What does dance and music offer?
Dance has so many layers - at the simplest level it is good exercise. However, this is such a small part of what it offers: self-connection, connection with others, building our sense of self and confidence, giving self-awareness, offering fun and play, offering depth and moments of numinous connection, education in music, expansion of our ways of moving and expression, as a creative impetus....and….. I've probably left things out!
Last week we explored Yang and Yin dances separately, and together combined as a dance of integration. I observed in the mixed piece, I wanted to be in the Yin so much more than the Yang (this isn't a pattern, sometimes it's the opposite, and sometimes they seem equal). It was a body message about something I was unconscious of - a need to just be. This is a regular aspect of weekly movement practice - the space to connect with the body’s messages. Earlier in the week in the rest part of the pathway I had felt a need to just be alone in nature. There is space in the session to come back into deep connection with our body-mind. In this way the weekly dance practice can both rebalance you through the pathway, offer expression of what is present, and give you insights into unconscious aspects. It is very rich indeed.
In April 2020, I was feeling restless with my present work of training in & teaching Biodanza. I knew it wasn’t fully resonant with me and that it took me away from myself in order to offer it. Putting it down, as a possibility to not teach it, felt like a relief. The very next morning, I was streaming ideas for 3 hours! This came like automatic writing, even getting the name ‘Dance Connection’. It felt like divine inspiration, a calling, I felt excited. There was a minor moment when my practical side reminded me that I had several payments for the next training cycle of Biodanza and that I would not only be letting those signed up down, but risking my financial stability too. Nonetheless, the call to do it was so strong that I began to form it all. Kindly a colleague Tracy Seed helped me edit and add to the methodology in July 2020.
Somehow the Lockdown had been a gift for me, it stopped me doing what I always did for a living and gave space to evaluate my life, work, and loves. The ancient Greeks’ had a word Daimon or Daemon, for a guiding, protective or Guardian spirit that calls to us about our true place in the world, our true calling here. I had felt pulled twice before, once to become a Montessori teacher, and then to become a Biodanza teacher. Calling isn’t always one destination, in order to fulfil ourself it is often more of a journey (Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey reflects these stages well).
Without Montessori I would not have understood the inner compass or inner directive, healed the childhood wounds, or come back to my own unique blueprint. Without Biodanza I would not have been as connected to my dancer, had the tools to teach and train, nor have developed the awareness of music (which is crucial in the dance pathways - Dance and music combined are an incredible marriage - one of which has the capacity to bless in so many ways).
Years ago I read a book by Shirley Maclaine ‘Out on a Limb’ where she said dancing was the only space she could be her full self. I resonated deeply with this - in dance we can access primal emotions and dance them through, we can reach to the divine and experience the numinous, we can connect honestly with others and feel reverence to their uniqueness, and feel the oneness of connection with the whole group and life itself. In December 2021, I used Joseph Cambell’s ideas to create a dance pathway ‘The Heroic Journey’ - it was extraordinary to watch the dancers move through these stages of departure, initiative and return. It was humbling and inspiring.
When I was in my early twenties, I felt odd, different and that I stood out in my life - didn’t fit. Liz Greene’s Psychological Astrology helped me understand that I had a strong allegiance to my inner world, to Myth, story and the limitless realm of the imagination. I spent many years exploring this through astrology, numerology, human design, sound healing, meditation, spiritual exploration, and reading. It was only in 2001 when I moved to Devon that I began the journey into reconnection with nature, dance exploration, and soon after The School of Myth.
If we let go a bit to where we feel the pull we can be guided by what I call ‘The Sensing System’ (G.IB.E Gut instinct, Intuition, Body messages, Emotional messages). Esther (Abraham) Hicks mentions ‘The Emotional Guidance System’ - which indicates where we feel joy, ease, excitement, and equally where we can feel stuck and frustrated. Since Martin Shaw of the School of Myth said to me '“I wish you could put down your cross” (symbolic burdens of the world) in 2005, I there and then woke up to the fact that I had choice. A choice point, a crossroads of sorts. I chose in that moment ‘ease and joy’. My body and emotions would guide me - if I felt joy and ease I would move in that direction, if not I would try and navigate back to joy and ease.
It’s February 2022 - my life reflects this earlier decision beautifully. Today my time is spent teaching my own creation Dance Connection, expressing myself through ceramics, painting, singing, dancing, writing and gardening, being inspired by the creations of others, and living surrounded by nature. I can be myself entirely, I do not feel the need to bend myself out of shape - indeed I am received in my offering’s as I am.
I have always believed we are a jigsaw piece that will only fit in one place - if we try and force ourselves (like the piece) into another place - we/ it just don’t/doesn’t fit. Furthermore, by being ourselves we do fit with the whole, and in that way allow the full joint creation to emerge - the perfect interconnection. As humans we still haven’t fully realised that within the world at large, nature, and the universe.
Hope that one day we will live in harmony with nature always burns within me.
Julia Hope Brightwell, 14th Feb 2022