Dancing the Body Divine
There’s a tribal saying, “If you can move, you can dance.” Dance is something we all have in common, like a heartbeat. And like a heartbeat, dance can help us come alive and activate our dreams, integrating and energizing them internally and externally.
Dance is a natural expression of emotion for us all. Toddlers dance to enlivening music, dogs dance when their “peeps” come home, our hearts dance with joy, and even leaves and trees dance in the wind. Dance can be structured, certainly. Yet the most natural dance of the body is what I would call “expressive dance” — movements that are inspired from within.
This topic has a special place in my heart because I know the deep value dance can bring to almost any setting. I have had a lifetime devotion to dance: first as a dancer myself, then as a co-owner/director/primary teacher of a 500-pupil ballet school. My early childhood dance programs are still used in dance schools around the country and were featured on the cover of “Dance Teacher” magazine three times.
For the past 12 years, I have been working with dance as a spiritual development tool. During my classes and workshops —in person and over the internet —incorporating dance into spiritual practice has helped my students clear old energies out of their lives, activate what they want to bring into being, and integrate their learning in a very dynamically powerful way. If these explorations are not experienced through the body, they are only partially accomplished.
Structured dance develops consciousness from the outside in. Dancers see and hear the instruction and apply it to their bodies, creating the appropriate dance shape, form, and timing. This increases the dancer’s physical coordination, their patterned thinking ability, and their capacity for “harmonic synergy” (which I call the level of consciousness required to coordinate physical movement in time to the music, expanding the brain’s ability to effectively function on multiple levels at one time).
Expressive dance works in the opposite direction–from the inside out. It connects to the wellspring of creativity in the inner landscape of the dancer and then brings that ability to the outer world, increasing the capacity for creative problem solving, innovation, and personal expression. I have discovered that free movement brings into the physical realm the energy of the intent on a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual level.
Expressive dance takes the dancer away from the security of knowing the steps, so it is important to create a safe environment for personal expression where any possible feelings of self-consciousness and fear of judgment are replaced by comfort with expressing their deepest feelings and essence. It has become clear to me that when we develop the capacity to effectively work with what seems like two completely different expressions—coordinated and expressive dance—we increase our wholeness. We enhance our ability to use both sides of our brain more effectively by learning coordinated dance skills and exploring expressive movement.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, I am hosting a “Spirituality in Dance” tele-interview series. Go to http://www.sacreddanceguild.org/teleinterview.php to find out whom I will be interviewing next.
I hope you will join me in dancing the body divine! Lisa Michaels currently serves as the Vice President of the Sacred Dance Guild. Lisa has produced many products and trainings over the years and was chosen in 2010 as a Hay House Mover and Shaker.
Learn more and contact Lisa at naturalrhythms.org.