Let go! Feel the music and move. Let it take you away or deep into yourself. Fill up on life’s vibrancy, creativity and human connection. This is biodanza; and it’s not a bad way to spend an evening.
My friend and neighbor, Susie Heath, invited me to a biodanza class she was substitute teaching. I’m always ready to try something new and this was unlike anything I’d ever done before. Initially, I felt shy and reserved (to those who know me: stop laughing – it’s true!), but once I relaxed, I had a spirit-opening experience.
Susie began with some basic breathing exercises; then warmed up the class with familiar and snappy tunes like “Lady is a Tramp.” What did we do? Anything we wanted – walk, skip, dance, stretch; whatever the music moved us to do. Several of us looked a bit self-conscious to start, but as the fun in the music grabbed us and we realized no one was judging or laughing, we loosened up and added a little swing to our steps around the room.
Biodanza (or Dance of Life) was developed in the early sixties by a Chilean psychiatrist, Rolando Toro Araneda, who wanted to help people reconnect with themselves, the world, and each other. Participants are meant to learn to live “intensely in the here and now.”*
During a session, the teacher plays a variety of music (new age, classical, pop, etc.) to achieve various aims – lift the spirit, quiet the soul, increase the heart-rate or bring participants together. The exercises are performed individually and in groups. Susie guided our practice, suggesting what we might think about and gave examples of how she interpreted various songs through movement. Sometimes we swayed in place; sometimes we held hands as we twirled with another participant.
I was surprised that the practice didn’t feel contrived; it felt liberating, both physically and emotionally, which is, of course, the point.
Biodanza is practiced throughout North and South America and Europe. If you’re looking for something to add to your routine, perhaps as an alternative to yoga, biodanza might just be a fun and freeing practice for you.
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After exploring five careers in five cities in just over five years, Meghan Thompson has built up a wealth of knowledge about what she does not want to do with her life (including teaching, politics, banking, communications and PR). Meghan is finally doing what she does want to do (writing) where she wants to do it (in England) with the support of her husband, the amazing “rugby bloke” and their incredible son, “Sir Grinsalot,” who joined them in October 2009.