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2. Chest-centre. This law, an aspect of the preceding one, makes the chest the centre of action. It utilizes the space in front of the body, and avoids side movements of the arm.
3. Buoyancy. The law of elasticity or strength demands that the gesture be made on a higher plane, instead of al. lowing gravity to drag down the body and arms.
4. Economy. According to the law of economy, every movement of the speaker should be purposeful and significant. Economy prevents habitual movements, pacing to and fro, wild swinging of the arms, and other movements that are meaningless for the purpose at hand. This law is a particular aspect of the specialization of function.
5. Grace. Curved movements are graceful. The principle of succession contributing to grace, means that the gesture flows from the centre. Gestures, of the arms especially, are all related to the chest. In referring to the spire of a church, for instance, to stiffen the arm, or to lift all of it simultaneously, violates this principle of grace. Instead, when properly done, the hand is brought in front near the chest; the arm gradually unfolds till the hand points to the spire, palm down. In this, the movement is flexible, and without muscular tension.
6. Evolution. The expression centres in the eye, first manifests itself there, and then radiates to the extremities of the body. The pugilist watches his antagonist's eyes instead of his fists; for the purpose and direction of the blow first manifests itself there.
7. Symbolization. According to this principle, one can treat ideas as he treats material objects. In this case, ideas are symbolized. A cube of wood may be employed. The hand beneath it, palm up, supports the block; but on the top it crushes it down; edged in front, it protects it; at the side, limits or defines ; removed from beneath, refuses support, and it falls; a movement against it overthrows it. The hand, in the same positions or movements, not only
appropriately, but naturally, expresses the same attitude or action toward ideas.
8. Sequence. Gesture precedes or accompanies the spoken word. “My Lord Northumberland, we license your departure with your son.” Just before or while uttering the word “departure” make a strong and rapid movement or wafture of the hand toward the door, signifying, depart immediately. Make the same gesture while or after pronouncing the word “son," and mark the difference.
9. Velocity. The rapidity of a movement is inversely proportionate to the mass moved. A trifling matter is tossed off with a quick movement; but, “up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone,” is labored and slow. Gesture, representing motion, corresponds to the rate of the motion represented.
10. Opposition. In making a movement of two parts of the body in gesture, each part should move in an opposite direction, or else a parallelism is perpetrated. To illustrate: If in salutation, the hand be lifted near the face, and the arm, body, and all together, be moved forward in bowing, we have a parallelism. If, however, while inclining the head and body, we lift the hands, the movements between these parts are in opposition; then, moving the head back to the erect position, we toss the hand out and down in opposition.
11. Suavity and Vehemence. Tender, kind emotions express themselves in curved movements. Over-excitement, "nervousness," and malevolent emotions express themselves in angular gestures. Romeo's gestures are curyed; Shylock's are angular.
Faults. The faults of gesture are the violations of the principles already given.
Praxis. I fear that a disproportionate amount of time is frequently given to gesture. I am convinced, also, that the best results follow a restriction of the work to a few
leading features. First, take suitable exercises for breaking up the tension or rigidity of the muscles. Secondly, practise a few typical gestures of the objective type; and thirdly, let the gestures come in connection with the speaking, and then criticise them. The aim of all practice is to secure spontaneous, graceful, and significant gesture.
Preparatory Relaxing Exercises. The first effort of the student in this connection should be directed to free the arms, in short, the whole body, from all rigidity; to destroy habitual movements by counteracting exercises and general development. Then the body is prepared to respond to the action of the mind. Only the parts involved at the time should be used. The passive or elastic condition should be the prevailing one.
1. Dangle the hands, and shake the arms freely from the shoulder, up and down, whirling in, then out ; now rotate the body on the hip-joints, letting the arms and hands fly whither they may, while rotating the body.
Lift the main arm until the elbow is level with the shoulder. Shake it back and forth, letting the forearm dangle to the very finger-tips.
3. (1) Slowly lift the arm extended forward up as high as the level of the head, then down, the back of the wrist leading while moving up, the face of the wrist leading down, while the fingers trail. Take care to make the movements from the shoulder easy and flowing.
(2) Make this same movement; hands level with the shoulders in bringing them near together in front ; then out till extended from the sides. Continue these; first (1), then (2)
In these movements, command a steady body, and feel balanced with the "sea-poise," as though buoyed up by a surrounding element.
4. Practise any exercise that will give suppleness to the limbs.
In all these movements avoid muscular rigidity. Let the mind be easy, else the mental constraint will sympathetically affect the muscles.
5. Combination movement. Slowly lift the arm extended in front, the fingers dangling or trailing; when the hand is level with the eye, hold and sight over the thumb to an object on the wall ; hold in this position, and depress the wrist ; the open palm is now from you, imagine a ball against the palm, turn the hand out around this imaginary ball, now the fingers are depressed and palm up and out ; fold the fingers on the palm, beginning with the little finger. We now have the half fist (thumb unfolded). Fold this half fist upon the forearm, the forearm on the main arm. Let the half fist dip in and down, the elbow moving up in opposition. Now unfold the arm, palm down, extending with a final thrust, fingers straightened.
This movement educates the movement of the hand and arm in preparing for a gesture, and also combines movements found in many gestures. It also educates the muscles to nicety and precision of action.
In this combination, there are at least eight distinct movements. These may be resolved into three general movements, the preparation in lifting, the folding in, and the folding out. The latter is spiral.
All the above exercises should be practised, first by the right, then by the left arm and hand, and then by both.
Cultivate muscular consciousness. When the hands are passive by the sides, we feel their weight.
The criteria in the series to follow will give opportunity to carry out this same principle of freeing the body, and educating the muscles to perform the most commonly used expressions.
As the corresponding emotions are associated with their appropriate expression, these criteria will have the additional advantage of the constructive element in their practice.
First Series. - 1. Presentation or Revelation. In this gesture, the hand is at first partially closed, easily held in front as high as the waist, and is then extended front, slightly oblique. One or both hands may be used. “Let us look at this," illustrates the type of which this gesture is expressive.
2. Extensive, or Universal reference. Arm, or arms, starting in front of chest, extended level with the shoulder, palm up, slightly oblique. "As wide as the world," "From one extreme to the other,', give examples of extensive reference.
3. Definition. Both hands brought in front, palms facing each other, separated from one to two feet. “We are shut up to this," illustrates this type.
4. Near reference. Arm easily thrown forward, half oblique, palm exposed. “There it is before you in plain sight,” gives
5. Far reference. Hand extended level with the shoulder, side oblique, palm down, fingers straightened.
“ And I on the opposite shore will be," affords an example.
6. Distant future. Arm extended front, level with the shoulder, palm of hand down.
7. Distant past. Arm extended to the rear, oblique, level with shoulders, palm of hand down. “The opportunity is · gone forever.”
8. Far reference, lofty. Arm extended, angle about fortyfive degrees, palm of hand down, index finger prominent. Type : “ Hang a lantern aloft."
9. Aspiration, or elevated affirmation. In this, the hands are thrown up, nearly overhead, palms to speaker. “Let us look up full of hope and courage," illustrates this type.
All of these gestures suggest, if they do not fully reach, the chest as their starting-point. These and the succeeding series should be practised till they become spontaneous.
Second Series. — The following series is mainly oratorical in character.
1. Repulsion. In repulsion, the hand is lifted, palm out,