THE URGE TO DANCE
Last month I shared a reflection on winter and how we can, in the midst of it, celebrate the invincibility of the sun. This time around I want to reflect on the power of dance as a metaphor for relationship - with ourselves,
with others and with the natural world. The great Albert Einstein said: ‘Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune intoned in the distance by an invisible player.’ His words are a
reminder that the universe we live in is one gigantic dance. It dances in the galaxies and the stars and also in the quirks and the quarks on a sub-atomic level.
It is therefore no wonder that as human beings we have a natural inclination to move our bodies to the rhythms we find in nature.
Terri Guillemet rightly says that suppressing this natural inclination can be bad for us. ‘Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips.’
Maybe we need to admit that, these days, we very often have rusty spirits. Nowadays, our movements have become mostly mechanical and unimaginative, since they are dedicated mostly to our material advancement. Our movements have lost spirit and soul and therefore our musicians, artists and dancers
have a sacred task to ‘polish’ our spirits again and make them shine. How many of our movements are just about pounding the keypad of a computer or holding our cell phone to our ear? We no longer have time to listen to spirit and to let spirit express itself through our bodies. We are in dire need of a spirituality that will remind us of the sacredness of our bodies, our movements and the rhythms of dance.
Apart from the fact that attuning to and expressing our inner rhythms can help us find a deeper connection with ourselves, this practice can also help us find a deeper connection with each other. To dance with
another is to be in tune with the rhythms of that person’s nature, as well as their moment-of-being. It is to understand how to match their energy in such a way that it will be the
beginning of a creative dance together.
Sometimes we need to match someone's
energy with a strength and power that will
awaken them to themselves and their moment
-of-being. At other times we need to match
them with a gentle and whispering energy
that will calm them down. We soon become
aware of this dance when we spend time with
children. When a child is agitated and you
match it with more agitated energy you will
find resistance, but if you lead them with a
gentle though firm energy they might be more
willing to follow. Our relationships are a
dance. The more we practise, the easier and
more fulfilling it becomes.
Lastly, we also need to learn to dance with
nature anew. It has become increasingly clear
that we, as a species, are no longer attuned
to the rhythms of nature. Ever since the
advent of the industrial revolution our
dance with nature has become increasingly
destructive . We are in great need of
‘listening’ to nature again, in order to
understand her rhythms. It is time to learn
a new dance – one of distinction, rather than
extinction. A dance that requires a balance
between how much we take, and how much
we give. We need to take time to nurture
nature through green living.
In all of the above, the ability to adapt is
of utmost importance – whether it be to a
new set of circumstances within ourselves,
or to where others are at, or to the natural
world. A Chinese proverb says: ‘When the
music changes, so does the dance’. So let
us consider these questions: ‘How could
I change my dance in order to come into
step with my soul again?’, ‘How could I
change my dance in response to my
relationship as it is now?’ and ‘How could
I change my dance to better attune to the
rhythms of our natural world?’ Let us start
dancing a new dance today.