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Dancing for freedom

November 2021

Movement Medicine: Dancing for liberation

Movement Medicine is a practice of conscious dance. For me, it's a fusion of dance and meditation. It uses bodily expression to develop awareness of the self and the world. It's a space in which we take the freedom to forget everything that's going on around us and explore our inner world through movement. 

conscious dance

Dancing is free in that there's no choreography or movement to reproduce. In general, in a dance class, your head is occupied with memorizing the choreography and reproducing the perfect movement (even if you have to force it a little). This allows you to let go of your daily routine and focus on something else. Dance develops body awareness.

At conscious dance, we keep our minds busy observing and feeling our bodies: we move to feel better. As everyone is different, we are invited to search for a movement that is personal to us. In this search, from time to time, the body moves before the mind has thought about why or how. The mind can take on the position of observer. conscious dance does not mean that there is no framework. You're not on your own (unless you want to be). The teacher gives structure to the workshop through music and guidance (words).

 

Guidance

Guidance: suggestions for exploring alone or with others. Tools and inspiration to support your movement. An invitation to try out new ways of feeling and sensing your body. It's all about getting out of movements unconsciously repeated out of habit. Sometimes we experiment with a limited movement, playing around with it without forcing it or causing pain, until we figure out how to make it evolve, gain in fluidity, flexibility or amplitude. At first, we just follow what we're told, letting the guidance take us along. Then, little by little, you get a better feel for what you need. Then we let go of the words and follow our own path...

 

Inviting change

Quand j’ai découvert la danse libre, je travaillais à plein temps. Mes enfants avaient 9 et 11ans, j’en avais la garde exclusive. Mon cours de danse c’était « le » plaisir que je m’autorisais dans la semaine. Mon moment à moi pour moi. Il a fallu choisir entre

  • my usual Modern Jazz class, in my village (2km), which I've been going to for 5 years
  • And this practice I was discovering: a weekly 5-rhythm dance workshop in Marseille (40km away).

Of course, I hesitated, but you can imagine that I chose the conscious dance workshop.

From the very first class, I loved plunging into my body's sensations, forgetting the gaze of those around me. And letting my body move simply by the promptings of the guidance, the music and my sensations in the moment. The improvisation I hated so much in my dance classes came naturally, just like at home. Except that I had a large dance hall in which to express myself without hurting myself. The quality and diversity of the music mixed in continuity meant I could go on a journey. What a pleasure!

 

Treat yourself

It was a real interlude in my stressed, 100-an-hour life, always with my head in the handlebars, trying to do better and more. I remember the joy at the end of the workshops, the feeling of fullness and lightness at the same time. Sometimes, it was so strong that I felt rushed, a little lost at the end. I needed time to digest what had been said in my dances. From time to time, snippets of life, recent or ancient, came to the fore more or less painfully. Dancing with them, even if uncomfortable, allowed me to make sense of them and reintegrate them into my history. Afterwards, I was ready to go back to my everyday life after a good cleaning.

Au début, je me demandais si le Modern Jazz allait me manquer. Si le fait de ne pas préparer de Gala me donnerait l’impression de danser pour rien (ce que j’avais ressenti dans les cours de Fitness). Evidemment, apprendre à me connaitre, à m’accepter et à prendre ma place dans le monde, ce n’est pas rien.  Aujourd’hui, je n’ai plus aucune envie de contraindre ma tête à retenir une chorégraphie, ni de me contraindre à essayer de faire les mêmes mouvements qu’un enseignant. Dans un cours de yoga, d’accord, mais plus dans la danse.

 

Freeing movement

In the same way as in yoga, we try to free our dances from value judgments: no good movement, just the one that's there. Everyone, depending on their physiognomy, flexibility, athletic ability and current state of stress and fatigue, will have a different way of stretching their back. Or how to move to get a better feel for your feet on the ground.

Par moment, on aimerait que notre danse soit plus dynamique, plus gracieuse… et toujours plus. Notre mental perfectionniste censure (non pas ça, ce n’est pas assez bien), notre ego impatient force. Accepter la danse qui se joue en nous dans l’instant est le seul moyen de la faire évoluer. Nous l’accueillons, nous la dansons pour vraiment la connaitre, c’est cette danse-là qui nous apprend qui nous sommes. C’est elle, le point de départ sur lequel nous pouvons nous appuyer pour changer ce qui ne nous convient pas dans nos vies en quelque chose qui nous corresponde mieux.

 

Balancing the Body-Heart-Spirit relationship

Pendant les ateliers, nous cherchons à nous exprimer grâce à nos corps. Et même à laisser nos corps s’exprimer pour nous (sans passer par la tête). Nous redonnons au corps physique, la place qu’il a perdu quand nos activités se sont déplacées des champs et du lavoir derrière un bureau. En faisant cela, nous passons le plus clair de notre temps dans nos têtes. La raison et la logique sont encensées comme les joyaux de notre humanité. Grâce à notre mental et notre logique rationnelle, nous pensons pouvoir contrôler nos corps et le monde qui nous entoure. Pour les façonner à une image qui nous convient mieux.

And yet our bodies have so much to teach us. They often speak to us through their pain, because it's the only thing we hear. They suffer from sitting still for too long. They freeze, lose flexibility, range of motion, vitality and plasticity. And with them, our brains.

 

Listening to the body's wisdom

Les neurosciences nous apprennent que nous ne sommes conscients que d’un petit pourcentage de ce qui se passe dans nos corps. Nous ne contrôlons finalement pas grand chose. Par exemple: la respiration, les battements du coeur, la digestion, le fonctionnement de notre système immunitaire, l’équilibre sont gérés par notre corps et notre cerveau la plupart du temps sans que nous ayons besoin d’y penser. Sans que nous en soyons conscient. En effet, notre corps réagit souvent bien avant que notre conscience n’ait eu le temps de se poser la question.

 

Dancing to be yourself

In Movement Medicine, medicine is movement. We (re)bring movement to all parts of the body that have frozen. What freezes them is all the energy we put into holding ourselves back, into hiding.

There are a thousand and one reasons to hide. For example, because we've been told it's not right, or because our experiences have led us to deduce that it's better this way. Or because we don't think we're good enough, beautiful enough, brilliant enough, especially when we start comparing ourselves to others.

Il y a mille et une façons de se cacher. On peut devenir silencieux et transparent. On peut détourner le regard pour qu’il ne nous dévoile pas. On peut se cacher derrière les autres. Se plonger dans leur contemplation (critique de préférence) pour ne plus se voir soi-même. 

 

Intention and transformation

What makes dance transformative is the intention we give it. Our intention can be as simple as discovery, the desire to learn, the need to let off steam, to forget the outside world for a few moments. It can be a question to our body, to the universe, to life's great choreographer. It can be a prayer for oneself or for the world.

 

I dance my dance until it transforms. The movement of my body induces a movement in my mind. The space I occupy and create inside me allows me to better apprehend the outside, changing my perception of the world. The self-awareness acquired through dance gives me a better understanding of the world in which I evolve.

Mouvement Medicine is just a dance, but if you want it to be, it can also be much more than that.

dancing to feel free

Video

Yin-Yang exploration

 

Dance in search of clear acceptance (Yin) and tension-free affirmation (Yang).
A Yin that accepts and receives with fluidity, round but not soft.
A Yang that chooses and impels movement without forcing.
A little too much to the right, a little too much to the left,
Seek balance... or simply let go and learn from what comes.

Improvisation Live music and dance (in my living room).

 

On the piano: Stef Vink

Listen to Stef's music at: https://www.patreon.com/stefvinkmusic and https://stefvink.band camp.com

Follow Stef Stef's live online events at https://www.facebook.com/stefvinkmusic

 For dance : Solange Brelot (C'est moi)

Filmed on July 16, 2021

Where and when to practice

Want to give it a try? You are welcome in your physical condition of the moment, with or without experience dance experience.

Weekly courses

Evening - Libère ta danse

Tuesday 19:30-21:30 in Aix-en-Provence - infos

A dynamic and conscious break

Tuesday 12:30-13:30 in Aix-en-Provence - infos

Wake up your body, awaken your soul

Tuesday 9am-10am on Zoom - news

(open to all - all year round)

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