Healing the Dance

I just had an incredible time performing and teaching at the Theatrical Bellydance Conference meeting dancers from around the world.  Over the past few days many dancers came to me with questions about the pelvis, sexuality, and the difference between moving the body and being present in the body… I was drooling over these questions.  I know what it’s like to train the body technically.  My first 20 years in ballet really gave me the opportunity to “control,” my body. When I started working with energy healers, Sufi dance meditation, and Esalen massage, I began to actually tune into the sensations in my body.  It was more of a surrendering and listening, rather than telling my body HOW to move.  I started to experience that sensations know how to complete themselves and heal when I put loving attention on them, AND that sensation brings us into presence.  This is a big key for performance!

I’ve really been watching how dance has the power to connect us to ourselves and the divine, just as much as it has the power to disconnect us from ourselves.  It all depends on how the dance is taught or performed.  Dance is healing if we heal our connection to the dance.  (I would say the same of sex.)

When I was originally training there was a value placed on a specific kind of beauty, strength, flexibility, and ability to memorize and perform choreographed movement.  In my attempt to excel in these ways I often chose to override my body’s intuition and creativity.

Many dancers where I trained were struggling with anorexia, bulemia, depression, and deep self criticism.  I sense that these are indicative of the culture where there was no emphasis on exploring our unique body and creative spirit.  These are not just about food, this is about seeing the value in WHO we are feeding.  Now, decades later I see that most dancers started to follow 1 of 3 paths…

One, dancers left dance and went to yoga for healing and for the most part left the creative process.  Two, dancers just left moving all together, but never resolved their dynamic with dance.  Three, dancers started transforming and using dance for healing, restoring the power of dance and of ourselves!  This is the sweetness of LOVE making dances and I can tell that it’s happening because we all start falling in love when we see a dancer move from the depth of her soul.

Zahava Griss