Stay still    

The tables have turned unexpectedly, the temptation is to stay simply here. Maybe it’s easier on a day of 25 degrees, the distinction between myself and out there is unremarkable to my skin. Every feeling from pain to love is an invitation to stay here and feel more. The sadness brings curiosity, the curiosity surprise. Out on the thick of summertime Devonshire moor I visited the Manaton movers today. I’ve mention these dancing wonders before. The joy in finding them in summer dresses dancing through space, listening out through their hands – more refreshing than home-squeezed lemonade. We explored change, the body through time. We witnessed partners up and down the floor – changing together. We saw the freedom and went with it. I stayed after on the moor alone, overwhelmed with gratitude for those elders who surprise me, and I revisited a swimming spot from autumn. River water is colder, clearer than the sea. This patch is low and shaded beneath tall trees with glints of sunshine streaking the water golden and highlighting swarms of flies. I do not swim, I sit still on my knees as she moves around me, occasionally lowering my head to watch beneath. Through goggles I’m always reminded to ponder from whose eyes I look. I see black, brown rocks, and traces of nature decomposing moving with the gentle flow. The pace of the river feels as slow as my breath, it moves on and by with no end. In my own way, in stillness I move with her. I notice the trees upon the bank. We once made love under one. Two seasons have brought change and I can no longer tell which one. Felt through the lens of change, nostalgia reminds me of potential. When the time to collect myself and drive to town for the evening’s dance arrives I smile. Which dance? I laugh. The one with the different kind of music my mind replies.

Allowing    

I’ll call it a night after this one,’ I say a little too often. I’m not out drinking with the British Saturday night culture, I’m home from a late night ocean swim and one dance on my kitchen dance floor, to the suspense shuffle of iTunes, led to another. And another. This is a habit I’ve developed. It started on public dance floors, now it’s in my home, my garden, walking mountain tops… I don’t need music, sometimes the spaces between door-frames is exciting enough, or the sound of housemates running up the stairs is a ripple that touches me. Yesterday my beloved and I said a long and final goodbye. I stood in that kitchen looking in his eyes, feeling the breathing tiny shifts of weight and explosions of grief in and through. Across the house we heard the front door open, close, then footsteps ran up, down and out. Our eyes looked deeper, somehow reminded to stay here. Whoever it was returned again and again amidst the intensity of our silence; footsteps up down and out, four times they appeared. I couldn’t but smile to see the sadness of our scene touched by the soundtrack of another. When we listen it’s quite clear to see the little pawns we are in this ever-moving picture. The grief, has set up camp in a close family of internal volcanos nestled in my heart and somewhere under my navel between my hips. It erupts unpredictably. I can tell you this though. Taking space, is not so much on the outside, in long beach walks looking at a blank horizon, that’s just one side of it. Taking full space is in feeling into those painful volcanoes, or the edges, or the excitement of life with a deep breath and spending as much time feeling into the heart as the feeling needs. And then we’re dancing. On and through.

Why do we dance a conscious dance practice? And why do I devote my life to sharing one?    

In movement practice we pay attention to what is happening, we listen to the body, we explore, we play, and the beauty is that we do not know what we will find. The delight is in what shows up. We often report afterwards that we have experienced some kind of magic, a harmony with what happens, a connection with what surrounds us.
This source of dance practice goes nowhere as we step off the dancefloor and into daily life. Thoughts would persuade us of obstacles but the same practice of listening is ever-available; a refuge, a home of origin. The same source continues to breathe us and dance our every step.
I share this dance practice to support us all in remembering this essence, and from this place, recognising the harmony of our shaping shifting connection with all.

Re”membering” education    

I was 19 years old when I first stepped into the school classroom to lead groups. By 21, I was teaching in London schools within a framework I could only fit if I numbed my feelings, my intuition and my inner voice. When the children left for home, I was left alone in a classroom wondering how to rate them according to national standards and figures on pages. I used to dream of a life where something would lead from inside of me, instead of the sense of a leash attached to the outer authorities. And I remember my own headmaster priding my childhood school on its straight ‘A’ attainment with no room for the individual. Ten years ago I left that London classroom. I guess it was five years ago I decided to lead creative and free-form dance. And just today I visited a local school amidst the green fields of Dartington where the children showed me their creative classrooms and explained that the attached sofa rooms were available if they ever felt sleepy during lessons. The teacher in charge told me her objective is for every child to know themselves when they leave the school. 3 rules: take care of yourself, take care of others, and take care of the place where you are. I am to be working with these children over the next few months when their teachers are away. I am invited to include Soul Motion dance into their daily learning of maths and english! And tonight, our Wednesday Soul Motion class in Keviccs school is just for once in the school gym – I wonder what our inspiration will be as we see the tall windows, ropes and climbing frames. I feel like I am re-living my childhood education the right way.

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