Dressage, Derek Woods
Back

Dressage, Derek Woods

These imaginary objects were assembled from three manuals. The
first contains commands for the equine exercise called dressage.
The second manual trains the use of gesture in persuasion—the
rhetorical effect of hand movements, with diagrams. The third
manual trains artists to render facial features and expressions.

i

Halt through medium walk,
clear trot rhythm.
Straightness on centreline
and in transition:
Clear trot rhythm.
Track right working trot,
Balance and bend in turn.
Balance and bend in turn,
circle right.
Roundness and size of circle,
clear trot rhythm and bend.
Circle right rising.
Clear rhythm and bend,
circle right 20 meters
developing working canter,
balance, and smoothness.
Working trot rising.
Balance and smoothness,
clear rhythm and bend.
Circle right and change rein,
clear walk rhythm.
Trot rhythm and straightness,
change rein. Roundness
and size of circle, clear canter;
clear canter and rhythm and bend.
Halt through medium walk,
working trot rising.
Balance and smoothness, circle left.
Circle left: left lead.
Transition in and out of canter;
balance and smoothness?
Medium walk. Free walk.
Medium walk; complete freedom?
Working trot rising.
Willing and balanced transition,
clear walk rhythm.
Complete freedom to stretch neck
forward and downward,
clear walk rhythm.
Straightness on the diagonal,
ground cover.
Balance and smoothness,
clear trot rhythm.
Halt through medium walk,
clear walk rhythm.
Straightness on the centreline:
willing and balanced transition
and halt. Gait and regularity:
impulsion: the desire to move forward
with suppleness of the back
and steady tempo. Exit at A.
Proceed working trot rising.
Leave arena in free walk.
Collective marks.
Exit at B, points and remarks.
Steady tempo into elastic contact with independent,
steady hands. Balance and smoothness.
To show proper geometry of figures,
clear trot rhythm. In the arena
with correct bend, corners and circles.
In the arena with correct bend,
smooth and steady hands.

ii

Outward sweep of the prone hands,
the muscles of the chest also.
The line horizontal lateral,
bending it back in pride.
Right hand horizontal front prone;
both hands descending front supine:
postures and motions.
The finger on the lips to enjoin silence,
these may employ the index finger.
The stroke is made.
Figurative gestures
when the motions of the head are free.
When an idea is literal or figurative,
the gesture is the same.
Bending the body forward in reverence,
right hand lateral supine.
The motions of the head are free,
and the infl ections manly and dignified.
Bending the body forward in reverence;
the ample space through which
the arm and hand are made to move;
unexpected positions, elevations and transitions.
The firmness and decision of the whole action,
the sameness and barrenness of gesture,
the line horizontal lateral:
the stroke is made.
The idea is literal or furtive;
the gesture is the same.
The lines traced by the free foot;
what Cicero calls virilis flexis laterum
the manly inclination of the sides.
Straight lines indicate directness of thought.
The ictus, or emphatic stroke:
without the use of the wrist joint,
there can be no grace.
Movement so performed
obtrudes itself on the attention.
The head should move easily from side to side:
the ascending gestures belong to the imagination.
Like the awkward youth whose father
sent him to the dancing master,
that he might learn to stand still.
The gesture horizontal oblique supine,
in straight lines and curves,
through large and small space.
Like the awkward youth whose father
sent him to the dancing master,
that he might learn the future
as related to time.
The line horizontal lateral
employs the mixed gesture,
bending it back in pride.
The future as related to time,
the manly inclination of the sides,
the stroke is made.
The ample space through which
the arm and hand are made to move;
the sameness and barrenness of gesture.
The outward sweep of the prone hands—
the ictus, or emphatic stroke,
when the motions of the head are free.

iii

Flaring outward slightly,
the mandible is the one that moves,
bending left and right verticals.
It requires quite a muscular network
to do all those funny things with the mouth.
A shading here, a break in the angle there,
transforms our reading of the mouth
from one mood to the other.
The best way to understand the shape
is by clearly visualizing
bony rims, curving from side to side,
and bending from above to below.
The mouth is freely suspended.
It’s only attachment to the skull is indirect.
The frame folded a bit along its waist;
the in and out curve of the outer edge.
This is perhaps the heaviest line in the face.
Not so much disappearing into the mouth as condensing
with a short uneasy motion.
This pose suggests singing or yawning,
the sense of elasticity and stretching,
downward slightly and inward,
with a short uneasy motion.
The temporal life sometimes shows on people:
this is the location of the earhole.
A shading here, a break in the angle there;
the crease deepens.
We must avoid emphasizing the wrong wrinkles.
The mouth is going around a much
tighter turn than you might expect.
The strong eyebrow ridge is a more constant indicator:
you can follow the raised bony surface back to the ear;
the mouth follows this surface closely.
Flaring outward slightly,
the mouth is freely suspended.
Its only attachment to the skull is indirect.
It’s like a piece of red tape
stretching around the curve of the teeth;
and notice how the edge softens:
a shading here and there
transforms our reading of the mouth
from one mood to the other.
The eye is seen as two curved lines
with a dark space between.
The lip is surrounded with a soft fold—
no expression is similar.
Flaring outward slightly and curving
with a short uneasy motion:
skin below piles in kidney shaped blob.
Oblique above-the-lid fold,
bag under eye.
Sharp fold under lower lip,
mentalis bulge—
As it moves on to the fleshy part of the nose,
the crease deepens.
Soft, rope like bulges
neutral positions;
the chin may wrinkle slightly.
Soft fold under lower lip:
bag under eye.
As a minute or two in front of the mirror will demonstrate,
the mouth is capable of being stretched,
squeezed, or curled into just about any shape.
Obviously, it requires quite a muscular network,
action of corrugator and middle fibers,
to allow us to do all those funny things with the mouth.
A careful look will reveal
certain very subtle surface forms:
oblique above-the-lid fold
crow’s feet and lower lid fold;
those significant little twitches
the sense of elasticity and stretching.
The temporal life sometimes shows on people,
shows up in all three views.
The entire frame folded a bit along its waist.
The in-and-out curves of the outer edge.