Falling Gracefully

Falling Gracefully

By Eve Chalom

Eve Chalom is a two time world competitor in ice dancing. She is currently a dance/movement therapist, a performer in both ice skating and modern dance, a yogi, and a figure skating coach. She is continually exploring the connections between dance/movement therapy, figure skating, and life in general.

Falling is an important topic. You want to learn to fall without hurting yourself. You want to roll with it, find the momentum, and be able to get up again easily and smoothly, so going down the floor and getting up is just as easy as being on our feet. There is recognizing the weight of yourself, feeling your own body weight, sensing your own body weight. Then it is the sense of motion, of gravity, of momentum, of registering your speed. Then there is the ground. Familiarity with the ground facilitates a fall, because if your body is comfortable with the ground, it will best know how to accommodate itself to the ground. How to make the ground feel soft rather than hard, if the body is soft in the right places. Then a fall is delicious rather than painful. There are many, many ways to fall, and the more options you have, the more you have the possibility of a pleasant fall that is not painful. Each arm and leg, your head, your feet, your hands, all find their way in the fall, in the motion of it, to spread out upon the ground in the best possible way, to make contact with the ground in the best possible way. It is an encounter with gravity that is up close and personal, and it is a disturbance of our equilibrium. To get the balance back after a fall, it occurs on its own time, and in the process of righting one’s self. It is also a shock of accepting the encounter with the ground that most likely did not come out of choice. A fall comes out of the space, a person’s encounter with the space and objects in it. There may or not have been choice in the matter. Should you fall now, how is there choice in the fall, even if you don’t choose the fall? You can decide to fall gracefully, or you can just do the best you can to fall as smoothly as possible so that there is no pain. Falling also means that we give in. There is a letting go process somewhere, where we agree to go upside down, or not be right side up anymore for a moment. To fight a fall is helpful and sometimes possible, and sometimes, you hurt yourself in fighting the fall, or trying to hide the fall. Sometimes, it is better to dramatize the fall so that you really let go. Then you can see what is hiding behind it to begin with. Sometimes, there is just a fall calling your name. You can feel it coming for minutes before hand. It takes a dramatic shift, to change the energy and lead us away from a fall. It takes breathing, centering, and grounding. It is always worth it because the fall is more harmful than it is worth. If you choose to go to the ground, it is so you can make love, rest, or die. In every exhale, there is a fall, and in every inhale, a rise.

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