The First Rush of Movement: A Phenomenological Preface to Movement Education


  • Stephen J. Smith



Children’s lived experiences of movement indicate possibilities for teaching them to be at home in increasingly challenging domains of activity. Especially significant are movements that reflect landscape connection, that carry an intention not confined to individual purpose, and that are enhanced by observational glance. The first rush of movement is described phenomenologically as an essential feature of these movements and of the vital consciousness they engender. The phenomenon of the first rush of movement attests to a mimetic impulse towards otherness that overrides personal motive and moderates an otherwise containing gaze. Its intentionality is evident in an extended, inclusive and progressive range of human movements that affirm a natural, intimate relation with others and the world at large. The embrace, caress and kiss are described as primary, elemental gestures from which movement disciplines sustaining the first rush of moment and its mimetic impulse can be cultivated. Accordingly, this study prefaces a practice of education in which children’s movements, originating in responsiveness to landscape and motivated by a mimetic impulse, can be guided towards enhanced and sustaining world relations. Vital qualities of movement can be sustained from childhood to adulthood and from the most rudimentary contacts with the world to the most refined, skill-based encounters.