Towards an Embodied Knowing

Dance embraces many forms.   The Knowing Body network seeks to raise awareness of approaches to   movement that derive from somatic practices and their application in the  field  of health, well-being and  self care. These dance practices challenge our   dualist culture based on a mind-body divide.  Movement conceives   mind and body not as separate but rather as  aspects of one organic process.

These approaches begin with  active listening in  to the body, and developing   awareness of sensation and  the flow of subtle  intrinsic  movements just beneath  the  surface of  everyday awareness. Our relationship to our bodies underpins every aspect of who we are;  how we feel in ourselves, and capacity to self regulate grows through awareness of  our    sensing, feeling  body. Yet to many sensation is a foreign language-  as if we draw a peculiar blank to   awareness of the feeling worlds of our bodies – anaesthetized from that which is closest and most vital to us. This alienation and disembodied sense of self  by default causes public attention to focus almost obsessively on appearance, fitness and sexuality. When we lack a  felt awareness of our bodies we lose connection  with   our innate  physical intelligence  and our capacity   to self care  in ways that   sustain health and well being.  Movement  reawakens sensation,  becomes a way of listening to the body and becoming more familiar with the messages it sends.

Healing through movement  is  one of the earliest expressions of the arts. In awakening imagination  and creativity in the body ,  dance  can  restore a sense of  self and  connectedness. Movement relaxes and  brings  back  a sense of  rhythm and  coherence. It offers a language where words fail, bridging the gap between sensation and meaning. As we listen and move sensation  transforms and opens out  our familiar stories into   the wider field of  our lives.  The creative space awakened through  movement can  help  us regain  trust   in sensation, to FEEL our bodies in the present moment,  rather than avoiding feeling  as many  of us do. This   stimulates  new connections and pathways from body into brain. Developing a more attuned body awareness  helps reset the nervous system  which effects sensing, emotion and cognition.

BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT  :   co- creation, improvisation and play

Somatic dance practices  support  movement from within;  spontaneous improvised uniquely personal  dances that  expand as they are listened  to.

These approaches grow through improvisation that enables us to work spontaneously and instinctively. Movement sourced from the inside creates a ‘language ‘ that bridges our inarticulate inner world into outer expression and meaning.

Illness or poor health can create dramatic change in a person’s life. It is often a time of intense loss and confusion – we become vulnerable to fears, ambiguities and uncertainties, as well as experiencing painful symptoms. In such times there is an intense need for creative holistic practices that can help us re-connect and find meaning; dance more than any other art form in addressing the body directly, can restore a connected and personal sense of self.

In our  times there is an  increased need for non-pharmacological, creative and  holistic practices that help us re-connect and find meaning through our dis-ease. Dance more than any other art form in addressing the body directly, enables it and the subtle resources it holds to be a part of our healing.

“…as life experience deepens, personal art expression expands, and as art expression expands, life experiences deepen”. (Halprin, 2000, p20)

These approaches grow through improvisation that enables us to work spontaneously and instinctively.  Working with others to encourage awareness and creative expression;  a dancer’s  refined awareness of movement , listens and responds to the subtle    inner movements in another.  This skill of being alongside someone, is one of waiting patiently, without expecting anything to happen, allowing expression and meaning to unfurl.