My dance practice is my healing practice. My dance practice is my spiritual practice. The dance floor holds my community. I can travel to any conscious dance space anywhere in the world and step into a space where I know I can be me fully. Where I will be welcomed, where I can stretch, unfold, expand, express, experiment, love, be loved, connect, slow down, rest, relax, even hide. All of me is invited and welcome when I allow my self to fully embody each breath as it travels.
I am relatively new to the conscious dance world. Four years ago I stepped into a 5Rhythms Heartbeat workshop, my first conscious dance experience. Awkward, with a lot of deep grief held in my body, needing to find movement, and a break from all the thinking. By the end of the workshop I was hooked. I started going to dances on weekends, and danced by myself for the first two years.
I live in San Francisco, and feel that my home dance floor is the Open Floor in Marin. Even though there are geographically closer dance floors, at this stage I notice my dance practice is mainly about community. It’s no longer just me, it’s us.
I find a nucleus of like spirits on every dance floor. On a floor with 100 dancers, perhaps I connect deeply with 15. We find each other organically, and on the home floor, it is frequently the same people. I treasure our shared journey of soul discovery.
What I want to tell you about today is a recent experience I had at a Movement Medicine workshop taught by Ya’Acov Darling Khan. The workshop was called Holy Trinity, and referred to the three archetypes of the warrior, the fool and the wise elder. When I stepped onto this floor and began moving among this group of 50 dancers, it became immediately clear to me that I could connect deeply with every single one of them. They were all there to do deep work. Over the course of the workshop I was amazed by Ya’Acov’s ability to stay present with us, guide us on a sacred journey, offer us tools within a well-defined expansive and safe container, and give us multiple opportunities to practice using those tools. All of this was happening with ease and grace. Complex concepts embodied.
The School of Movement Medicine is based in the UK, and classes and workshops are primarily offered in Europe. I had traveled to Hamburg for this opportunity to meet this practice and this teacher. After the second day of workshop I said to Ya’Acov, “How does this path of practice …**imagine hand and body gestures I cannot clearly describe with words**? He smiled and said, “There’s a whole curriculum, with a mandala.” To quote the Movement Medicine website:
The whole mandala itself is a representation of the ancient symbol of the Tree of Life. It represents nature and our place in it and it also depicts the shamanic journey through the lower, middle and upper world that is found in cultures worldwide.
All the teachings, maps, exercises and philosophy of Movement Medicine are contained in the mandala we work with. The mandala has 21 stations or gateways. We see it as an archetypal story for our times. It maps the human journey from wounding to healing, from disempowerment to empowerment and from separation to a unified field of creative individuals all committed to being who they are and giving what they’ve got.
“I live in San Francisco and most Movement Medicine classes and workshops are in Europe? How do I get more?” I say.
“Invite me to San Francisco” he says.
And so I did. And now I’m on my first adventure as an organizer, and my dance practice is expanding to include connecting people, supporting people, and stepping into the unknown space with trust.
A few words from Ya’Acov to our community as he steps into his American tour with a stop in San Francisco on March 18th:
“I am so aware of the deep unknowns we are facing as individuals and as a species as tectonic plates shift in our environment, in our political world and of course inside each and every one of us. What an opportunity we have right now to stand up inside ourselves, in our own integrity, and to live according to what is true for us and make our lives into a work of art. I have no idea what effect our dance has but the ancient art of shamanism is to embody a deeper relationship to the wild, creative/destructive force that is nature inside us and beyond us and Movement Medicine as a practice has been designed with that at its core. In a nutshell, the Movement Medicine journey supports dancers to be who they are and give what they’ve got through a series of simple and effective practices, all of which are rooted in the alignment of body-heart-mind-present-moment consciousness. Movement Medicine is a contemporary shamanic invitation to find the medicine in who you really are. I am very grateful to Jen for inviting me to San Francisco to teach and I am very much looking forward to meeting you and sharing this practice with you.”
If you don't want to pay the processing fee, you have three option: 1) you can send $60 as a friend on PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org can; 2) When you see me after dance on Saturdays and Sundays, you can give me cash or a check in person (but wait til after dance! no talking on the floor!); 3) send me and email to let me know you are officially registering and will pay cash at the door.