Apparently, I started walking at 10 months and from very early on I was always a climber, so feet were incredibly important, but I probably never thought much about them, even through many years of doing ballet.
Then 2 or 3 years ago I did my first Russell Maliphant workshop and suddenly head and feet began to connect, but I have to admit that very quickly, most of the time, I forgot all about that feeling of connection. That is until quite recently when EncoreEast began a series of Zoom workshops with RMDC. Working with Russell and Edd not only did I reconnect with that feeling but everything I did, every movement began in or from the feet and I felt my feet became the source and energy of my dancing.
I’ve always been a lover of bare feet so feeling the floor and spreading the toes was almost second nature but spreading the toes and lifting one or more at a time was a real challenge. Occasionally it happened almost like magic but at other times, most times, it was incredibly difficult if not impossible. However, something had happened, a real awareness of the feet, the weight of the body on each part of the foot, the heel, the toes, the balls of the feet and how much it all became integral to any movement.
I could stand, and think and feel, and push those feet into the ground or relax and release all tension and let the body sink into the feet. I began to be totally aware of how moving forwards, backwards and sideways was so dependent on the feet. Bending forwards with the weight of the body on the front foot and learning how to release the back leg and keep the balance and still move as a dancer was hard but gradually it all made sense and the body reacted and worked with the feet. There was a confidence growing within me and a feeling of surety and certainty that this process was working, that my body was not just reacting but depending on what happened through the feet. My movements became one from the feet to the head, an interconnectedness through the body. Strength and softness in equal measure emanating from pressure or release starting in the feet and flowing through the body and reaching to the extremities. Something powerful and meaningful was happening to me and my body.
Now more than ever before I am aware of my feet and how important they are and how much I depend on them and they on me.
With grateful thanks to my dancing feet.
By Pam Candler
Photo by Mario Wallner (Pexels)