Saturday, September 10, 2005

Meditative Dance

Where to begin in describing what meditative dance is? It is spiritual, enlightening, healing, impassioned, freeing, grounding, soothing, and expressive. That's as good a start as any.

A new person in my life goes often to a meditative dance workshop in Philadelphia on Friday nights. In order to experience something new and exciting, and also to better connect with this person, I took part in the workshop last night.

The meditative dance workshops take place on the second floor of a performing arts building in a somewhat large-sized dance studio. There are musicians playing live music along one wall - bongos, violin, and various other instruments that all seem to flow so neatly into each other. Also, there is a leader who uses spoken voice throughout the process.

On the dance floor, you find twenty or so people of various backgrounds and ages. Some are professional dancers and some are complete doofuses, like me. There are women and men. I would assume there are doctors, lawyers, cops, clerks, and entrepreneurs, too.

You begin by doing some stretching and relaxing on the floor. The spoken voice leads you through some initial meditative exercises, and slowly you end up on your feet, moving freely to the music and energies that flow from person to person. Over the course of the next two hours, you become almost completely unaware of self, in that all inhibitions are released. However, you also gain a level of self-consciousness on a most beautiful and rewarding level that is beyond explanation.

The workshop goes through several variances of form. I spent the early stages being within myself. I moved to the music and sounds and just flowed in whatever direction my arms, legs and body chose to move me. I was singular, yet each time a person passed me or brushed against me, a piece of energies interacted. Amazing!

Later, there was a more interactive portion, where you could end up with any partner, male or female, who you would exchange and connect with. Sometimes, you each moved in sync with the other. There was also portions where one person stood still and the second person moved in accordance to the first person's still form. The partners would switch roles.

Finally, this was followed by shadowing, where one person followed behind the other and did what the first was doing. Again, after some time, the rolls switched. And this then concluded with a passive-active form, where one person, with eyes closed moved to the directions of the second person through leading from the active person via gentle touch, with rolls switching back and forth.

I found the experience to be an overwhelming joy to the senses. It was organized chaos. It was safe and warm; spiritual and gentle. I was lost and found at the same time. Energies flowed at will. Expression was in abundance. The soul became interconnected with those around it and also came more sharply into focus with the inner self.

I completed the workshop in a place of all-consuming peace and tranquility. I felt alive, relaxed and healed, even to the point where my back and neck problems felt better. Also, my new acquaintance and I grew so much more closer to each other in the most intimate and introspective ways.

Meditative dance is an incredibly empowering and passionate experience. I was as free as a bird in the clouds for two hours. The sensations still linger with me today.

No comments: