Dance is a universal language that all beings can understand regardless of species. It is the language of the human heart, and the Soul, in which all beings can identify with and connect to. Dance is the expression of joy, happiness, and love, the highest of human expressions and has the potential to reach the realms of bliss and oneness that can transform lives and maybe even humanity.
Dance as a pure kinesthetic art form translates its real messages through the art of subtlety, way beyond just the physical form. Although invisible, this communication can be felt and seen as the radiance emitting from the performer that can also be felt within the being of the viewer. It is just something that happens naturally that allows everyone to participate through the language of love. This experience engages the audience member and allows them the opportunity to feel that subtlety reverberating inside the body in response. Like in the case of experiencing beauty and truth, it is unmistakable in the experience of its impact but not necessarily so easy to translate into words. It is the combination of the human form as the instrument for this art that delivers its communication and this subtlety that creates the magic. What could be a better mirror than another human form in transcendent experience, through their art, acting as a conduit of the divine to serve as the deliverer of divine's message.
Have you ever noticed the expression of childlike wonder, regardless of age, on the face of an open heart when surprised by a spark of imagination, or the expression while experiencing the miracle of our everyday world when a baby is born? These expressions are common to all in the human species, and are all part of the Cosmic dance of life such as the underwater ballet of life, as the baby grows in the womb expressing through movement while in sync with the choreography of the universe.
On Traditional Dance and the Power of Lineage Within This Art Form
People want to feel. When people feel and open their hearts, they can allow the possibilities to be inspired and receive the transmission. If pictures are worth a thousand words, imagine what an artist who has dedicated his/her life to the practice of their art form as a life path towards self realization, and ultimately “Liberation”... is transmitting. Being a pure channel of their tradition and lineage, the performer becomes the vehicle for the energy of grace and the divine moving through them. From this higher perspective, the greater message of truth and the love of the divine is conveyed. One of light and of higher consciousness which Inspires and uplifts. In its purest form of expression, the potential of dance is the highest. As artists, we catch glimpses of this, but some are the living embodiments of their traditions fully delivering this form of expression within the devotion of their performances. These are the experiences that are felt and fully experienced, where some form of transformation is occurring. Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, is the ultimate representation of this dance.
(8 January 1926 – 7 April 2004) was a legendary
Indian classical dancer, guru, and exponent of Odissi dance
A Rare Expression
Love and the expression of the authentic self with the intent of giving love, sharing and caring in "making this world a better place" for us all, so that we can "heal this world", are just a few examples of the giving and the expression of love to the world which was what Michael Jackson was all about. He was someone that made people feel!
If dance is the universal language, and communicates beyond all boundaries, borders, race, religion, age, and species, then Michael was its living representation. Today if you ask anyone anywhere in the world, “Who is Michael Jackson?”, they will all know who he is, even sing a bit of their favorite song, and would even be able to bust one of his moves in honor of the mention of him.
His language of dance was completely his own creation, being a natural dancer, he used this language as a catalog to punctuate his performances with the power of perfection that he infused into these moves as living symbols. Not only is he known around the world for songs that he delivered to this world, but also is truly loved and imitated for the way he danced and the way he made the world feel!
On Dances from Mixed Cultural and Heritage Backgrounds
Bringing dance back into the community as an expression of that community, filled with its rich experiences of life and culture, could be of benefit to the future of humanity. In finding a place amongst the community for these art forms to reside as “Cultural Art “amongst the people that birthed these movements, would honor this art form and allow it to pass down from generation to generation maybe even encourage these creative artists to stay and invest in their communities.
Dance in its natural state evolves and reflects the humanity of the community and has had the tendency to crop up (such as) on the streets of America's urban neighborhoods mainly in cities rich in diversity and devoid of nature. Young people have met on the corner, in alleyways, and sidewalks to gather and practice various forms of street dance. A haven for some to get away from oppressive situations at home, some for the lack of home, and some to escape the inevitable pull of the gangs and violence that were ruling their neighborhoods. They found a way through music and the power of invention to create new, totally original dances for their times, and were completely dedicated to this dance life and culture. This has been consistent over many decades with each generation bringing forth their own flavors and styles inspiring each generation to dance these dances as a community. These beautiful and rich expressions have both gained and lost through the commercialization of these genres.
The Dance That Rocked the World Through Ahimsa.
This year we have seen the cropping up of diverse ethnicities of people expressing with great emotion in response to police brutality, in the form of a social political protest in the US campaign, “Black Lives Matter”. These protests followed the non-violence (Ahimsa) lineage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was originally inspired by the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. The method chosen to express these protests around the country was through the language of dance.
Real art, as the expressions of humans, by humans, and for humans has the potential to be of miracles and the highest expressions of humanity. It is only to step into and be this “truth”, so that we come out of the darkness and into our own lights. In this way, dance can facilitate the powerful messages of the people and potentially transform.
38th annual "Planetary Dance"
Dance for Mother Earth and Her People
If the human being is a pure and powerful container to hold a beacon of light on this planet, through purity and clarity of intentions, we can step more fully into, “being the love”, with others as a symphony of change. A strong example is dance pioneer Anna Halprin. She has been contributing always ahead of her time and has always been investing largely into her community, and is still contributing at 100 years old. She initiated a yearly project called “Planetary Dance” demanded by the people that has spread throughout the world whose origins are as follows:
“From 1979 to 1981, six women were murdered on Mt. Tamalpais across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The trails were closed and the community lived in helplessness and rage. At the time, Anna Halprin was leading a community workshop called “A Search for Living Myths and Rituals.” The participants decided to enact a positive myth in dance: the reclaiming of the mountain. That ritual, called, “ In and On the Mountain”, was performed over several days including the trails where the killings occurred. A few days after the ritual, the killer was caught and peace was returned to the mountain.”
“Don Jose Mitsuwa, a Huichol shaman then 109 years old, visited Anna Halprin and heard the story. He said, “This Mountain is one of the most sacred places on Earth. I believe in what your people did, but to be successful in purifying this mountain, you must return to it and dance for five years.”
“And so the living myth grew. Inspired by the “coincidental” capture of the killer and mindful of the shaman’s council, the dance continued for five years every spring, each time deepening the participants’ understanding and expanding their vision. In 1985 the dance was renamed, “Circle of Earth.” Plantarydance.org
These types of gatherings are having and can have a large impact in uplifting the conscious awareness of humanity. Imagine if these types of gatherings, or similar, were the responses in more of the communities around the world.
Conscious Dancing - A Dance Meditation
Dance, or the power of raw movement, is also being used as a powerful meditative and healing tool. There are so many pioneers and facilitators in this field, one strong example is the powerful method of, "Conscious Dancing", offered during retreats with Mohanji, and guided by Devi Mohan.
“Conscious Dancing”, “This joyous method of meditation and alignment through dance was a gift we received from Mohanji’s consciousness during Mohanji Retreat in Serbia in 2017, through Devi Mohan as the instrument of this blessing. Since then, many people throughout the world started recognizing the depth and beauty of this method.”
“…By the time “Conscious Dancing” reaches the crown, powerful and yet divinely delicate energy is felt within the dancer’s energized central axis and throughout the body, including the subtle layers of the aura. Nothing else exists but the bliss of a vertical pillar of light, with the mesmerizing inner silence which is deeply enriching, healing and transformative." Mohanji.org/learn/conscious-dancing/
Bringing these types of methods into a daily, weekly, or monthly practice can help one to approach their inner realm, release, and heal traumas of the past, with the intention of the movement expression being... to let go and surrender.
Creative Movement in our Schools
Making the world a better place for generations to come could include another way to access the power of dance on behalf of humanity. By providing the richness of tools that dance gives in abundance, dance is well suited to fit into the content/ curriculum in our schools. The creative movement already applied in schools has a large amount of research and statistics behind it showing how much it helps with the improvement of learning and concentration. A pioneer in this field describes its beginnings as, “I didn’t really know what I was doing being thrown into a teaching position, But I knew dance.” And with her background in dance, she had the students stand up and begin spelling the letters by creating shapes with their bodies. There was a huge improvement across the board in the student’s attention, focus, awareness, and joy of being engaged in the learning process with the simple use of imagination and movement.
The effects can also be seen in archive footage from schools in the past that have included creative dance and movement as a large part of their curriculum for early elementary and preschool students. These programs within the curriculum were really impressive. The children seem to display a lot of confidence, creativity, respect, and the ability to work well with each other naturally while exuding the unmistakable quality of the "No fear Factor". Amazing! Watching these young children so totally flexible, coordinated, and fully engaged while building a strong container (body) was great to see. Each child is being fully integrated within themselves while exploring every possibility through movement in improvisation and gymnastics. The respect equally observed by the children and those who were coaching, allowed the vibe of the environment to provide support while allowing the children to be totally free, independent, and responsible within these unlimited possibilities. Looking at these types of examples in action, one can easily realize which part of our humanness is in need of recovery.
The art form of, “Dance and Movement”, seem unlimited in their potential to be a positive and uplifting tool that can be utilized to transform the Individual, their everyday life, and the lives of the community of humanity. Through the encouragement of the arts as a living expression of the highest values such as unconditional love, peace (contentment), we can expand in the direction of sharing and caring by possibly bringing the arts back into the communities and out of competition halls. WE deserve better! The human being as the Instrument for this art form is the instrument, container, experiencer, and the expression of the dance itself, and is limited only by the imagination.
Author: Lori Werner. Lori has had dance training since the age of three. She has a well-rounded background in all performing arts including ballet, tap, jazz acrobatics, drama, voice and modeling. Lori has won many titles regionally and nationally Lori was featured as "Diamond" in several videos and the world tour of Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls." Also, she toured with Ricky Martin as the "La Vida Loca" girl and performed with Michael Jackson worldwide as his lead girl in "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Dangerous." She was the associate choreographer for Broadway's Tony nominated "Smokey Joe's Cafe."