Embrace and synchonize breathing with steps (inhale=pause, exhale=step) as you do the first two figures.
To warm up, improvise for half a song with no embrace, then switch roles for the other half.
Walking side-by-side, one person sets pace and both pause on inhale, walk on exhale.
Same thing, this time try to extend the exhale by taking more steps.
Switch who’s setting the pace and do 3-4 again.
Review the First Figure. In practice hold, using just this material, let every shared inhale be a pause and every shared exhale be movement.
Build the embrace:
Stand in front of each other, hips facing hips. The follower sets the distance
Follower holds leader’s upper arm, and leader encircles followers’ body around ribcage.
Leader offers left hand, follower takes it, leader encloses hand
Focus on breath, standing tall, sensing points of contact and making whatever adjustments are needed to be comfortable, for 3 breaths
Do it again trying a slightly different distance
Try the other role
Now, using the embrace you just built, lead them in the First Figure syncing inhales to pauses and exhales to movement.
Interleave the Cross and the First Figure.
Switch roles and do 9-10
Avoid eye gazing, it can feel weird. Follower’s focus is leader’s shirt, leader’s hold soft focus taking in space around couple
Leader’s right arm should land in a neutral respectful place, about the level of the bra strap.
On handward side, make sure follower’s right arm is comfortable, not squished. Helps if leader’s arm is in plane of his own body.
Emphasize importance of comfort and adapting to different bodies.
Everyone remember to stand tall! Align feet, hips, ribcage, head
Think of the embrace is a process of exploring comfort in intimacy — not a frozen shape.
Thinking/Thinking. Together decide on a “code word” that you can use to whenever you notice your mind has wandered, that you say gently bring both partner’s atttention back to the embrace. If you hear the word, repeat it to “reboot.” For instance, “Thinking.” “Thinking.” or “Here.” “Here.”
Weight Game: Dance. When follower’s left arm feels heavy to lead, leader raises left arm!
Explore how asymmetry of embrace makes some moves easier