Countertechnique provides tools for body and mind to deal with the demanding dance practice of the 21st century. It is a movement system to help the dancer think about the dancing body, focusing on the process of incorporating information into action. Within a clear structure of exercises, the Countertechnique class thoroughly prepares the body for rehearsal and performance, enabling dancers to move bigger, more fluidly and more spatially, while becoming stronger and more flexible.
By continuously and sequentially directing and counter directing parts of the body through space, Countertechnique allows the moving dancer to work with an ever changing dynamic balance. This dynamic balance reduces the pressure on the overall body structure and can be changed at any given moment. The consistent use of the counter direction in all movements is key to the technique; both the awareness and application of this principle is trained throughout the Countertechnique class.
The Countertechnique theory is organized around two principal notions: the ‘toolbox’ and ‘scanning’. The toolbox is the systematically organized collection of tools for body and mind with which Countertechnique works, often visualized as a virtual map that dancers carry with them. Scanning defines the process of dancers continuously and actively observing their mindset and body in order to choose the most appropriate tool(s) from the toolbox for the situation they find themselves in. Scanning allows dancers to make active use of the toolbox in their daily practice of training, rehearsing and performing.
In Countertechnique classes, dancers are introduced step-by-step to the various tools – making sure, however, that the priority always lies with experiencing and enjoying the difference in moving, rather than first having to understand the tools intellectually. Classes are therefore very accessible, and can be taught to participants of all levels. Dancers are encouraged to be pro-active in discovering connections and solutions, to be less concerned with judging themselves and to work in a healthy way with regard to body and mind. Throughout the process dancers increasingly become their own teachers, allowing them to practice and progress even at times when a teacher is not available!
Countertechnique was developed by Anouk van Dijk throughout her twenty-five year career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Over the last fifteen years, the knowledge and experience she gained – in constant dialogue with her dancers – was gradually transformed into a detailed theoretical system and a teaching method, which now together form the Countertechnique system.