Partnering in sitting

Themes. Feeling confident to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to taking weight, initiation and following, taking responsibility, listening, tuning to another’s physical strength, differentiating ability.

The partnering work involves relating to others through movement and feeling the potential of a duet form. The facilitator needs to introduce the concept of the under dancer and the over dancer; the under dancer will be taking the weight and supporting the over dancer who learns to give weight efficiently.


Back-to-back sitting

Photo showing back to back sitting

Photo showing back to back sitting

Caution. Be aware of different body sizes and tightness at the back of the legs (ham strings) which will mean that some people will want to flex the knees. Invite them to go as far as they can without bending the knees to feel the gentle lengthening of the back of the legs – no forcing into discomfort is allowed. The idea is that the weight of the partner’s body on the back supports the gradual lengthening of back of the legs.

Postural alignment – sitting upright, weight balanced on both sitz bones, so the spine is as vertical as possible, check the legs are flexed to support the sitting position if the muscles at the back of the legs are too tight to stay extended without causing the spine to curve and prevent an upright posture. Supportive comments for the facilitator. Invite both to sit and notice the support of their partners’ back, to notice the shape and form of the partners’ and their own.

Demonstrate - one bends forward slowly and the other follows, back on back. The under dancer waits for the over dancer to go with them, and supports their head where possible. The under dancer can use their hands on the floor to support either side of the spine with the weight if needed. The over dancer can extend their spine backwards with support of the under-dancer. The under dancer starts to come up and the over dancer follows this initiation back to the vertical, then change roles.

PHOTOS 1002-1009 Variations to the forward-back.

Side to side - Start in the same position, take arms up to each side, palms facing forward, thumbs up. Don’t hold hands, at the most rest the arms, then tip to the same side, and follow along the underside of the arms into the floor on to that side, keeping the backs together. To return, initiate from the upper sitz bone and leg reaching into the floor and slide back up to sitting with the head coming up last.

Spiral 1

Spiral 1 Photos 1010-1015 and 1018-1025

This is the less strenuous on the back of all the back to back sitting exercises, and is about co-operation.

Starting back to back with the arms out again, turn to one side looking at the hand that goes behind. Then return to the midline and turn to the other side. Repeat and facing over the shoulder in the direction of the twist, place the extended arm alongside the outside of the leg of the partner and slide down along the underside of the arm to lie side by side with the partner with backs together. Return leading with the upper arm along the back of the partner to sitting.

Spiral 2

Caution. If there is an imbalance in the mobility of the two movers ensure the one with more works to the level of the one with less as they will still benefit and the one with less will not get injured.

Start as in spiral 1 and one follows through to lie belly down and the other holds back to lie across the back, face up. To return the one underneath initiates lifting up to spiral back up to sitting and the over dancer follows without resistance.

Spiral 3: Into ‘surfing’.

(PHOTOS back to back into Surfing sequence – 1026-1030)

Caution - be aware of a balance in size and body weight in the pairs and also not to go into the surfing with people who have back problems and if the over dancer is not able to monitor how to extend their weight over the body’s partner.

  1. In the lying position with the over dancer lying across the back, check the position of the over dancer, that they are ready to extend their body over the under-dancer.
  2. The under dancer starts a spiral roll in the direction of their partner’s head. The over dancer extends their arms over their head palms up so they can take a ride in the direction of the roll, surfing over the rolling body, sliding on their extended arms and holding their head up off the floor.
  3. The under dancer stops at the point they feel the over dancer’s centre pass over theirs and then they reverse the roll to take the over dancer back over and to sit up when their pelvis comes over.
  4. The under dancer continues to roll up to sitting back to back again.

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