With a piece of chalk

I linked this video a little while ago on Twitter:

Cool message right? I want to focus in on just one part of it which reminded me of some stuff I was working on earlier (more on that shortly). Playing within the lines of chalk, transforming the otherwise unremarkable surroundings into a space for play and dance. That’s a really good idea, and you definitely do not have to be an ultra skilled breakdancing kid to take advantage of it (or a breakdancer at all). Drawing, or imagining, some lines on the ground is just a way to give yourself a specific context which then can be used to create games or challenges. The best part about it? It can be done anywhere.

You don’t have to create a hopscotch setup either, a single box, circle, or even a hexagon (why not?) can work great. Drawing straight lines is hard enough for me already, so I’ll stick to just drawing four of them. When I first did this at the beginning of this year it was completely accidental. I was still recovering from a bone bruise on my right foot, I had four puzzle mat pieces in my living room (these guys), and I wanted to move around. Queue me trying to move around on all fours (okay, mostly threes) while staying on the mats. Of course I forgot to record any of this…so I did some quick video of the same idea earlier this week, now with all four limbs fully functional! Harder to see the lines than I would like, but it should help with picturing the idea:

In this case I was so focused on trying to show different things that it didn’t flow together very well. Ideally to make this work well you should avoid thinking too much about what you want to do. Just move, let your body do what feels right at that moment, and play with different ideas. This sort of play will make strongly ingrained patterns obvious. Even in those two minutes I used the same things multiple times, because that was what came to mind automatically—it becomes more obvious the faster you try to link movements especially.

Just moving in the box is pretty interesting, but I try to place even more limits to force myself to try different things. I have three basic rules I like add on: only the border is safe, can’t touch the border, or I cannot use one of my limbs. In the video most of the stuff was using the first rule, as in a smaller box like that it’s the most interesting to me. Making a larger square (or circle) can give you the room necessary to try more dynamic movements and combinations. There are also tons of other ways to change this up and/or make it more difficult, but they would take forever to list. Take the basic idea from here, tweak it to your preferences, and make it your own.

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