Dance isthe
language of the soul.

My journey

After I came back from the first-week module of the Conscious Body and Movement Language Trainer course with Agnieszka Sokolowska and Karen Studd, it took me a few weeks to begin my personal practice. I knew it was important to start it, but at the same time, I had some inner resistance to it. What was keeping me from it? Was it a fear of dancing without guidance, external lead, and a fully supportive environment? Or perhaps the lack of inner permission to dance just like this, in the middle of the day, at home, between duties? Or was it a shame of exposing myself to myself? I did not know.

But one fine sunny day, I started. I cannot remember what the starting point was. I went to my terrace and put a rhythmic, afro-beats music on. I started dancing toward the sun, mostly vertically. At the same time, I felt pulling myself upward and being firmly grounded. I jumped freely but felt security given by the floor. Shifting activation, feeling the connection between the upper and lower parts of the body. I was shifting the center of weight from the higher to the lower level, back and forth. The dance was both exhausting and energizing and I had a feeling of achievement afterwards.

A few days later, I repeated the practice. I picked up a gently energetic music that I saved in my Spotify “warmup” folder. I noticed that during the practice, the difficulty was to remember the sensations from the body to note them down and describe them later.  I had to keep escaping thoughts at bay. I parallelly felt relaxation and stimulation. Compared with the first session, I took more consideration to the space around me, which took my attention away from the bodily sensations and an insight into my inner world.

At the end of the summer, I felt excited. Having set up a new around-dance-therapy “business”, with 10 people signed up for my workshop. I kept practicing every 1-2 weeks. It was always a several-minute dancing to the “hot” rhythms: flamenco, afro, salsa as if I were afraid that my inner energy would settle down as soon as the world around me (including the music) cooled. I liked that energy and did not want to let it out, as I prefer seeing myself as a vivid person. Although the world around me still maintained its summer light and warmth, and I seemingly felt energy, my body acted as if in opposition to it.  While moving, I was not emanating vitality. My movements were rather still (sustained). The light swinging of the hips and hands. Slow and careful traveling in a horizontal plane.

For the next few weeks, during each practice, held about once a week, I kept turning a joyful and warming up music on. Not only was I not able to move without music, but also, I was not able to move without such kind of it. I felt like floating on the surface of the warm sea and it was a pleasant feeling. In retrospect, I have the impression that I clung to the rhythms and jangles that forcibly imposed a mood and raised energy levels. With music, I tried to stretch a flabby body that wanted to retract into its shell, instead of giving it a rest or treating it with compassion. I can now recall that I always feel that way at the beginning of the Fall. Trying to preserve the summer warmth in my body memory. I expect from myself that I will keep the energy for the whole winter, but I know from my experience, that I never succeed. (In February I feel like I take the last bit from the plate. One more snowy-rainy day and I’ll starve).

During the sessions, I changed the music to the relaxing, smooth one. Instrumental and deep, but mild. One could isolate among my movements the gentle seizure of something from space. My body was sometimes rotating. Movements included micro accelerations and decelerations. I felt the floor beneath my feet. I gently shifted the weight of my body from one foot to the other. This way I felt grounded and centered. My breath allowed the body to grow and shrink, widen and narrow. The pathway of movement was to keep the body moving in jellyfish-like disarray.

I started to observe and indicate what could be in favor of my intention and mitigate “praising myself” in motion. Gentle rubbing of my skin and sensing the limits of my body. Embracing myself with tenderness. These were gestures that I found soothing. Sometimes I started with the energy of unmoving and then, slowly, initiated soft gathering and taking up of the space around me. I felt the sphere around me, that I moved and felt safe in.

I also experimented with what was suggested in Tsachor’s and Shafir’s article: “Happiness was elicited by jumping, rising, spreading, and free, light, upward, or rhythmic movements”. I tested that kind of movement, even if I started with the completely contrary ones. Very often, I had to force myself to impose a change in my pattern. I do not know if it was autosuggestion, but indeed, I experienced the movements as stimulating and giving energy. This was an interesting observation, but nevertheless, my body was eager to return to the old, indulging, habits. I sometimes use “happiness-triggering” movements on the days when my mood gets down.

During the January class, when we were practicing the Action Drive BEAS, I noticed that I liked condensing types of BEAS (Pressing) when I was massaged, but Indulging (Gliding and Floating), when I was moving spontaneously. As if I needed an outside force to let the tension out and be able to move lightly. When I am writing this, I am noticing the relationship with that notion of forceful stretching and pulling my body out of the shell during the first self-practice sessions.

What I recently observed in my movements is that I often change support from one leg to another. My body is sometimes rotating. In the upper part, the arms approach the sides and forward. I feel my torso growing while inhalation and giving the impulse to move forward and to the sides for the whole body, then shrinking with exhalation and taking the whole body back. Slow and deep breath gives me a notion of fluidness and softness. My body is immersed in emotions, floating spacelessly and suspending my thoughts.

Throughout a few months of practice, my movements made a journey. From the upward, jumping, and rhythmic, through the search for soothing, then again, but forced, jumping, rising, spreading, coming to a rest in free-floating. From the imposed external energy to the released internal one. I have a notion of emerging from the shell naturally, without forcing it, and at the right time.

I love watching modern dancers and I am always jealous of their ability to juggle between balance and imbalance, release, and control. When I dance and close my eyes, I imagine myself being such a light, flexible, freely (im)balancing off vertical, reluctant to any resistance, released dancer.

I realized that I was driven to start the course by the sickness of a body, and … I found a soul there. But the two are intertwined parts of your whole. As Marion Woodman wrote:

“Working with the body is equivalent to working with the soul, and imagination is the bridge that connects them.”[1]).

[1] This is my translation from the book: Woodman M. Świadoma kobiecość. Instytut Studiów Kulturowych RAVEN. 2022.

My journey

After I came back from the first-week module of the Conscious Body and Movement Language Trainer course with Agnieszka Sokolowska and Karen Studd, it took

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