Personal development through dance

Personal development through dance

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  1. When the body takes it over or how couple dancing changed my understanding about “mind vs body”:
    – I was not really mindful about my body before. I didn’t quickly realise when I was tired, hungry or longing for something.
    – I tended to perceive my body as something detached from me, as something meant to carry my brain. I consciously did lots of things for my body because I knew I needed to maintain it in a good shape but not necessarily to enjoy those things. My dancing style in a couple was pretty much of a “moving mind”, when movement choices derive from the mind.
    -After starting dancing I discovered the body has its own intelligence, its own sense of doing things (it’s also in the brain, off course, but it’s most of the time unconscious). I think mindfulness in this case is being aware of our body’s sense and let it flow…
    – In dance, our body has a natural tendency to follow a rhythm and another’s body intentions. This means that a person can initiate an action without being aware of it: consciousness follows the action.
    – Thinking a movement is destroying the movement. The natural tendency of the body to follow the music and a partner could be easily inhibited by thinking too much. The consciousness cannot deal with an overload of information from the environment. But the body can. One of the dancers I met made an experiment with us during our first dance lesson. First we were allowed to talk while dancing and to keep our eyes open. It was a catastrophe. Then he asked us to keep the eyes closed as we danced and not to speak at all. Just to try to feel the rhythm and and our partner’s intention. We managed to dance somehow following his advice. The guy explained us the reason behind his advice. It’s not rocket science, it’s not psychology…. it’s simple biology. When our mind is focused on words and other rational stuff like the image of our steps on the floor, it can’t “feel” any longer. The rational pathway inhibits the emotional pathway. In many situations it is a great advantage of not being aware of the action. If a dancer had to be aware of his movements all the time, his movement would become slow and less refined. 
    – I started to slightly change my dance style to that of a “knowing body”, when movement choices derive from the flesh.
    – My challenge is to dance without not knowing what’s next and letting the body dance me around. As I need to be sharp in timing, balance and dynamics, this means I also need to take risks and cope with the fear of failing.
    – Contact improvisation is that kind of dance where I could challenge myself most as I can’t just guess what’s going to be next. It could get wild and energetic, sometimes quiet and meditative. An endless exploration of bodies’ possibilities to move through contact.
    – A bit of alcohol could lower your inhibitions and shut your mind but too much of it could make you less emphatic and makes it difficult to tune to the partner.

    Photo credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nunoduarte/2801870408/

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