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  • Writer's pictureSunita Asnani

#10 Animal Flow

In response to the cancellation of dance trainings, rehearsals, and performances due to COVID, I've made it a point to get in a regular workout this year. This consists of alternating interval jogging and animal flow exercises, which are part of the Ido Portal repertoire.

Ido Portal is star coach and hyped movement guru of the fitness world. His method is a physical fitness practice that uses one's own body weight and movements rather than external weights and machines to develop strength, agility and flexibility. The approach is informed by Ido Portal's longtime capoeira practice, but draws from all sorts of movement teachings, from various martial arts to acrobatics, yoga, parkour and dance. Ido Portal became known in 2015 when he prepared mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor, now a world star, for his featherweight world championship fight. He had him crawling across mat floors like a lizard and picking up playing cards in flight. McGregor won his fight by knockout after 13 seconds in the first round. If you want to know what you can learn from monkeys and children, and why curiosity is the better guide to life than fun, you should read this Interview with Ido Portal.

For more than a month now I'm working on it - to my great joy since one week no longer alone, but together with my dance partner Nadine Lüthi. The approach of Animal Flow is directly linked to our last piece (see #8 Out of water). There we started from the assumption that, from an evolutionary point of view, humans have not yet really arrived at their bipedal existence. In the continuation of our research, we would like to continue to question, rethink, re-understand human locomotion.

In Animal Flow, it is believed that learning and practicing multiple quadropedal movement patterns is the key to vitality and well-being. Humans, descended from quadropedes, have created an artificial environment devoid of any call to climb, jump, crawl, shimmy or overcome. As a result, we neglect our biomechanics and what our body was originally designed for.

Cameron Shayne, founder of Budokon Yoga, says that anatomically, we humans are still in the process of evolving, in this transition from quadruped to Homo erectus. Because our pelvis and spine have to align differently for upright posture, all the muscles and fascia involved are under great stress. When we adopt a quadrupedal posture and move in it, many things can relax and integrate again. The upper and lower body learn to balance each other (Quadrupedal Animal Locomotion Documentary).

So, in order to reactivate and tickle out of us our innate movement abilities and human movement intelligence, Animal Flow (also Animal Movement or Animal Walk) offers a great variety of exercises, some of them funny, which can be performed in different sequences one after the other. Just to make one thing clear: These exercises are super - exhausting!

So Nadine and I diligently rode, crawled, rolled and hopped through snow, ice and mud. The surprise came when we went to a real dance studio for the first time in a long time and wanted to film the workout for this blog. The different logic of being in the body, the love for dance that the studio awakens in us! It was like coming home. With the orientation in the room, placement of the camera, the light coloured clothing to stand out from the black dance floor - we suddenly saw not just workout - exercises, but movement material that could lead to a piece of dance.


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