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In every Move Baby Move class we always do a standing circle dance. This give the babies a chance to experience movement kinesthetically and visually via watching the others in the room. We play with all different speeds and qualities of movement in class and today we are going to talk about what we are doing and why it's important to babies and their development.
Movement qualities are not something we really think of, but are actually very aware of. Have you ever sat and watched people walk? You notice some people walk faster than others, some may have a bounce to their step while other seems to float across the floor. We really notice movement qualities when we see someone move in ways that are abnormal or funny. Rudolf von Laban is a German movement specialist who created a way of noting movement in the human body. This practice is called Labanotation and is still used today in Dance and Acting.
Laban was able to categorize human movement into four basic parts, with opposites in each category.
We can see some of these qualities in babies from the moment they are born. Newborns are heavy and floppy as they adjust to a world without fluid to support their bodies. They have quick (TIME) and jerky (SPACE-indirect) movements. Where we see direct movement (SPACE) is during feeding, gazing into the eyes of parents, and in the effort to lift (WEIGHT-strong) the head. In time their movement becomes more fluid, more direct, as they are able to strengthen their head, arms and core.
One of my favorite ways to practice the movement qualities is to, "She'll be coming 'round the Mountain." In this activity we start with the adults standing in a circle, holding their babies facing out. We start with a simple walk around in a circle. Right away we are playing with TIME (sustained), SPACE (direct) and FLOW (bound). After the first verse we move into running (TIME-quick, WEIGHT-light. FLOW-bound), stomping (WEIGHT-heavy), and then flying (WEIGHT-light, SPACE-indirect, FLOW-free). Many times you'll notice we are playing with more than one quality at once, so there is lot of over-lapping. Between each verse we always stop and take in a deep breath, letting the adults find their balance and center themselves. In this still moment, a long deep breath helps the babies nervous system regulate after the stimulation.
When we play with the different movement qualities we are giving the babies a chance to experience and practice the movement qualities which will eventually be reflected in their social behaviors and body language. They are learning movement by moving with you!
Ansley has been teaching Infant Movement classes since 2013, after studying Developmental Movement with Ellynne Skove. Since completing her training Ansley has taught all over the New York, New Jersey, Boston and now Florida. Ansley is certified in Level 1 Reiki and has completed her 200hr YT. She is passionate about empowering, nurturing and providing care to all families as they encounter the demands and joys of parenthood. Through her work she is able to soulfully fulfil her greatest ambition; to care for others.