The well-made phrase and 3-D Workout™

The well-made phrase and 3-D Workout™

A movement phrase or combination is a dynamic statement with its own character, purpose and challenges for the body. It has a particular intention and focus. It may stand on its own or be linked to other movement phrases. The best phrases are well-made.

I learned and performed well-made phrases from James Payton, the choreographer for the Resident Dance Company at SUNY Brockport in the 1970s. Jim was a musician and had danced for many years with José Limón. As a choreographer, he made it his daily task to create well-made phrases, practice them to both sides, reverse them or craft them in retrograde (backwards). I danced many of these phrases in his choreographies. Today I look for those phrases in the dance performances I attend. I celebrate when the rare one appears.

The sequences in my own 3-D Workout are well-made phrases. I strive for harmonious, coherent sequences that move in an organic and orderly way through the space around the body. Such phrases have a rhythm of exertion/recuperation–resting and working–all the while moving. Grouped together, they systematically challenge the mover to use the body fully in the space. The transitions from one plane to another make kinesthetic sense. They may be continuous or abrupt for contrast and challenge but are never awkward or arbitrary.

I originally built these phrases/combinations around conventional muscle conditioning. I experimented with familiar resistance training to make it more interesting and functional for myself. Why not enjoy the fitness experience? And craft it into an program that supports function and coordination? What sets 3-D apart is doing resistance training while standing, shifting weight and changing levels. The art of weight shift and level change is mostly lost in today’s pedestrian so 3-D beginners learn those skills. Later at the intermediate and advanced levels, students learn more complex phrases that build coordination, balance and good posture.

I love making and doing these well-made phrases for fitness. They are little nuggets to explore the space, challenge the body and capture the mind. This is whole-body resistance work in contrast to more familiar joint isolations such as bicep curls. The pay-off is the excellent conditioning these phrases provide without wrecking the body. By systematically moving in all the planes we gently load and condition all of the muscles and fascia related to every joint. 3-D delivers fitness with the joy of moving and the enjoyment of working out. Go to class, use the DVDs/downloads and enjoy a truly functional fitness experience.