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Health Matters: Healing through Dance

If you can talk – you can sing. If you can walk – you can dance.

Sunday 21 December 2014, 01:00PM


Anna Ganotskaya
anna@santosaphuket.com

This African proverb is hard to deny. If we just watch babies, it becomes obvious that rhythm and moving to the music is natural to our body. Every one of us who has ever danced with soul, can remember a sense of catharsis and joy.

Dance was one of the first forms of communication between people and to the divine. Ritual dances, along with songs, were an integral part of life. In the past, diseases were associated with the loss of soul, and dance was an integral part of the healing process to bring the soul back to the body. Often, dance movements are drawn from observations from the external world, from watching animals, the elements, and everyday movements of people. However, the essential component is the inner world of the dancer – the spirit they bring to the dance which becomes a source of inner healing.

Dance invites us to descend into the inner world of the psyche. “Put your psyche into the movement and it will heal itself,” as American dancer and choreographer Gabriella Roth used to say.

During the day we feel a wide range of feelings, from sorrow to anger. Though we can hide these feelings from others, our body is still reacting to these emotions by sweating, producing stress hormones and sometimes redness.

Instinctively, our body has three basic reactions to stress: freeze, fight and flight.

But in the modern world often there is no time to show one’s true emotions, and they get stuck and freeze in the body. Even though you might not be aware of it, they have an influence on us. Several psychological theories say that unexpressed resentment, anger and other destructive feelings can cause digestion issues, allergies, inflammation and even cancer.

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Through dance, life’s difficulties and obstructions can be identified and released. We can attack imaginary enemies, run away or freeze in a frightened posture and, when we let go of this pose, our feelings associated with it lose their affect. We learn to move in response to bodily sensations, emotions, memories, movement impulses, and images.

Rejected, forgotten, or new potent images and feelings can then surface and be brought to our consciousness through expressive movement.

Dance can be a metaphor for how you move through your life. Does it look like firm strict ballet poses, circular motions or chaotic and undirected movements?

Dancing is a path that can bring you closer to yourself. You can return to your own creative impulse, find ways to move through stuck places in your body and mind, as you re-connect with a deep inner source.

In sessions of Healing Dance at Santosa you have the opportunity to get close to your true nature and recognise the needs of your body. This therapeutic practice allows you to explore the relationship between the creative, psychological and spiritual dimensions of your experience through bodily expression. The body becomes free and liberated; you learn to listen to your body and soul. It also helps to recognise what your true values and needs are. Dancing from within brings harmony and balance into our life.

Spontaneity, creativity and a profound sense of authenticity become more available as we become more aware of who we genuinely are. As Gabriella Roth used to say: if you don’t do your dance, who will?

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