Why women are not allowed to dance

Music Credit: Sophie Hunger – There Is Still Pain Left (Laolu Remix)

Dance bans are tools of oppression. As with the persecution of witches in the Middle Ages, emancipated and independent women are a great danger to totalitarian regimes, such as those in Iran today.

The goal of totalitarian regimes is to prescribe a certain way of life and thinking to people. The less a person thinks independently and has forgotten who he is, the more uncritically a person accepts these regulations.

Whoever dances comes into contact with himself. The person feels himself, knows who he is and what he really needs. That is why dancing people are difficult to manipulate. Dancing is a catalyst for civil disobedience and makes dictatorship more difficult.

Throughout human history, dictatorships have banned dance or prescribed how people should dance.

According to legend, Irish tap dancing originated during a ban on dancing. Stiff as a board with arms hanging down, people danced with their feet because the police controlled the pubs through the windows and could not see their feet.

In patriarchal dictatorships such as the one in Iran (not only there), dancing women are logically something like “glitches in the matrix”.

I personally think that now more than ever it is important for women to regain access to their bodies. Considering the public control measures that are being installed in the course of the pandemic, Pina Bausch’s famous quote, “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost,” takes on a relevance of existential importance.

To dance well we have to unlearn wrong ideas

Music Credit: Zeca Veloso – Todo Homem (Nacho Varela & Cruz Vittor Edit)

Expectations create shame

We feel shame when we fail to meet expectations. It’s a protection mechanism that ensures, that we behave in a way that is accepted by society. Because we live in a competitive society, we feel the pressure to deliver great performance at any aspect of our lives and be perfect humans. Authenticity is less accepted than a fake flawless image. We pay the price by being in conflict with our soul.

Humans are foolish by nature

But considering the complexity of life on earth, even adults are nothing else than aged children that continue to make stupid mistakes and behave foolishly. The expectations we have on us don’t match our human nature. We have to hide vulnerability and foolishness.

Expressive dancing doesn’t allow faking

In a competitive environment, faking can be a stepstone to success. But if the reason why we dance is the expression, then faking is logically the opposite of what we are looking for. Expressive dancing is about authenticity. Progression comes by unlearning the idea that we have to dance well and eliminate the of feeling shame if we fail, make mistakes and look stupid.

Why should you practise alone?

Music Credit: Montoya – Iwa

Practice alone and see what your dance would be like if you were absolutely alone in this world. If there wasn’t anyone or nothing to compare yourself to, how would you really move? What does great dancing mean to you when there is no external appreciation or criticism?

Solitude indicates a fresh, innocent mind.

Practicing in solitude helps the mind to see itself clearly as a mirror and to free itself from the futile pursuit of ambition, with all its complexities, fears, and frustrations. Only then one can discover one’s own unique, authentic way of moving.

One relies on authority because one is afraid to stand alone.

Style is something that cannot be given to one. One has to find it out for oneself. And to find it out, one must be a law and the measure to oneself. And therefore no teacher or role model —which means having no fear to stand completely alone.

If someone enjoys being alone, he is free.

The ecstasy of dancing in solitude comes when one is no more frightened to be alone. It comes silently and opens up the path of total artistic freedom.

What is style?

Music Credit: Bicep – Glue

An expression of our inner being outwardly

Everything we express outside is a reflection of what we have inside. One can’t just change their outer appearance without making major adjustments to their thoughts, values, emotions, etc.

One might be able to mimic a style for a short time, but it’s impossible to sustain a certain style in the long term if the style is not genuinely lived by the artist.

Style is the way how something is expressed

In writing, for example, there a many ways to deliver one and the same information, but how the information is transported, is the style.

Style is perceived subconsciously

Style is the relationship between symbols. It’s the hidden meaning between the lines.

Style is an indicator of self-respect

A noticeable styling means one has taken care of something. Because style is an expression of the inner world of the artist, it shows the artist has taken care of himself in this particular aspect.

Every movement leaves a trace in the viewer’s inner eye. Therefore every movement can be seen as a symbol. A symbol contains attributes such as proportion, attitude, connotation, etc. When a dancer’s decision to emphasize certain attributes becomes noticeable, the symbols begin to relate to each other. Another word for this relationship is style.

What is your definition of style? Write in the comments below.

The last thirty percent

When you practice flow movement, you frequently, out of nowhere, receive ideas or feelings for the moves you would like to do. Afterwards you may realize that your execution matches only 70% of the original idea. This is odd, especially if the movement would not have been physically or coordinatively challenging for you. For some reason, you avoided giving the expression its appropriate time and space. The expansion of your freedom to move into these excluded spaces will be the journey of your life.

The structure of the forbidden room

The room that you avoid entering has a structure that is determined by your beliefs. For instance, in western society, the pelvis is considered a sinful place. There is shame and fear associated with it. In the german language, the sex is called “Geschlecht”, which derivative of “bad” and the whole area is named the “Schambereich” which means the “area of shame”. Women are allowed to dance with pelvic movement to some extent, but for men, it’s in general a forbidden place. For most western men, the pelvis is a part of the body that is totally out of awareness. It’s a muted, almost not existing region. So if a movement runs through a man’s body and would enter the pelvic region, the male dancer would do something to bypass the pelvis or break the movement completely.

A life long journey

Because the inhibition of pelvic movement is strongly connected with the western imagery of what a man should be, regaining the pelvic freedom of movement would take the destruction and recreation of a man’s entire world perspective.

Meditation and Hypnosis

What is flow movement

We say that flow is an altered state of mind where a person loses himself and becomes one with his activity. Flow movement happens when the dancer is in an altered state of mind, where a stream of moves expresses through the dancer, without him needing to think about it.

Looks like flow, but isn’t

By nature, your mind wants to go a path that it has already taken. That is, when dancing, the mind suggests repeating movements that have already been made. It’s tempting because it feels safe and comfortable to stay in the already known world. There is a difference between evolution and innovation. The recombination of existing movements that have already been learned is evolution. But only when movements occur that are not recombinations or derivatives of other already known movements, then the movement is an innovation.

So if the sequence of movements is complex, but with altering elements of the same quality, the dancer is caught in a loop. This is a type of monotony that has the ability, like the rhythm of a drum, to hypnotize a person. The ego will take over the dance completely and every movement is the result of an automatism. The dancer could get lost in the stream of movements that could be mistaken for the “flow state”. But that is not the flow that we want to achieve as freestyle dancers. Falling into automatism is a form of unconscious sleep and what we want is a creative trance that is total awareness.

Be aware of repetitions

A good way to keep yourself from getting caught in a loop is to constantly watch where you are repeating your movements. Of course, you need to do repetitions to practice a movement, but be careful not to repeat it because it feels comfortable. Reinvent your style and your movement qualities again and again. Make an effort to break your own patterns.

“When you dance, your mind suggests repeating moves that you already know, and if you do so, you will be rewarded with a sense of security and comfort. Even if the movement sequence is complex, but with altering elements of the same quality, you are trapped in a loop. You could lose yourself in the stream of movements which could be mistaken as a trance. But what actually happened, is that you got self-hypnotized, which is a totally different thing.”

When does a dancer make us cry?

Surely everyone noticed that there are dancers who perform technically at a high level, but whose performance does not touch one’s emotions. It may be that the dancer impresses the audience with spectacular interludes, but there is hardly any communication between the artist and the audience.

But there are also dancers who you can clearly feel that have the attention of the entire audience when they simply step on the stage. They don’t have to do anything to catch their audience’s attention. Sometimes they “just” stand there and look into the audience and everyone is with them. These are the dancers who can make us cry.

The magic happens between the movement and the audience

More specifically, the magic doesn’t happen between the dancer and the audience, but between the movement and the audience. The dancer’s consciousness is part of the intermediate space where the magic happens.

Put the ego aside

The dancer is a medium, that mediates between the movement and the audience. The dancer is an observer of what is happening. The performer’s task is to be aware of the audience’s presents and to give the flow of movement its energy and body to express itself. But the dancer doesn’t make any decisions.

Continue reading “When does a dancer make us cry?”

About flow movement

What is movement flow?

The flow behaves like an independent living being. It is obstinate and delicate as a cat. You can’t command the flow to come. It comes by itself. The flow comes and goes, but with training, the flow comes faster, and easier. The more flow experience you have, the longer and more intense it becomes. The ability to get into the flow is like riding a bike – you don’t forget it anymore.

Flow is just a clue

As a rule, the flow does not give you any exact information to move. It is about movement tendencies. The flow doesn’t give you more information than you need to get just an idea.

There are different types of flow

Depending on which flow you tune into, other types of movements come out. Chi Gong, Kung-Fu, Krumping, Feldenkrais, Breakin, Popping, etc. are different movement flows. There are speaking flows, writing flows, painting flows, etc.

The flow is always there

Whether it unfolds or not depends only on whether you are paying attention to the flow and giving it energy.

How do you get into the flow?

To flow you need the courage to dedicate yourself

It takes courage because the flow leads you into movements that are unknown to you. The unknown is always scary at the beginning. It takes courage and trust here. The flow changes people and that too is scary at the beginning. Surrender means stop trying to control something. Wanting to understand something is like wanting to control something.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.

– Pema Chodron

Have no idea of the flow

You can have an inner attitude, like a blank sheet of white paper. No motive, no direction, no intention. As soon as one believes to understand the flow, expectations develop. If these expectations are not fulfilled, one gets into doubt. The doubt kills the flow.

Do not think

To get into the flow you must stop thinking about the movements.

Judgement kills the flow

Judgment is a result of thinking, which is why judgment also separates from the flow. Negative judgment destroys the flow immediately. But you can’t give a positive judgment either because you’ve done something surprisingly beautiful for example.

Many mental comments come as well-intentioned advice or criticism: “The movement looks better differently.”, “I can’t do that”, “That doesn’t suit me.”, “That looks ridiculous.”, “I heard it that’s unhealthy. “, “That was a nice movement!”, “I’m not that flexible”, etc. A way has to be found to take the inner monologue out of its influence on the flow. The flow can just happen without judgment.

Flow is a process of remembering

As children, we are in the flow. We act out of inner impulses without thinking. Later, when we get older, we learn to suppress spontaneous impulses with well-considered strategies for action. Experiencing flow means remembering something you had as a child.

Keep the focus on body awareness

Move. Perceive every signal from your body, no matter how small. Examine it. Get closer. Move again. Always try to feel When you start pondering, return your attention to the feeling.

A distraction-free training ground

You need a protected space where you will not be distracted. It is difficult to go deep if you are constantly being torn out by ringing phones, children, etc. You should be certain that you can experiment undisturbed for a couple of hours because the mind does not relax when it does knows it doesn’t have enough time.

Sometimes it can be difficult to indulge in the flow when you feel watched. Perhaps there shouldn’t be any other viewers for the beginning.

Listen to good music

Music makes us feel. It doesn’t matter what we hear, the main thing is that it touches us. We can let ourselves be hypnotized by rhythms.

One thought to control all thoughts

Basically, meditation is also based on a thought: A thought that dominates and suppresses all other thoughts. Not thinking is also the work of thought. In movement flow, the task of thinking is to keep reminding you to stay focused on the flow. A thought that says: “Don’t get distracted.”

The problem with thinking

Thinking keeps you in the comfort zone

The mind wants to protect us against danger by trying to foresee the future and avoiding unknown terrain. When flow moving there are unknown emotions, unknown feelings, unknown movements, etc. Since we don’t know trance and ecstasy either, we don’t like to go there either. Thinking keeps us from leaping into the unknown. It keeps us in the safe comfort zone, i.e. where there is no growth. Thinking doesn’t like change.

Thinking repeats movements

Thinking tends to go again on a path that has been taken once. Thinking works with memories, i.e. knowledge of the past. This also happens with movements. When the mind memorizes a sequence of movements, it tends to repeat it over and over again. You then get into a loop and creativity falls asleep.