In the Wednesday morning SpiralDance classes, currently on Zoom we explore dance and movement through various themes, often related to the season/time of year.
We have been exploring how we can embody and find creative expression through the Elements, and have discovered for instance:
Earth is our reality and a good place to begin and come back to
That all the elements are balanced by each other and therefore need each other:
Water is shaped and contained by Earth
Fire is controlled by Water
Air is anchored in Earth
Earth is activated by Fire
We also realised all the elements are multi dynamic, for instance:
A still pond, a flowing river, a tempest
A hearth fire, a bonfire, an inferno
A breeze, a gusty wind, a tornado
Security, instability, an earthquake
Dance and poetry are good companions.
The words of the poems bring simplicity and clarity of purpose to the movements, and also imagination and vision.
The movement can reveal the underlying landscape of the words and energise them through embodiment.
Conversely the movements of dance create a poetry of their own with words arising naturally from the movements.
Light and dark, Colours, Silver and Gold, Foundation Stones, Ice Flow, Waking Up, Transitions, Inner Child, Discovery, Balance, and currently Pathways and Perspectives (circles, figures of eight, direct lines, spirals).
Working with Co-ordination
We have discovered working with co-ordination over the last few weeks that:
Co-ordination can be mentally and physically challenging
It highlights the balance (or imbalance) between left and right
It brings attention to detail and deepens focus
It enhances awareness, integration and connections through the body
It creates new pathways and better internal communication in the body/mind
The Contrast of Light and Dark
Light and dark define each other, demonstrating the importance of contrast
When one part of the body is in the shadow, another is exposed to the light
We have to go through the darkness of the night to get to a new dawn
The imagination comes into play particularly in the dark
Moving with the eyes closed gives a stronger access to internal awareness and sensation
The transition between dark and light – emergence takes courage and leads to growth
Every Spring needs it’s Winter
By working with Colours as our theme we became aware of the strong influence colours have on us, and how they affect different part of the body.
We particularly enjoyed dancing with coloured cloth to immerse ourselves in colour
Some of the observations we made
GREEN – Associated with the heart, the colour of nature, harmonising and healing, sense of growth and renewal. ‘When in doubt use green’ Created balanced, harmonious movement.
RED – Associated with root of the body and blood, life energy, highly energising, not always comfortable, sense of independence, can trigger anger. Created strong, dynamic movement
BLUE – Associated with the throat, cool, calm, truthful, reflective, inner peace, cleansing. ‘Depths of the sea and reach of the sky’. Created simple, deeply felt, reflective movement.
YELLOW – Associated with the solar plexus, seat of emotions, bright and uplifting, clarifies thought and emotion, positive. Created energised, happy and uplifted movement.
Stone, Silver, Gold
The metal of the moon –
we worked with the idea of increasing and decreasing shapes and movements
Also thought about moonshine, silver linings and reflection – self reflection moving with eyes closed and also reflecting another’s movements
We imagined a shine and shimmer around the body, and moved fast like quicksilver.
The power of the sun –
We worked with self worth through good alignment (crown on head!)
The movement was expansive and generous, drawing attention to itself
We took on board a sense of positivity and success
We danced like royalty.
Began the year by establishing strong foundations, grounding ourselves through the feet. Clarity: Movement “Carved in Stone”. Pay attention to shape and form. Timelessness, no hurry, slow down and be present.
Worked with the idea of stillness and sharp, clear shapes. Thought about reflection and also movement qualities such as cracking, gliding, skating, melting, as well as sounds, feeling the resonance of ice.
We explored the feelings of waking up after a period of hibernation, working from the ground up through the body, and from inside to outside. words such as ‘yawning, pushing through, arousing, wake up call and use of breath, were all included in the sessions.
We realised to some extent we are constantly in a state of transition, often in ‘the space between …’ We worked with this idea through the use of breath, different directions, inner and outer worlds, varied dynamics and discussed seasons, elements etc. Spiral movement is an organic representation of transition.
The Inner Child
We realised it is life enhancing to remember our child self without the stresses and strains of adulthood. The enjoyment gained from simple movement – running, jumping, skipping, spinning, galloping, rolling, clapping – was energising and fun.
There were also some interesting insights from looking at our child in the mirror and inviting him/her to dance, with some forgotten memories surfacing, both happy and challenging.
We discussed what our child self can offer us of value now and came up with – playfulness, curiosity, spontaneity, creativity, honesty, being present in the moment, natural body intelligence
We tried to explore our movement practice with new vision, finding fresh insights within regular exercises and allowing each part of the body to move in unusual and expressive ways.
We each took and every day object and saw it as beautiful, whatever it was, and danced with it accordingly. Through this we realised we influence so much though our ’normal’ ways of seeing and judging, and it is refreshing to move away from this.
This month we explored ‘balance’ in the body particularly the balance of the left and right sides. We opened our awareness to the Colour Green, manifest all around at this time of the year, and its qualities of calm, renewal and healing. we related it to the energy of the heart and focused on gently opening and expanding from this part of the body. The last two sessions were upbeat and fun, finding a ‘spring’ in our step through dance.
Since the beginning of the lockdown SpiralArts has gathered for monthly Zoom sessions and they are always highly creative, generous and inspiring sessions. The participants age from the 20s to the 70s and their talents include dance, music, singing, poetry and fine art. The underlying foundation and common denominator of it all is movement/dance and embodiment.
Our monthly sessions continue to be a source of creative joy felt between like-minded people coming together to share their talents and experience with open-hearted enthusiasm.
We have brought our ‘First Lockdown’ sessions to a close. There are two films demonstrating our work over lockdown, one short and one longer, on the SpiralArts in Lockdown page.
In our last Zoom in 2020 we enjoyed a session with guest teacher, Sue Waters, classical singing teacher from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. On her suggestion we took inspiration from Schubert’s song The Lime (Linden) Tree. It gave the singers in the group a chance to shine and share their vocal talents and for the rest of us to explore the words, improvise movement, visualise and talk through our ideas. It was a rich mix and the song will continue to inspire our next session.
January 2021 and we are still working on Zoom, looking forward to the time we can meet again inside or out. However, I think we have proved that the courage and resilience of true creativity continues to grow and flower through challenging times, often gaining strength and power in the process.
The idea of ’The Tree’ seems to be appropriate at this time as a source of inspiration and focus through root, trunk and branches that takes us back to nature and inspires imagination, experience, philosophy and mythology that we can closely relate to the body and the cycles of our lives. The Tree is a source of mystery, beauty and stability and has been throughout time.As soon as we can we will hold some of our sessions outside in woodland, otherwise we remain on Zoom exploring our creativity individually and together. We have set up a Gallery page as a backdrop to this theme with paintings, poems, photographs etc from members of the group.
The theme of ’Trees’ has hit a chord with everyone and we are enjoying a plethora of ideas, material and inspiration – stories, poetry, songs, movement and images. It is a rich mix which is presently in the creative cauldron.
We are excited to see how it all takes shape.
Each person has created a short piece in their own discipline, in response to a painting, a poem and improvised music from members of the group, and naturally the present lockdown situation comes in to play.
It is fascinating to see how limitation, in this case of space, often seems to produce such strong and interesting creativity and quality of movement. Also to observe how working on line seems to some extent to give people more creative freedom, perhaps as they are in their own familiar territory and not immediately up against each other. The more mature dancers work with a certain clarity, simplicity and quiet depth, while the younger ones are more exploratory and verbose with their movement. The mix of disciplines helps a vibrant conversation and lively sharing of thoughts, experiences and ideas which are inspiring and invigorating for everyone.
So far in accordance with the lockdown, everyone has produced individual work, now the task is to work together in smaller groups and finally weave a rich tapestry from the alchemy of work that is being created and produce an online performance.
In the last session we used the Zoom break out groups to come together and work together in random groups and pairs, e.g. A fine artist, three musicians and a writer/artist, A poet, a dancer and a singer, A Tai Chi teacher and a Biospiral dancer/gymnast, Two dancer/choreographers. All have movement in common but the combination produces interesting, original and multi dimensional work.
As we near the end of the lockdown phase of our work, SpiralArts continues to be vibrant and creative force with many ideas spinning and spiralling amongst the members. We have moved from individual pieces, to working together in Zoom break out rooms, and the next task is to create a final, unified piece, which we will do next time we meet. We are now collating all the material we have and hope to produce a short film of our work so far. Two of our main discoveries are that creative expression does not stop under lockdown and that there is great joy and inspiration to be had through working with others, even virtually. There is now a common urge to connect back to nature, to listen to the birds, to watch the waves, to feel the breeze, to stand by the trees and breathe deeply and freely. So this is where we will head next, out into nature and use nature itself as the touchstone for the next phase of our work.
It seems to me there is a deep need for sensitive and creative artists to have an outlet to express themselves, explore their ideas and share them in a safe and supportive space, and this is what SpiralArts aims to provide.
In support of this work, we are now running a Wednesday morning open class on Zoom, 10.30-11.30, see details on this site.