In the Nordic Environment
When people move to Minnesota from the south, they always comment about how their body moves differently here. They learn to walk cautiously like “penguins” on the icy winter sidewalks and streets. A lack of sun in winter causes new sensations which we call going into “hibernation mode”. Increased desires for fatty foods and napping are common. Winter changes your wardrobe, especially foot ware. The longer you live in Nordic climes, the more you become Nordic. Picking up a winter sport like skating and skiing becomes a survival tool. Folk dancing is another major hobby in our State and you can find many Nordic dance groups to join. (Of course there are escapists who dance “hot climate” dances such as Flamenco and Salsa)
Summer here is a balance of extremes. We have lots of light and waves of humid heat. There is a compelling desire to soak in one of our 10,000 lakes and community pools. And of course, we ski on the water or with roller skis on the many community pathways. We take long walks in the cooling woods. And before you know it, the leaves turn red and orange. Winter consumes us again.
Principals of Nordic Movement
The Norwegian words stav, svikt, tyngde, and kraft describe the way in which a human body must walk, dance, skate, or ski. Download Tom Løvli Demo .mov – IMG_1269
Body is held in Stav – the vertical line, plumb with the Earth. Hips and shoulders maintain alignment and the spine is straight. The knees are loose. In martial arts this may be called a “horse back riding stance.” The feet and spine make a “three legged stool” to support movement. This body structure is important for balance and connection whether walking, dancing, or skiing. The rune shape for ice (Isa) is the single vertical line. ( I )
The first step is Svikt – means giving way or sinking. It has come to mean “failure” as in how soft ice fails beneath our weight as we step on it. It is how we allow the Earth to absorb us. In the first step of the dance or first thrust of the ski, we move downward into the step. Svikt creates a WAVE for the body of down and up motion.
The second step is Tyngde – means weight and gravitational force. The second step in body movement connects to gravity as the foot seems to push off of gravity itself in order to give the upward motion its kraft or power.
The combined movement creates Kraft – means force, power and strength (both physical and spiritual). The power of the upward movement is like a “lift off” from the svikt and tyngde. It is the result of svikt and tyngde working together.
The sum-total of this body motion reminds me of an old fashioned butter churn with a deep, downward push and the light, upward pull. Power is gained through the svikt and tyngde which is necessary as the cream begins to thicken and the motion becomes more difficult to sustain.
Norwegians tend to have a deep svikt that almost gets “bouncy” in the up and down movement of the spine. Swedes have a more even and subtle svikt. I believe it has to do with landscape, just as language reflects the landscape.