Most people think of dance as the "steps you learn" put to music and then judged as "good or bad" . There is a fascination with watching dancing and judging dancing that is on the increase with television shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. As entertaining and beautiful as it is to witness extreme athleticism in trained dancers, I propose that there is another way to "frame" dance.
If you watch young children they automatically will move to rhythms they hear and express great joy in that connection, sometimes before they can even walk well. They don't have self judgement hindering or shaming their bodies in movement, yet. The first constant rhythm a baby hears is the mothers steady heart beat. They hear it go faster when she's exerting, and slower when she's sleeping, and always it has a steady quality. Dancing can be a return to the comfort and meditative quality of that connection.
Dancing is a function of the body coordinating itself, moving in relationship , and organizing itself. To tune into the body, and allow it the space and time to move as it needs too, uninhibited....the body will gravitate towards what feels good, naturally. For many of us, especially in America, we spend a lot of time on the computer, sitting, and finding the easiest possible ways to move the body with the least effort. We are quick to ask others how we need to move our own body, further distancing ourselves from important body wisdom only we can know. This results in the body having less and less ability to move as it is designed. The joints of the body tell us that they allow multiple ways of movement.....if they are not moved multidimensionally ( for example the hips joints are stimulated with hips stirs we do in Kai) stiffness results, pain and a lack of coordination. The saying "if you don't use it, you lose it" is true here. More than the vanity of the whether dance looks "good" or "bad", dance is a natural therapy to connect to multidimensional movement, and open the body to move as it needs to for the best functioning.
Dance is also a metaphor for everything in life. It's a way to see the connectivity of everything. It's a subtle communication and relatedness between elements in nature, as well as the relationships we have as we move together through life as a community. The dance doesn't begin and end in the studio when the music starts and the facilitator begins to suggest movement ideas......it is now. How we direct our bodies, when we rest, what we say and how we use our bodies....it's all in rhythm, or not , and both are good. This perspective of seeing all life as a dance that youre an active participant in , allows you to "play" and feel part of the whole. To engage and interact. It takes away the "segmenting out time for exercise" and the negative connotation that often brings- ( incidentally, this is often what stops people from keeping movement happening daily in their lives and brings on depression and all kinds of illness ) Movement is natural, healing and healthy. The awareness of noticing and framing it all as a dance lightens things up, and helps to make sense of the life transitions and cycles that are natural.
This awareness is magnified when we do it in a group, supported with love, and with similar intentions. Then it can be carried out into the "world life dance" with the perspective that the dance continues....through infinity.....It's all a dance. The beat goes on, the rhythms change from drums and other musical instruments to the sounds of life. How we dance to those sounds can have the same pleasure and joy......Life as a Dance.