As students and teachers of dance, it is worth remembering that not all dance comes from a theatrical application of technique and performance. Some dance comes from a deeper place than this, emanating from something within, maybe the soul itself. Perhaps you find this as you move at home, alone in your room; perhaps you discover it through guided improvisation; perhaps you realize it in that moment when technique gives way to something more exciting, special, and intangible. However or whenever you discover this deeper connection to movement (and I hope someday you do, if you haven’t already), it will be a healing and memorable experience.
Today’s guest post is by Mariosa, a movement practitioner and dance enthusiast in her mid-50’s. She writes about the benefits of movement from this deeper place. And, as she offers her experiences, I think you will find that she is a voice of encouragement to those who feel they have the spirit of a dancer within but are perhaps daunted because they don’t fit the “mold” of a dancer. Yesterday’s post on Isadora Duncan proves that great innovators often break the mold.
A Dancer of the Third Kind
There are three kinds of dancers: first, those who consider dancing as sort of a gymnastic drill, made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques: second, those who by concentrating their minds, lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion, expressing a remembered feeling of experience. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul. – Isadora Duncan
I would have to say that I have always been a dancer of the third kind and a great fan of the other two. In my thirties I discovered that I could use my love of dance in the fitness world and I became certified in Kripalu Dankinetics and Pilates. This has been satisfying but I still yearned to perform with my special connection to dance of the third kind, so last year, in my mid 50’s I sent an audition video to Cirque Du Soleil and was invited to audition. I considered this a success in itself as Cirque gets approximately 3000 audition requests in a year and invites a few hundred.
I have a boutique Pilates studio in a small town in the Midwest and I encourage others to dance often. By dancing often myself for the past 20 years I have noticed huge benefits not only to my body but also my mind. I use many kinds of music and lots of different beats and styles to encourage the greatest potential to movement vocabulary. Movement is mind in motion and expresses attitudes and states of being. So not only does the body cleanse and clear by moving toxins out but the oxygenation of the brain also clears out stagnation in thinking. I am always thrilled when new concepts seem to easily appear after a dance session. I have become interested in this mind connection and, by doing some investigation, I discovered that the American Dance Therapy Association lists a lot of research on the therapeutic effects of dance on the elderly and have come to impressive conclusions that dance is the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia. (You can read more about these findings here)
I also subscribe to a wonderful online and print magazine called Conscious Dancer that has opened my eyes to the many free-form dance opportunities there are. I have discovered creative blogs like this one that help dancers of all styles connect and support each other. This is so satisfying to be able to share benefits of dance with others in so many forms. And best of all I have been sharing improvisational dance clips of myself on youtube and facebook. This has satisfied my ongoing desire to perform and be witnessed as a dancer. So no matter what your age keep moving. I believe it is the way to higher ground in both our bodies and minds.
Mariosa is a Freeform Dance Expressionist and Artist who lives in Spring Green, Wis. Contact her at mari_osa @ hotmail.com (spaces added) or visit her website, mariosacruise.blogspot.com.