Life is full of surprises, right? Just look at 2020 0.o
Fortunately, this taqsim surprise is more pleasant ; )
I was surprised back in 2011 when I started looking into trauma resolution by its many connections to Oriental dance (in particular the cultural, improvised, personal form of it). The whole letting go, letting the body express itself, the inner focus, the joy–I knew I was on the right path, and I have sought to heighten those connections ever since.
But my second big surprise was a few years later, when DaVid mentioned that aHsas, the Arabic word for feeling (as in “feel the music,” as in “the Most Important Thing is the Feeling“), meant not only emotional feeling, but also physical feeling–the physical sensations that arise from the music and the movements.
What? No belly dance teacher I ever had mentioned physical feelings before.
This is exactly what Somatic Experiencing® (SE) tracks and attends to. In particular, we notice and enjoy the pleasant sensations of goodness that come into the body. I had already found this to be a vital quality of Oriental dance, but the clarity of aHsas brought home to the the cultural rightness of this practice. And aligned it even more firmly with the resolution of trauma, those harmful events of the past to which we have all been subjected.
This relates to the vacation aspect of the dance I spoke of a few weeks ago. With all the crap going on in the world, it’s difficult to avoid the chronic stress (fear, rage, shutdown, or combinations thereof), that many of us experience on the daily. Yet chronic stress is known to be highly destructive, resulting in a myriad of apparently unrelated mental and physical health issues, including all manner of syndromes (IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue), and serious medical conditions such as addiction, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. So do we need a vacation from all this? OH YEAH, WE DO.
In general Oriental dance is a great vacation–how many times have we gone into class feeling crappy and come out feeling good? And I find that the unstructured improvisational Oriental dance (for example, a Dancemeditation session), magnifies this effect immensely. So I have been infusing this into all that I teach, because all of us have crap from the past and everyday life to wash away.
The secret is focusing the attention on the inside of the body.
We usually look at the outside of our body–in the mirror. What do we look like? It’s a very pointed gaze, as we are usually looking for flaws to fix. So it is a big shift to go inside, to be curious, to wonder, what does this feel like?
How do we do that?
Close the eyes. Do your own dance. Let the body move as it wishes.
As you move, notice the feeling of the bones, muscles, joints, blood, energy in the body. Feel what you’re doing. Breathe with the music and the movement. We normally think of stringing moves together. Let your body react however it wants to the music. Go more slowly and let surprising new shapes emerge. When you notice yourself thinking or worrying, notice instead your breath and the sensations of your moving body. Relax. Slow down. Enjoy the movement.
This goes for all Oriental dance–and it goes double for taqsim.
Taqsim is allll about slowing down, relaxing, going inside, savoring the body. It is luscious, meditative, and deeply soothing. This is what we need, right now. That’s why I made taqsim my contribution to the Bellydance Bundle. That why I put so much taqsim juiciness in Open Heart (starts Oct 27).
Taqsim is the icing on the improvisational cake.
And here’s another nice surprise!
Please join me for a free belly dance vacation courtesy of the Bellydance Bundle‘s Live Party!
The party starts at 11AM EDT on October 25. LOTS of great offerings, classes, panel discussions, performances, and more. All FREE. It looks like I’ll be on around 4:30-5pm EDT. More about this soon—it’s so new it doesn’t even have a web link yet.
I look forward to dancing with you!