Anna Holmström

BACK ON TRACK  is an open research on the topic of how to re-enter movement practise while recovering from a knee injury, within the fields of contemporary dance & breaking. In addition Anna will also perform administrative work for her creative platform Petricore Movement

Between February 1st to 30th June Anna has been granted a research grant funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media ( BKM ) in the program NEUSTART KULTUR, aid program DIS-TANZEN of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland.

Follow her journey through the next months in the blog below.

 

 

BACK ON TRACK

by Anna Holmström

8 May 2022  |  Nothing special

This week I’ve been dancing, doing rehab exercise and without getting any new, special or interesting thought or idea about movement.

It made me think about how many artists today are somehow becoming content creators, working to come up with fast works, videos or pictures to show something new. There is not always time to reflect, and just do or share something ordinary. 

I don’t say that one way is better than the other. But just a gentle reminder that not everyday is a day when genius ideas are born. Sometimes it’s those days in between that are somewhat ordinary, where the body and brain have time to grow and deepend the knowledge already collected.

 

1 May 2022  Battle

This weekend I was judging the Outbox Me Battle in Berlin. This is a fusion battle that focus on bringing different kinds of dance styles, from contemporary, hip-hop, waacking and krump. to name a few.

The battle also brings attention to the partnering aspect. How well the dancers can move together with another dancer.

It was great to watch so many different styles of dancers challenging themselves.

The video is from my judge demo improvisation, where I really tried to focus on taking my time and not stressing about what I should do next. To just be in the moment. It is not the strongest set I’ve ever danced, at some part I got a bit bored of how I was moving, but I do feel that I could keep my calm throughout the solo.

24 April 2022  Taking classes

This week I’ve focused on taking classes in ballet and contemporary.
I’m feeling inspired by learning new ways of moving as well as revisiting techniques that I havn’t practised for a while.

After a longer period of weeks were I’ve been practising alot on my own I tend to get bored of my own movement, feeling like I always do the same things while improvising. Through taking classes I gather new inspiration from the teachers and the dancers in class. 

 I feel that I’m starting to rebuild the turnout strength in my legs for ballet, but also feeling that my legs are still very heavy to lift.  For that there is still some way to go before coming back to proper strength.

In the contemporary classes I feel that I’m being able to move easier up and down from the floor, not being afraid to use my legs and daring to push off my legs more.

Photographer: Patrick Zylka

17 April 2022  Tension

During the last month I’ve been able to start practising bigger jumps and leaps. ( YES!!! ) Even though the amount of jumps per practise is gradually increasing I have felt quite alot of tension and stiffness in my feet and ankles, especially on the leg that was injured.

Two things that has really helped  is:
1.) Massage from my feet to my knees in the evening before going to bed.

2.) To remind myself while practising that it is not only my feet that should take all my weight. To really focus on activating my thighs, glutes and core to let the different muscle groups support each other. I think that my body is trying to unconsiously help to take load/weight of the knees by tensing and overworking my feet.

Photographer: Anna Holmström

10  April 2022  Warm up

Today I’m sharing one of this weeks warm ups. Since I did lots of rehab and strengthening excersices the day before and my body was feeling quite sore I decided to do a improvisation warm up.
 
The task is simple: focus on moving one body part at the time,  feet, knees, hips, stomach and so on. Go through the whole body, take a little stretch where it feels good or needed.
Spend some extra attention on body parts where it is stiff and not so easy moving. Add more tasks, multiple body parts moving, one part leading and the body follows, imagining moving from the skeleton, the muscles or the outside of the body.
 

Finished off with a little stretch and some floorwoork improv just to get used to put other body parts than feet ( for example hands, arms, upperback ) on the floor. It is nothing fancy. But the body warms up, and both body and brain starts to be creative!

3  April 2022  Jumping

I’m finally starting to progress into bigger and more style specific jumps! I have always loved jamuping. It’s been one of my favourite movements, to be able to move fast and explosive through the space, extending the body to it’s maximum. With the kneeinjury there has been some mental blockades: Will it hurt when I push off? Will it hurt when landing? Am I pushing to much? Am I not doing enough? Are my muscles strong enough to move like this?

What I’ve learned is that pain can be both bad and good. Sometimes pain tells you that you overdid something, that you need rest, or strengthening and sometimes it is just the body reacting to a new challange in a way which is actually helping the healing process.  Next week I’ll share some of my rehab excersices, that I’ve been working on to get back to this level. Just need to remember to film while practising.
 

 

28 March 2022  Berlin Basement Jam

During this research project I also want to share some information about the Berlin dance scene and practise spots that I like to practise at. Especially after the past years of social distancing  I think many people can feel quite disconnected to what is happening in the scene. This week I’ll share about one of the places I go to weekly: Berlin Basement Jam

For the past 2 months I’ve gone to practise at the Berlin basement jam on their wednesday sessions organised by Mince EV. It is a free event, an open space  where dancers from various different styles ( hip-hop, house, breaking, locking, popping, contemporary and more ) come to practise and exchange. The level of dancers is beginners to professionals. Three dj’s are playing during the sessions and the overall feeling in the room is very open, varm hearted and inspiring.

I’d warmly recommend this place both if you are new in the game or and old cat! Wednesdays 19.30-22.00.

This week there is a battle from 19.00-22.00! Join in or just come to watch!

Adress: Oyoun, Lucy Lameck Straße 32, 12049 Berlin

21 March 2022  Repetition

In todays social media flows we are used to always see new content which can be quite stressful and add pressure on producing, not the creationprocess or the actual quality of the work. Since I’m working as a freelancer and also creating my own works it has been a long time since I had this amount of time to be able focus on movement exploration. I  feel that every week I’m getting stronger physically as well as learning new skills, getting ideas for new projects, ways of moving.
 

To avoid  too much repetition of the same movements  it helps for me to change place where I practise or to practise and exchange with different people or to different music. But I think it is also important to find that balance between repetition and new input. For keeping my flexibility and strength there are certain excercises that I have to do every week. Sometimes it is hard to motivate myself to do them, but in the end it takes more energy to think about how irritating these excercises are than the actual work. A little bit like stressing about cleaning the house, but instead of doing it, just getting more stressed by sitting around thinking about it.

Movement should inspire, be fun. But not all training or excersices are fun. But they are neccesary to be able to do certain moves later!

 

 

 

13 March 2022  Today VS Yesterday

This week it’s the first time in one and a half years that I am able to run ( read jog ) for  5 kilometers without walking in between AND without pain!I remember  my first try in September 2021 where I jogged for 1 minute, and walked 1 minute. It felt like my legs didn’t really know how to cooperate, I felt more like a newborn horse trying to take it’s first steps.

For me it is important to sometimes look back to see where I come from. Looking back I see the progress I’ve made over the last year of rehab. If I look back further I see how much I still have to go to even come back into what was “normal” capacity for me before the injury.

The “normal” or “best” capacity changes everyday. Sometimes it’s worse than yesterday, sometimes it’s better. In the picture to the right I’m doing a pose I have done for more than 20 years. But with age, it gets more and more difficult , some days my back tells me straight NO. Today was a day when it worked. Not a good day, not a bad day. Just another day.  Some days I get angry and just wanna scream  “Come on! You could do that 10 years ago.. do it again now!”.

The older I get the more I understand how and when it is possible to push my body. Our bodies really knows best. They tell us to rest when we are tired, to eat when we are hungry, and to not do things that are painful. We just have to listen.

 

6 March 2022  Floorwork

I have always loved floorwork. With the kneeinjury it’s been a struggle to gain confidence and feeling free while dancing and especially improvising on the floor. The back of my mind wants to control every little detail, which in some way is good. It means that I won’t overstep and do something that my body isn’t ready for. But at some point I also have to trust the healing process and know that I am ready to move forward towards full mobility.

The last weeks I’ve been working on finding new ways of sliding and rotations on the floor, which also has alot to do with daring to try. It also means falling ( alot !! )before understanding the technicalities of a certain movement. The video clip shows a short sequence from one of the first practises back on the floor.

28 Feb 2022  Liquid freezes

This week I have played around with freezes, ( a freeze  is basically to “hit”/”perform” a freezing moment in a certain position. )

My task was to play with different freezes as a starting position but to then further explore what possibilities there are to still keep moving.

In the position in the clip to the left the position itself demands alot of strenght to be able to just stay in the position. To be able to move my legs I realised there are also subtle shiftes in weight that happens in the lower part of the spine, giving more freedom the hips and legs to move.

The next step would be to let go of the hand that is just there for support (and in my case helps me to not fall haard! ) and then also to be able to lift the head from the floor. Let’s see if that will develop in the next months!

20 Feb 2022  Taking my time

This week my focus has been to move slow but with precision in my improvisation.

It’s been quite interesting to explore, especially since I do love to move big and dance with alot of explosive movements.

Working on the opposite has been challengeing but productive. When slowing down in my body suddenly my brain started to take a bigger space, questioning what I’m doing while dancing, if it’s good enough or if it’s boring.

In my sessions I let myself move slowly, just focusing on the task, accepting that my brain was asking questions but not giving the overanalysing thoughts more space than that they were simply there.

After some time I found myself in a state of flow where the brain stopped asking and accepted the tempo. Which gave me opportunity to focus on precision in each movement and also musicality.

Slowly I could start playing with dynamics in tempo but still keeping this calm feeling even while moving faster. Looking forward to try this out further, and interested to see how it can affect my emotions and way of dancing in a battle for example, where the pressure of “doing something good” sometimes takes overhand and makes me to just throw out movements without making sense.

The picture was taken last week in photosession with Patrick Zylka!

12 Feb 2022  Perspective

This week has been filled with many different ways of moving. Dancepractise, acrobatics practise, bouldering and a photoshoot.

I’m slowly being able to move more  which feels great. In this phase of recovery I find it  difficult to balance between being too careful vs. doing to much, especially when surrounded by dancers and acrobats that are all going full out and doing crazy moves!

What helps me when I put pressure on myself to “perform or push a bit extra” in practise is to take a step back, do a slow stretch for a couple of minutes and think about why. For who is my practise, is it for other people or is it for myself? What do I need to do today to be able to come back to performing on stage towards the summer? Perspective. It doesn’t always work, but it is a tool that helps for me.

6 Feb 2022  The never ending ( digital ) paperworks

During this week I have begun the project BACK ON TRACK. A project where I will dig deeper into movement research for the first time without having the pressure of producing a performance as a result.

I’ve been thinking of how I want to present this project and I think a bloglike way is quite good and an easy way to follow my process. It’s the first time writing in a bloglike format. Let’s see how it works out!

This week has been more administrative than dancing. For freelancers so much time goes to administrative duties that often are hidden from the common eye. Paperworks, answering e-mails, setting up workshops, producing performances, checking up, proofreading, writing applications and informative texts.

Last year I suffered a cartilage injury on my right knee, from which I am now on the way to recover from. This week I’ve had a calmer dance week, a sort of recovery phase as part of my rehab. This means I have had a more soft approach in my practise, to let my body recover from the past 4 weeks of quite intense strengthening training.

As dancers I think we can learn alot from professional athletes that have scheduled different phases for build up, strenghtening, technique to perform their best on competitions. The issue for dancers is that many of us have to perform on top all year around and it is hard to find time for recovery.

Gefördert durch die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Programm NEUSTART KULTUR, Hilfsprogramm DIS-TANZEN des Dachverband Tanz Deutschland.