Thursday, October 29, 2009

I leave tomorrow for Seattle for my first participation in a Continuum Montage workshop with Susan Harper. I've heard a lot about Continuum, but as is always the case with new experience, I am aware that I have no idea what I'm in for with this body of work. But, check this bit of language out, from Susan's website page, "About Continuum Montage":
We open our sensuous capacity to feel sensation through grounded attentional practices. Sensations keep us in touch with the present – our organismic state, our needs, and where we are in our environment.
"Opening my sensuous capacity" sounds good. "Attentional practices" sounds good. This sounds like a movement practice that arises out of a conscious experience of embodied ecology - our "organismic state." I'm excited. The title of the workshop is "Dancing in the Well of Origin."

Nature Rituals and Masks

Inspired by these words of Malidoma Some in his book, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, I dedicated our October dance to the theme of change and transformation. What he says about rhythm and dance really affirms my experience of Ecstatic Dance and feels right. As we approach Samhain and the traditional Celtic New Year, I am re-dedicating myself to connecting with my true self, my true nature, and my true purpose.

Nature Rituals and Masks

In the West, when nature is neglected, people often wear masks in order to survive. The mask may be a professional role; it sometimes comes with a suit or a uniform and is a refuge, a place of anonymity. Those who don't wear a mask in this culture risk being hurt, and thus many are driven to find one. The problem is that as people hide behind these masks, they become defined by them and unable to tell the difference between what is natural and what is not. Sometimes they become so profoundly disconnected from their true self that they think that their mask is their true nature.

Nature rituals aimed at unmasking the true self need to begin by addressing the theme of change. The goal is to allow people to relax, which will allow people to let go of their masks and find out how it feels to be without a mask for a moment. Healing begins when the mask is released from the self, for people can't transform when they are hiding behind them. Talking is often inadequate for helping people to drop their masks, and some of the best ways to accomplish this kind of change are through nonverbal forms of ritual, such as dance, and activities that evoke strong emotions. This is what makes tribal communities rely so heavily on rhythm and dance. Rhythm is not entertainment. Rather, it is a tool to shake off the debris of ones unnatural masks. When one is not in rhythm, one becomes depressed. Likewise, depression, or being estranged from one's natural magic, shows in being out of rhythm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

November 21 Dance Night - Mark Your Calendar and Spread the Word

Our next dance night is on the calendar at Yoga Shala for November 21st. Come and join us for a high-energy dance before Thanksgiving week.