Sacred Space – Dancing Alone

What about dancing on our own, in private, without an audience or even with a particular goal is so refreshing?  So invigorating?  When we’re not practicing and just letting it go.

Terrence featured an interesting thought about this and I’ll see if I can keep the discussion going (perhaps tangentially).

When we are practicing, training, performing or even just dancing with or in front of our peers we are less likely to envision our space – our art – as sacred.  When we dance on our own after our classes are finished, our training over, our performances finished and our peers retired from judging, what do we evoke?

I’ve always been fascinated by the sacred space that can be created in art.  Not in a necessarily ritual or religious sense but in the creation of a space which obliterates the self.  The notion of “letting go” or “losing oneself” is present in many forms of art, especially performance art.  Our most divine work, that which is other-worldly, rarely manifests in front of an audience or when direct intention is behind it.  It unfolds in moments of release.

Ever wonder why its such a classic image for people, trained or not, to just dance around in the kitchen with complete abandon?  It’s a form of release.  As dancers, when we take this same abandon and let our training flow through it, the art that it creates is an honest outpouring of ourselves.

Whether this has to do with the notion of Flow, as described in psychology, or some immersion within the world-as-it-is sans ego, it is nonetheless an exposure – a vulnerability – which releases us.

Perhaps this is going beyond the scope of this blog, but when you really get going, past the point of forgetting what lies beyond, where are you and what are you expressing?

Do you think dancing on our own is truly important?  What does it mean to you?  Where do you feel the sacred space in your dance is?

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Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 5:27 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Can I post this item to my blog on dancing?
    Dancing In The Pacific.
    Mostly covering the Islands of Hawaii
    Ballroom, Latin, Line, Salsa, Swing and Tango.

  2. Thanks it will be in tomorrows blog. very nice.

  3. Very interesting. Have you read dance philosophy works from Maxine Sheets Johnstone. She talks about some kinds of dance movement as going beyond the idea of the brain sending messages to the body to perform such and such a movement. Instead she speaks about the intelligence written into the nature of the body itself. I think what you write about here is allowing the body to show itself more fully. By doing so, I think it does create a sacred space ie a phenomena that was shown through the body and does not come only from you. I have experienced this phenomena more in partnered dancing. It is probably easier on a solo level,; however, I just don’t dance much by myself.

  4. I recall reading some excerpts of her writing while I was in Montreal studying philosophy. One of my professors had known her and suggested I take a look into her discussions.

    I don’t recall many specifics, although I could go back and turn up my notes or the excerpts themselves.

    Thanks for the reminder, I’ll make a point to reread her works.


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