A pas de chat, for those of my readers who aren’t dance people, is a ballet term that translates as “step of the cat.” It’s a subtle little leap under yourself, one foot up, the other instantly following. You come down, maybe six-to-twelve inches away, landing in the same soft, one-foot-then-the-other movement. Like a cat. Or at least that’s the goal. I always think “graceful cat” as I jump, tuck my feet in, the two of them creating a mid-air diamond shape before coming down, but what the mirror sometimes reveals is “anxious cat walking on snow for the first time.” Ah well.
Still, my cats are my inspiration in the art of movement. I watch them, particularly the younger one, still kittenish and lively at four years, and mentally file away what they teach me. And so, here you are. Movement wisdom, for dancers and non-dancers alike, courtesy of my cats:
1) Focus before you leap. Don’t just stupidly fling yourself out there. Know where you plan to go and how you plan to land. Engage 100%, in body, in mind.
2) Stretch. Stretch a lot. Stretch extra big every time you yawn.
3) Make your landings sure-footed and soft, your joints loose enough to cushion the landing.
4) Graze throughout the day. Drink lots of water.
5) Be in the moment. Don’t go doing one movement and be thinking about another.
6) Take long naps so that you’re refreshed when you do decide to move around again.
7) Sudden bursts of maniacal energy as you sprint across the room can be fun.
8) Observe all that goes on around you. Remain perfectly still as you do so. Sometimes it’s more about the stillness, the focus, than the movement.
9) When you get hurt, be it physical or emotional, go find a quiet corner, hole up, and lick your wounds. Let them heal before you throw yourself back Out There. Then, when they are healed, don’t linger. Go throw yourself back Out There.
10) Move for the joy of it. Pour your all into it.
…. And then go nap some more.
© 2013 Terez Rose