About 3 years ago, I started attending Biodanza classes weekly. Well, I tell you, it marks a before and an after in my life! ;-)
I've been wanting to write a post (or a dozen) about the power of Biodanza for a while now but my usual perfectionist tendencies always put the handbrakes on. How can I possibly convey such a transformational experience with mere words? Well, I can't, but watch me try.
Biodanza defines itself as poetry of the encounter, as integrated movements full of meaning, as a human integration system of renewal and affectivity. Big words, big aims, big emotions. When asked, I usually dumb it down to: a dance activity that can liberate the pants off you (in a metaphorical sense, people!) and make you enjoy hugs from relative strangers. In case my Biodanza teacher ever reads this (love you, Catherine!), let me attempt a more rounded explanation of what it does for me. Every human activity has gazillions of human interpretations and meanings. So here's mine.
Biodanza for me is about joy. Through Biodanza I rediscovered the joy of dancing. The absolute pleasure of shaking my body to the sound of music. Simple. I could do it in my own kitchen as I cook or wash the dishes. I could even do it, in the style of so many films, as I move around my house. But I'd be missing something. I'd be missing human connection. That is what makes Biodanza so special. For it's a well-planned exploration of movement in ourselves, and in the interplay with others, in a safe and nurturing environment, where the foundational common interest is to connect for its own sake (with both ourselves and others). Quite different in motivation from when I used to dance in the company of strangers in my teens and twenties.... (stages of life, right?). Clubs were alcohol-fuelled explorations in the shared (or not!) experience of lust. Biodanza is an embodied exploration of our emotions (in the widest sense of the word) and our totality (mind, body, soul) from the depths of ourselves, and in the mirrors that our fellow dancers provide.
Two things that I love about Biodanza. One is that it's given me permission to reclaim my own sense of fun and deep-seated joy (the kind that's always within us, but we're too busy to appreciate). And I often get a good workout thrown in as a bonus! For the first few months, I had a permanent sore jaw during and after class. I was smiling the whole time! I didn't even notice it until I started feeling the constant pulling of my skin on my cheeks. It was so freeing to me that I used to rush up the stairs to the class, like a 7-year old filled with excitement and anticipation.
The other is the power of connection. Who knew giving and receiving hugs from strangers could be so freaking cathartic? (I'm certain there are studies out there on this). I still remember feeling a total crumbling of my mental defences (and a softening of my usually rigid body) when I was hugged by an adorable classmate who I now know a bit better but who was a total stranger at the time. For one of the cornerstones of Biodanza is the so-called "encounter" (usually at the end of class) where we practice pure presence with one another. It can take the form of a hug, or a meeting of the hands, or looking into someone's eyes (or a combination thereof). And it's pure magic. Someone seeing you for what you are - another precious human being. No more. No less. No story. No expectations. No baggage. Just pure presence. Pure light. A beautiful and sublime expanded practice of namaste - the spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you.
Ok, done it! My first post on the transformational power of Biodanza. More to come, I promise.
Do you have an embodied practice you love? That connects you to your core and to others in a meaningful and enjoyable way? Let me know in the comments below! Embodiment is such an obsession of mine at the moment - but that's for another time.