One of my students mentioned this concept to me recently. She was having a hard time making connections in her body in relation to what she wanted it to do. Maybe call it uncoordinated but I think it’s different than that as I see it in students learning new movement.
The brain is trying to rewire and make sense of movement ideas. It is trying to walk and create a lead, for example or maybe another challenge would be to remember where the right foot goes in relation to the partner’s right foot. Whatever the challenge, learning is opening yourself up to a new piece of information and acquiring it presumably for future use. In Argentine Tango the lead and follow roles each have their tasks set out for them. Neither one is easier than the other (although this could be argued!) but I think it’s about 1) figuring out your learning style 2) drill the new idea – this is a good one – repeat it many times by putting it into practice. Some tasks can be dealt with by yourself and some concepts need the lead and follow together. I think the more we understand our own bodies the more we make room for that new information, that new figure, that new connection, or whatever you’re piecing together.
In the case of my student, she wanted to try to lead a few tango figures/steps. She is definitely a kinesthetic learner so having me help to manipulate her body (if you will) assisted her in her new neuro-physical programming. It was not only about manipulating her body but she found that she had to do some mental work. For her she was remembering the relationship of the 2 bodies and their movements in the overall spatial configuration as well.
I find visualization helps too. If you see what you want your body to do, or to look like, the brain helps create that. One of my favorite Neuroscientists – author, Dr. Joe Dispenza speaks about this in his article The Brain: A Record of the Past or the Map to the Future?
“…with the advent of the latest technologies in functional imagery it is apparent that it is very possible to make the brain work differently. In fact, the research out of the University of Wisconsin has proven something as simple as attention or focused concentration is a skill just like golf or tennis. In other words, the more you practice being conscious or mindful the better you get at it.” He goes on to say, “if you would mentally rehearse daily what it would be like to experience any event…, there would be internal changes taking place as if you were already beginning to experience your dream.”
So when you are having those moments that feel like your body isn’t doing what you want or that you feel unembodied get a little clarity of the function or the goal you want to accomplish and then see yourself and feel yourself doing it. Let me know how it goes!