Each and everyone of us is carrying a world.
A world of sensations, feelings, embodied images and words … whispering its presence. A world with the deep desire to materialise. In an ebb and flow kind of way.
This inner world is the source of our somatic dance expressing back in the world around.
If we are genuinely connecting and expressing this dance from within it can support healing and acceptance of self and others through:
- finding beauty in the imperfect and unusual,
- acknowledging different point of views,
- and ultimately developing empathy and care towards yourself and others.
Recognize Flaws As Unique Beauty
In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature.
Go for a walk to find “unusually unique beauties” in nature (Wabi-Sabi): crooked branches, unusual trees, rocks with scars, wounded plants, insects, animals… and explore a dance of becoming these unusual beauties, embodying their imperfections and vulnerabilities.
In the video below, I explore the ephemeral cycle of a flower from budding life to witling death. How can you walk with the flower outside and inside you, letting its impermanent nature moving you? (I learnt this exercise from Yoshito Ohno in Japan.)
(You can explore this walk with your found unique object… embodying its imperfection…)
Appreciating the unusual, crooked, broken… seeing flaws as uniqueness supports healing because we start accepting ourselves, and others as we are: imperfect and interesting in our unique way.
Dancing, moving from our flaws and interpreting embodied images of the unusual… helps us embrace these qualities in ourselves and others.
Create and Move Your Own Unusual Imperfect Creature
Mix and match images to become a unique new creature. Choose a few images for different parts of your body and move them, let them move you…
Having snakes instead of hair
Having several heads speaking together
Your face rots and falls off
Your face is cooking like bacon
Your arms are becoming distorted branches of Arbutus
The flesh of your arms is decomposing and falling around
Arthritis is distorting your fingers and hands
Your arms are becoming bat’s wings
Having claws growing in place of your fingers
Gaging sensation before vomiting
You have a dinosaur tail growing
Your open belly is loosing its entrails
A bird trapped in your chest is panicking
Your legs are covered with extremely long hair
Your legs are brittle branches, cracking and breaking
Having chicken legs
Maggots are coming out of the skin of your legs
Your whole body moves, crooked in a jar
All your joints are pulled out by elastics
You are a tangled string puppet
Become a live puzzle: stitched together head of a lion, eagle feet, dragon tail, bat wings…
Embrace Differences Through Adopting A Variety Of Point Of Views
Dancing the becoming-other puts us in the shoes of others, of the different. It is a way to see with new eyes, to stop pre judgements… It makes us realize that everything is a possibility in life.
Move like an animal, another person, a quality that is far from how you perceive yourself. Like the creature you created in the previous exercise. How does it feel to see through their eyes, to sense the world tough their body?
How is it to experience your environment while moving like:
A small bird hopping on the ground looking for seeds?
A gigantic bear catching salmon in the river?
The calming blue colour of the summer sky?
A freezing, cracking icy and stormy winter day?
A very old person with Parkinson?
Develop Empathy By Caring For A Dance Partner
Empathy is putting yourself into others shoes but also it is to start caring with an open heart. It is to take care of self and others. Helping and protecting, with awareness, by creating a safe surrounding. Explore this caring sensation through dancing with a partner.
Head-Echo-Tail Exercise (I learnt from Min Tanaka in Japan)
Hold your partner’s head in your hands – move it slowly to another position in space and stop – in the pause, your partner echoes with their tail/ pelvis the movement they just went through and stop – in this new pause, you move your partner’s head in space again – take your time and listen to each other
You will witness a variation of this exercise in an excerpt below of The Sun and The Moon a show by Holly Bright, based on book by Celestine Aleck.
(Dancers-collaborators: Nicola Jackson & Genevieve Johnson, Light: John Carter, Music: Wayne Lavalle, Projections: Sammy Chien – Chimerik, Costumes: Graham McMonagle, Video: Chris Randle)
Other example of caring exercises:
- Become a mirror for a partner, moving together as reflection and reality….
- Pretend your hand and your partner’s face are magnets: your hand moves and your partner follows with their face…
- Carefully direct your closed eyes partner into discovering the space around…
- Two partners walk towards one another: encounter, hug and separate…
From a true and genuine place, express a dance from within to feel “more”… and feeling different is already “more”: an extra sensing tool in your body.