This exercise will help you to develop the Arch of Connection, and maintain it throughout the dance.
Find a large inflatable exercise ball, at least 50cm in diameter. Deflate it to about 3/4 capacity (it’s ok to leave it full if that’s more convenient). Support the ball at the top of the arch of connection (where your two arcs meet). Do not touch the partner or the ball with your hands or arms.
Now walk front, back, and lateral, making sure to maintain a constant sensation with the ball.
This exercise will help both partners understand when and where they are losing their arcs.
Note the difficult places:
- Start of the front step for the Mark: when he extends his leg frontward he usually loses the arc.
- End of the back step for the Revel: she usually doesn’t wait for him in this moment. He should use the back leg with full knee and ankle extension to push her through the end of the step.
- Start of the back step for the Mark: he goes back with his back, breaking the arc.
After practicing with the ball, the partners can concentrate on maintaining this same sensation in a series of alternate embraces:
- chest to chest without the ball, hands in pockets
- open embrace, with the mark’s palms open so the revel has to be responsible for the connection
- close embrace, with the mark’s palms open so that he cannot hold or help the revel
In the embrace, the leader’s fingerpads should not be activated. When he pulls back, he pulls with his body against her points of connection.
The tension of the ball is replaced in the embrace with contraction of the triceps, which enables the embrace to adjust to changes of direction while remaining flexible and agile.