Yoga in relation to Choreography

Considering the relationship between Dance Choreography and Asana Sequencing in Yoga, I found the most correlation between them in decisions made for sequence  design, considering: efficiency and optimal benefit, the connection to breath cycle, and creating a build/crescendo of effort and energy.

Efficient sequencing is highly important to both of these practices.  In Yoga practice the sequence affects the body’s ability to be ready and/or fully prepared for the next pose or posture in the sequence.  “Certain asanas require particular preparation or counterposes…(Desikachar 41).”  The decisions we make in regard to the flow of poses, transitions, length of holds and resting moments, can effect whether you have a truly efficient and body-conscious practice or one that is difficult and perhaps un-effective.  The same is true of dance.  When considering the flow of a piece and the composition of the work structurally, transitions between sections, phrases and even individual movements, attention to the overall "picture" or outcome is a primary concern.

Breath is another key factor in both forms.  In yoga we decide the order of asanas in relation to their nature: either relating to the inhale or exhale qualitatively.  Some have  heart-opening, upward-moving, energizing characteristic (relating to inhalation), and others are organ-protecting, downward-moving and calming (relating to exhalation).  In the bulk of dance work (with the exception of choreography that may consciously oppose breath or place emphasis on execution over quality) choreographers have a keen sense of breath pattern, ebb and flow, of movements as they approach choreographic composition.  In a way, it could be argued that choreography that is highly musical also relates to breath--effectually relating the dancers'  breathing to the breath pattern of the musician.

Build and crescendo are other shared principles between the two.  A yoga practice often has an energetic build as it progresses, warming the body and deepening the effects as you continue along its trajectory.  The same can be said for much of the dance work out there, prizing build and development for excitement and as a means of keeping  audience attention and interest as the dance progresses.

Some of these connections seem obvious enough, but the overall relationship between yoga and dance is perhaps closer than one may initially think.


Source Cited:  Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga. Inner Traditions International: Rochester, VT. 1995. Print.

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