Learn a language. Learn a lot of them. There are some words that are far too weak to use and require reconsideration. Other languages have much better words. They sound better. More accurate. Beautiful. Hear them and wonder why we have to even translate. So many borrowed words already, what’s a few more?
Several years ago I began learning American Sign Language. It was useful with a few friends who were deaf or hard of hearing. Translate a little. Chat. Lend a hand. Of course, that made s
ense. What made more sense were the ways that my hands, face, and body moved when I spoke. All signing requires an expressive face, sometimes mouthing the words for both our sake. I quickly began to realize that my gesturing when I did not know a sign was not helpful at all. I quickly began to realize that repeating signs did not increase understanding. I quickly began to realize that the motion of words was much more accurate than the ones coming from my mouth.
Want. Here. Space. Now. Sit. Hunger. Control. Who. Hi. Sorry. Thanks. Turtle duck rabbit.
All signs that feel more real to perform than the words that inspired them.
You see, signing reminds us that movement is deliberate and meaningful. It carries with it all the expression that our selves can muster. Every word has the levels of height and width. Exaggerated without all the ‘verys’ and ‘reallys.’ Sarcasm? Far better in ASL.
Dance is like that. The learning curve in expressive movement hinges greatly on self image. It is important to help students move past the idea of what they look like when they express. Whether it is a series to sum up a word, a gesture to encompass pages, or something tacit that demands escape and its only medium is the body in four dimensions–there is never a doubt that something is being said and I just might have to respond.
Pardon me while I go express myself.