complety agree dance is a great way of training your body ot move with style and more funamentaly learning to control your body. But alterative matial arts will have a simalar effect but will develop your style in a very different way. Or as a half way house caporia will teach you abit of both with some acrobactics thrown in for good measure.

Which ever route you decide it's not really going to help your staff much for a year or so, so you've got to want to learn it for it's own sake.

also pretty much repeating what Mo-seph said, play with staff more learning moves has it's place in learning staff but it's by no means the be all and end all of staff.


Maybe I should change this too something abit nicer, humm no I still think your all Ccensoredt

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kin...

Total posts: 7330
Posted:Written by: T&B

Which ever route you decide it's not really going to help your staff much for a year or so, so you've got to want to learn it for it's own sake.



hear hear smile

my only piece of advise on top of all these pearls is "look at your feet".

*looks back at mo's post*

correction: i have nothing to add.


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:Twirl to music - feel it.. Get on a dancefloor and dance - like really love the music and move! Try things that you are afraid might make you look stupid. They might, but you will develop confidence and eventually you wont suck.

Dance is wonderful on its own - you might end up putting down your sticks and dancing away smile

Ive watched a lot of ppl dance at festivals - I love to see kooky girls and guys getting down, and honestly I reckon a lot of what impresses me is some ppls ability to channel their emotions into movement, or at least, to clearly express a beautiful physical interpretation of music. most ppl who are good dancers are ppl who dance a lot smile So Go dance already.

Can you tell I'm getting massively overexcited about doing a festival tour this summer starting in 2 weeks? biggrin

Josh


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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loki.c1687
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

loki.c1687

addict
Location: Leeds, United Kingdom

Total posts: 546
Posted:yeah i think music is the way forward...i mean i find it easyer to staff when theirs some from of music in the background
mike.c


Rules and responsibities:
These are the ties that bind us.
We do what we do,because of who we are.
If we did otherwise,we would not be ourselves.
I will do what i have to do
And i will do what i must..

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:I went to dance classes. I tried lots. They all made me cry. The story's longer than that but it's a bit boring if you don't knwo me - lol.

I don't think it was a successful experiment.

But I think I move well when I spin. How odd..........

smile


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:i tink u move nice to smile soooooo what happened to the dance classes little missy ?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:lol - youo remember the state of mind I was in with them when I came to stay? well, that lasted about another 5 classes. If I'd had unlimited funds and unlimited self-confidence to be beaten and destroyed and abused then I would have carried on but hey, what's a fairy to do?


have you found anywhere to wiggle? wink biggrin


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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Glåss
DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2523
Posted:fluff - what kind of dance?? sound like you had a bit of a pooeey teacher?

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mo-seph


mo-seph

enthusiast
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Total posts: 524
Posted:Yeah, I've not had much success with dance classes until recently. And even now I find it really hard to do something at the same time each week. A good class should help you build up your self confidence rather than destroy it, though. I think there are many not so good classes out there. And the beginning stages of learning dance can really suck - you know how you like to move and someone's telling you that you have to do it differently... biggrin

And I still have most fun with the dancing that noone's taught me.

But if you're stuck for how to move, or want some guidance with full body coordination they can help.

Happy wiggling!
ubbrollsmile


monkeys ate my brain

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:Yep I had [censored] teachers. One class was supposed to be a kind of freestyle guided class to help teach you to move, body awareness and stuff (which I thought was exactly what I was looking for) but I guess I had bad luck. I did some salsa classes which were loads of fun, but I only got to do a few before I moved house frown And another was absolutely rubbis - it called itself 'street dance/jam' or something and it was just a massive hall at a leisure centre taught aerobics style - never a good plan *shrug*

It's just really hard to find good classes on a tight time and money budget. It'll have to wait a while............

smile


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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Glåss
DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2523
Posted:Where are you nowerdays?

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:lol - topic.............

pm smile


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:the big question is are u going to come to london again before i head back to oz?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:ben i need to call you so ill do that later if thats ok?

Step (el-nombrie)

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:YES biggrin

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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Glåss
DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001

Glåss

The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2523
Posted:yippeeeeeeeeee smile bounce

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:will you come and play too? smile

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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_pOp_
BRONZE Member since Aug 2003

Playing OldSchool Poi
Location: amsterdam, Netherlands

Total posts: 593
Posted:ubblol and here I am, thinking that all spinners on parties are those who know they look absolutely stupid trying to dance and only started spinning to get an edge by doing something interesting... and now they find out they still have to do the dancing part to make the edge part look good? bummer dudes!!!!

(uh oh, I think I just got myself really hated with the techno crowd tongue )


meditate eRic.

I'm not normally a religious man, but if you're up there, save me, Superman!

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Lavatwilight
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Lavatwilight

old hand
Location: Wellington somerset, UK

Total posts: 834
Posted:try tai chi/ kung fou, just because its all about flow and circles, its helped me no end with finding ways to make space around my body for the staff(s) to fall but it takes way longer to get to grips with than dancing, but then i again i dont usually dance (unless i got a pair of sticks and some decent music on)

Drawings by chalk minds, strech between the stars

Kyle Mclean-
Contact without dance is like sex without wiggling.
A) it does feel as good
B) it does not look as good on film

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[Nx?]
BRONZE Member since Nov 2001

[Nx?]

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both

Total posts: 3749
Posted:Totally agree with mo-stef and glass and peeps. you wanna move good, you gotta learn to move good.

I been dancing for a lot longer than i been spinning, and although it hasnt been in any kind of structured way i really know how i like to move my body now. the rule of thumb i use is that if it feels good it probibly looks good. but then i do dance like a freak. ubbloco

only other thing to add is, forget tech, run around and pretend to be a ninja. get a light wooden pole you cant possibly do contact with. learn what hips are for and how to move them, biggrin

oh and incedentally, tie-chee and stuff teaches the centre being at the dantien, two fingerwidths below you belly button or something, but alexander technique says its further down than that. thoughts?

T wave


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti

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simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Written by: [Nx?
]forget tech



lies tongue

good dancing IS tech

and all the best dances isolate stuff

my feet don't often move, but nonetheless i know whereof i speak...


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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[Nx?]
BRONZE Member since Nov 2001

[Nx?]

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both

Total posts: 3749
Posted:lol, I agree about off centre, centre spinning is booring, and very baton.

T wave

ubblol at the idea of the monkey dance, gotta see this! ubbloco


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti

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Lavatwilight
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Lavatwilight

old hand
Location: Wellington somerset, UK

Total posts: 834
Posted:i agree with the fact that center spinning is boring, so i use the technique of the tai che and transpose it so my center is else where smile

but then i dont know if my twirling is pretty as i havent seen much of it from the "outside" and from inside its....i dunno what it is, apart from fun


Drawings by chalk minds, strech between the stars

Kyle Mclean-
Contact without dance is like sex without wiggling.
A) it does feel as good
B) it does not look as good on film

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Good post ben ja men.

Apologies in advance for being deliberately dense spank but for some reason tonight I think that good staff technique is just as important as dance. I say learn good technique, and understand how the different parts of the body are used to complete a move smoothly, then the dance will flow.

You ask a number of questions in your query, and most are related to tech. Like firstly, i dont find my saff to be particularly pretty, stalls not horizontal enough planes being all over the show Suggest looking at the grips you use, and trying different grip techniques. Practice more in front of a mirror.

The second relates to technique and I suppose dance: .lack of body movement when doing contact, incomplete understanding of the flow of movement, movements being awkward in that the body adjusts itself around the staff to pull the movement off rather than the body knowing where the staff is going as if it where an extension of the body. Understanding the flow of movement and the pathways is part of technique. You can get this from staff, dance, tai-chi, clubs wink Though, I would suggest keeping away from those jumpy, staccato martial art moves. They do not flow and look horrible.

The third also relates to technique: short of donning some baton twirling tights and rote learning movements in a fixed path I think some rote learning and practicing the basic exercises is necessary, if you want to be a great spinner.

Then perhaps this is the real question: im looking for a way to find the flow and rhythm of complete body movements for staff. Again is this a staff technique or dance question? Whatever, mo-sept has some good tips and suggestions.

Cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Richee
BRONZE Member since Jan 2002

HOP librarian
Location: Prague, Czech. Republic

Total posts: 1841
Posted:Rally good Mo-seph lot of to agree. I was doing 2 years dancing and it really help to move and to make ity look easy :].
It brings u and it allmost corespond with music, good timing a
synchronicity with the rhythm. There were one good thread about music and beats, st. like 1,2,3,4 change 1,2,3,4 change etc. I'll try to seach fot it. Good luck ,dance is fine smile


POI THEO(R)IST

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