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LESSON XXVI

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF POSITION

THE student has thus far known positions merely as mechanical arrangements of the feet. By this time he may begin to study their significance. Position A. — The positions described in Lesson I, as already stated, are the ordinary positions. They are used for narration, description, and all ordinary thoughts where there is no great emotion. Position B. — When position A is enlarged by stepping out farther with the forward foot, and allowing the back heel to leave the floor, it becomes stronger, and is used for solicitation, entreaty, earnestness, and appeal. In addition to these, the student may by this time feel

FIG. 48. Columbus. See note, p. Ice.

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FIG. 49. A position for dignified oratorical utterance. The Niehaus statue of Garfield at Cincinnati. From Lorado Taft's American Sculpture, by permission.

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the need of still more emphatic positions, especially when he is making gestures, and below a few are given. Position A Major. — Exactly like the position described in Lesson I is another position in which the forward foot is placed its full length in advance, instead of half its length. See Figure 49. NOTE. – In this position, because the feet are farther apart, there is a tendency to put the weight either on the front foot or the back foot.

The student may do either, provided he always keeps the weight more on the front foot in aggressive moods.

This position may be used to denote anything bold, lofty, dignified, heroic, or impassioned.

Position B Major. —An enlarged form of the Position B is also often used, in which the forward foot is extended twice its own length instead of once its own length. When the weight is on the forward foot, the front knee is bent, and when the weight is on the back foot, the back knee is bent. The weight may be on either foot. See Figs. 50 and 51 for valuable studies in this and other positions.

This position, when the weight is on the forward foot, is used for courage, defiance, aggression, and strength. When the weight is on the back foot, it signifies awe, fear, dread, amazement, terror, etc. Examples:

POSITION FOR APPEAL OR WELCOME

Oh, save me, Hubert, save me ! my eyes are out,
Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.

— SHAKESPEARE.

Welcome, Cassius ! Welcome, friends !
— SHAKESPEARE.

POSITION FOR DEFIANCE

Here I stand for impeachment or accusation. I dare accusation. — GRATTAN.

FIG. 50. A study in position. A scene in Monsieur Beaucaire.

FIG. 51. A study in averse gesture. A scene in Leah Kleshna.

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Go home, if you dare, — go home, if you can, – to your constituents and tell them that you voted it down. —CLAY.

VERY AGGRESSIVE POSITION, FORWARD

The right honorable gentleman has called me “an unimpeached traitor.” I ask why not traitor, unqualified by any epithet ! I will tell him It was because he durst not It was the act of a coward who raises his arm to strike, but has not the courage to give the blow. — GRATTAN. Brutus. And let me tell you, Cassius, You yourself are much condemned to have an itching palm, To sell and mart your offices for gold to undeservers. Cassius. I an itching palm! You know that you are Brutus that speak this. Brutus. The name of Cassius honors this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide his head. Cassius. Chastisement! — SHAKESPEARE.

SHRINKING POSITION, BACKWARD

O, look 1 methinks I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier's point. — SHAKESPEARE.

EXERCISES 56. Take the following positions in order:

Position A, with the right foot forward.
Position A, with the left foot forward.
Position B, with the right foot forward.
Position B, with the left foot forward.
Position B Major, forward, to the right.
Position B Major, forward, to the left.

57. Take the following in order:

Position A, with the right foot forward.
Position A, with the left foot forward.
Position A Major, with the right foot forward.
Position A Major, with the left foot forward.

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