Analysing weight, space and time

Now analyse your own habits and ways of moving. Try the following exercises to help you.

Weight

A muscly strongman hitting a "high striker" with a large torso and arms, but with skinny legs and ballet shoes

Walk around the room in all directions. Speed up and slow down. Think about your weight upon the floor. This is nothing to do with how much you physically weigh, but how heavy or determined you are in your steps. Some large people can be very light on their feet and vice versa. How much energy and weight do you put into your footsteps?

Space

A woman taking up a lot of space on stage - spreading her arms wide and blocking another smaller, timid looking woman from view

Think about the space that you use. This is nothing to do with your size but how contained and controlled you are. Some people don’t swing their arms, others do. Some are very upright and self-contained whereas others have a much freer gait and might move from side to side when walking. Extroverted people might take more space than their introverted friends. What do you do?

Moving in time

A woman leaning forward (into the future) in front of half a clock-face, with Past, Present and Future labelled

This is about time and not just the speed that you naturally move, although you should be aware of this. Analyse whether you are physically upright and straight (in the present), whether you lean back slightly (in the past) or whether you lean forwards (towards the future). The angle at which we walk communicates a lot non-verbally. ‘Present’ people tend to be quite grounded in now and aware of what is going on around them. Leaning backwards to the past might indicate holding something back or a degree of separation from events and emotions. A forward leaning person tends to be very dynamic and driven but might not always be focused in the present situation.

Now think about the character you are developing. Are they different to you in terms of weight, space or time? Perhaps they should be very light on their feet and forward leaning, whereas naturally you have a tendency to be slower and to hold back.

Experiment with different uses of weight, space and time. These may feel alien to you at first, but analysing movement in this depth will help you find a physicality that is right for your character.