EXPLORING HOW TO BE IN THE WORLD
The dance floor has been my centre of exploration, it has been my playground, laboratory, and refuge.
Since my late twenties, for over 20 years, I have danced through my celebrations and crises of life. Dance has been a route to feel, the whole kaleidoscope of emotions, and to stay in connection with myself and others.
HOW DANCE TAUGHT ME TO SURVIVE, BREATHE, AND FEEL MY FEET
I remember the first time I stepped onto a conscious dance floor. The teacher suggested we roll around on the floor, if we encountered other people we let ourselves be curious, it was petrifying. I rolled away from people while trying to look like I wasn’t. I wouldn’t have gone back if it hadn’t been for a part of the class called ‘body parts’. This is a guided meditation, in movement, giving attention to different parts of the body. For me at the time, it was a revelation, to luxuriate in my own attention and notice the nuances of my moving body. This part of the class had me go back. This practice became my refuge, as I learned to listen to the fluctuating internal landscape of my physical and emotional self.
Fast forward several years, I’m standing in the corridor of the intensive care unit of a hospital where my twins have been born. One of them is perfectly well and one of them is in a life-limiting condition, they are both undergoing procedures in different rooms. I’m at the edge of my ability to cope and I recall the lessons that I’ve internalised from the dance floor “breathe” and “feel your feet”. At that moment give me the ability to regain my strength, to connect with myself, and enable me to be present.
My background is in the arts, I went to Art School then worked for Public Arts projects. I went on to teach Multimedia Design, supporting creativity in interactive projects. For many years I felt that I had two separate streams, my work in Multimedia and my passion for movement.
These converged when I discovered that through dancing my creativity flourished. Dance itself is an art-form and there are so many processes in dance that echo in any creative process. Change in tempo, direction, flavour, celebrating unusual juxtaposition, and gaining a new perspective. Along with a softening around risk-taking means that censorship can dissolve. I created a whole body of work and ‘Art in Motion’ workshops enabling so-called ‘non-creatives’ to uncover their joy of creativity. There’s a beautiful ‘zone’ we can enter when our attention attunes to our activity.
I’m a founding member of Open Floor International. We teach dance and mindful movement for personal healing, professional growth, and community building. Open Floor supports resilience, compassion, and joyous connection with others. As a non-profit we use Dynamic Governance system of organisation, also called Sociocracy. Currently I’m a Board Member as well as the leader of the Online Learning circle. Since the beginning of Open Floor in 2012 I’ve been teaching a broad range of classes and workshops, I’m on the training faculty.
5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. Its roots are shamanistic, ecstatic, and Gestalt therapy, drawing on a wide range of eastern philosophy. The five rhythms are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness. When danced in sequence this forms a ‘Wave’, the basis of this modality. In 2008 I trained with Gabrielle Roth to teach 5Rhythms, and have been teaching since.
I’m a member of the International Conscious Movement Teachers Association. Created in 2013, it’s an independent not-for-profit professional association supporting and representing teachers of dance meditation and conscious movement. Its members are dedicated to serving people in being more fully alive, creative, original and authentic in their self-expression, primarily through using the medium of the body-in-motion.
While the founding members of the ICMTA are teachers of the 5Rhythms®, trained and certified by Gabrielle Roth, the ICMTA anticipates that its membership will eventually expand to embrace and welcome teachers of other conscious dance and movement modalities.