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Gaga movement 101

Push your own buttons by exploring dance with these imaginative exercises.
�Take a bath�
�Have a ball�
�Shake and quake�
By Zachary Whittenburg |

Groundbreaking Israeli dance technique Gaga fuels the fire inside showstoppers like Sharon Eyal’s new Too Beaucoup for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. You can’t take a Gaga class locally just yet, but HSDC dancers Christian Broomhall and Laura Halm share some favorite exercises for a crash course.

More important to Gaga than moving is making yourself available to movement. Wear comfortable clothing, give yourself lots of space and play music loud enough to create a mood but not so loud or beat-driven that it calls the shots. Many Gaga exercises rest on imagining your body is a hollow container; as creator Ohad Naharin sometimes says, “Feel the music decorate your body on the inside.”

Take a bath
From time to time during your dance, imagine being dropped into a giant pool of water, letting it buoy your weight and soak up any lingering tensions. Use this as a “palate cleanser” to help you return to neutral.

Have a ball
Broomhall enjoys an exercise, standing or lying down, that consists of moving your five limbs (in Gaga, the head is treated like any other appendage) in ways that would keep balls rolling around inside of them. Conceive and maintain specific details—imagine exactly 13 Baoding, or Chinese medicine balls, for example—then notice your movements change as you imagine the spheres growing, shrinking, getting heavier, getting lighter, changing texture or changing temperature.

Shake and quake
Pick a specific point inside your torso and shake it as gently as you can. Allow all other parts of your body to respond naturally. Slowly increase the size and intensity of the action. Try keeping its intensity constant while you move the quake’s epicenter relative to landmarks like your heart or spine.

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