DanceLove is a note-to-self, containing a series of notes-to-self on themes I’ve been exploring in my conscious dance practice and in facilitating for others.
Conscious dance, for me, is cultivating an awareness of what is moving (physically, emotionally, energetically, psychically, and in the realms beyond all of that) and moving with that awareness. To dance and to be danced.
I’d like to put in here that, despite over 13 years of conscious dance classes, workshops, retreats, facilitating and explorations, I am no master of this by any means (thank goodness!). It’s a practice, just like any other practice. We all start out gawkward (awkward and gawky), then we think we know what we’re doing, and then the veil drops and we realize how far we are from knowing anything, and that means we’ve taken the first steps on the journey. But luckily dancing is fun – especially when you stop caring what it looks like and what anyone might think and start paying attention to what it feels like.
This is probably a good time to point out that in conscious dance there are no “moves” other than to do the move that your body wants to be doing in that moment (note: not what your head thinks it should be doing!). And it doesn’t matter what state you body is in. Some of my best dances have been in bed, flat on my back in excruciating pain, recovering from injury. Expanding my awareness from that point of pain and feeling the movement of the blood flowing through my veins, the rise and fall of my chest with my breath, the pull of gravity, sensations on my skin, until I could feel each and every cell in my body dancing, and slowly, in micro, moving with it. Some of my other best dances have been wild whirling cavorts into shamanic realms (no drugs required).
It all shows up when we show up.
Sometimes we dance without music, but it is easier (especially starting out) to have a mix of music (often called a wave) to accompany the journey. A “good” wave will be a continuous mix that allows space for a range of emotions. This often means varying genres smoothly linked together. Often I start slow as way to ground and drop into a feeling stretchy exploring state, heating up in the middle, cooking, and then easing gentler more sensitive spaces as the end nears. The trick is to keep feeling in and to keep moving (dancing), whether it is music we like or not. Often the genres we resist will bring up the most juice to work with (eg. the feelings or states of being we’ve been resisting). I have moved through grief, trauma, shame, jealousy, ecstasy, passion and joy (as well as a full spectrum of nameless feels) in the dance and it has given me greater capacity to handle all of these with grace in my day to day life.
When the weekly classes I used to take stopped for lockdown I started putting out weekly mixes with some written facilitation and they have become the basis for this site. They are generally under an hour long (I find this an easier length when dancing at home than say a regular drop in class which is often about 1h30min).
So to start: clear a space for yourself (turn off alerts, clear out your housemates/kids, make room on a comfortable floor) make some time, pick a mix and just dance.
I hope these notes bring you exactly what you need:)
With Love, Jolene
(Pic of me dancing on the beach by Lambro)