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IADMS 2018 Helsinki: Interview with 'A Day For Teachers' Speaker - Martin Puttke

Posted By IADMS Dance Educators' Committee, Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Martin Puttke


1 – Could you tell us about your presentation theme at the 28 th IADMS Annual Conference (#IADMS2018)?


The explosive development of virtuosity and technique in contemporary dance/ballet frequently encounters not only the dancer’s physical limitation but also, and most importantly, the limitations of conventional teaching methods. Occasionally choreographers forget that performers have to incorporate their creations, which very often means that the latter have to hurl defiance at their physical boundaries - resulting in health problems or even hindering their artistic performance. In this presentation I will show the basic concept of my innovative teaching and working method in classical ballet. In order to respond pedagogically and methodically to the problem above mentioned, I will make use of a special kinematic analysis of dance elements by using a method of analysis borrowed from linguistic studies: The lexical function of the so-called morphemes. In any language, the smallest indivisible and yet meaningful unit of a word is called morpheme. The human motor system consists of just such comparable smallest units of a movement, what I call motor-morphemes. These motor-morphemes constitute any human movement, regardless of whether one is walking, lifting something, does sports or, for the purpose of this study, dancing. They are the core precept of every artistic movement, in classical as well as in contemporary dance. The conceptualization "dance art native motion system" (acronym DANAMOS) considers the existence of seven motor morphemes which are used in the kinematic analysis of all elements in the classical dance canons. The reduction of the technical structure of a dance movement to its core elements, the motor morphemes, greatly facilitates the understanding and physical learning of a complex movement - and prevents the excessive and exhausting physical work, the traditional "learning by doing". Furthermore, the motor morphemes permit a focus on the performer’s sole physical condition enacting more space to the performer’s artistic creativity and technical adaption - and most importantly to the dancers’ health. I have been practicing this didactic conceptualization for more than 30 years in ballet classes for children from the age of eight, as well as working with international ballet stars. It is very simple to understand, it only demands a change of thinking about dance technique. We tested this procedure with biomechanics and mathematicians in biomechanical lab. I will be presenting the hitherto results about the seven motor morphemes in the format of graphic and video material.



2 – Why is it important to discuss this topic with the IADMS community? What are the implications of this topic to the dance sector/dance health professionals?


The dance art native motion system gives dance art and dance medicine a common platform. This interface enables discussions and mutual understanding that promotes the implementation of medical and curatorial clues without directly affecting the aesthetic and artistic execution of dance elements. This anthropological perspective on such sophisticated system as classical dance allows the introduction of scientific knowledge of medicine, neuro-cognition and neurophysiology, biomechanics/kinematics or physics and mathematics, without being in danger of directly influencing artistic and aesthetic issues. The IADMS community will benefit on the following topics:

● How to avoid excessive physical work in the ballet studio

● Consideration of physical / anatomical individual installations

● The avoidance of accident causes in Allegro - especially petit allegro (this aspect is the focus of my presentation)

● Misunderstandings within the schools of the classical dance about body axis or technique of take-off from the ground in jumps, for instance.

● The primacy of aesthetics - en dehors - or stylistic norms at the expense of the health of the dancer



3 – How will your presentation help dance educators to apply research with students and participants in the classroom?


The dance art native motion system purposely separates the artistic aspects of movement execution from the physiological and functional ones. Through kinematic analysis, teachers and students will more clearly get the opportunity to perceive and incorporate the functionality of the individual body segments. However, by taking in account the seven morphemes which will function here as a “neutral basis” of the canon of the classical dance (aka DANAMOS) teachers and students can throw in together a much more successful collaboration with the medicine and the biomechanics. The dancer will better understand the physiological and functional foundations of every artistic movement sequence. In understanding those foundations, he/she will pour it on his/her individual artistic outline. The awareness and correction of a movement will be promoted as well as the cognitive architecture of the movement. On this basis, an especial form of ideokinetic training could be used to facilitate the student’s learning process. This is of enormous importance, especially for the correction of wrong movements, in periods of convalescence and also for the prevention of accidents. I strongly believe that a worthwhile interdisciplinary collaboration amongst art, medicine, neurocognition, physics and biomechanics benefits the dance and scientific community as a whole but above all dance students and teachers in the classroom.



4 - What are your thoughts on IADMS relevance for your field of work?


IADMS brings together all the relevant scholars, dance pedagogues, doctors and dancers worldwide. It promotes a new sort of knowledge-sharing which is crucial for the dance community and its practical work, regardless of style or technique. The education for dance pedagogues is still lagging behind this development. Although dance medicine can not replace a deficiency of didactics and methodology it still can places the dancer's health in the foreground. Ultimately, it will inspire, guide and protect the teaching and working process with specific medical knowledge and empiricism. I am looking forward to learning new perspectives which will endow the innovational approach of the dance art native motion system.



5 - Personally, what is the importance of attending to IADMS?


I am confident that by attending the 2018 IADMS Conference I will gather valuable and insightful knowledge about the state of development in dance medicine and tie it in my research in dance didactics and to broaden my empirical knowledge.



6 - What do you think you are most looking forward to on this year’s conference?


To meet colleagues from dance medicine and dance education in order to establish interesting contacts to get beyond the conference in a hands-on exchange for future collaboration.



Martin Puttke Berlin, August 2018


Tags:  Annual Conference 

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