Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Artistic learning as citizenship. Dance as life.

I'm a strong advocate for learning to live in our bodies. To really appreciate this element through which we experience... everything.

I try to impart this to my students, when I am teaching, and dancers when I am creating work. I received some feedback from several individuals with whom I work:

From a nursing pre-professional:
"You taught me about my body. I find sometimes as I walk, I'm focusing on the way my foot is hitting the pavement. The way I'm rolling through and how the surface under my foot is effecting my walk."

From a PT pre-professional:
"When I'm sitting, I'm thinking about my spine and how I'm sitting is effecting my breathing and my mood. I observe how my spine effects the rest of my body when I stand up.. and it happens almost unconsciously..."

"The patterns we learn in class have become habits in my body. Like, when I was sleeping, I was in a ball position. Then I rolled to the other side and my arm did an overcurve and then I woke myself up thinking 'did I really just do that?' But it was more efficient movement..."

When we understand our bodies, we have a greater relationship with ourselves. When we understand ourselves, we have a greater capacity for empathy for someone else. Dance demands that we understand our living bodies - the physical body, the emotional body, the spiritual body, the intellectual body. Dance makes us better people.

blossoms outside of the studio

I've said it before, but I'm determined to heal the world through plies. (and other beautiful things... like these trees that are blooming all around Philly).

What's next? Who knows... maybe my nurse is better equipped to do her job now that she has a deeper relationship with her body. My PT might be more understanding of her clients when they enter her office because she can understand their bodies through her own. And, perhaps I don't have the IRB's or the grants to do long term research on this... but I bet that there's a direct correlation between positive care in any given field and collegiate dance training. If anyone's interested in supporting this research, I'll do the work!

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