From postcards and feet to poems and dance – Reflection on the module “Body in Therapy” from the master of Dance Therapy

I keep thinking people need to know a bit more what we do. So here I share a reflection about a module I had in April 2013 with Ann Helgesson, part of my studies in the Master in Dance Movement Therapy.

The module title was “The body in Therapy”, and here a description of my process:

Group Process Reflection:  Foot – Painting – Poem – Dance

Inner engine

Everything started in our roots. One part of ourselves can reflect our wholeness. When we speak about our feet we are indeed speaking about our whole being. Looking inside, as if checking the inner-engine of our airplane, our body, I recalled many memories, associations…

niña flamencaMaking choices with the postcards.  We had to choose a postcard. My quick choice was the Indian feet, coloured nails, beautiful jewellery, colourful, caught my attention. And afraid of loosing the postcard I took it even without looking other options. Usual in me. Yes I am colourful as the picture but I am not so decorated. I rather being naked. So I suddenly felt a big regret of the choice, stuck because of my own impatience.

When my turn  in the sharing circle came, I dared to change it, “stealing” the postcard from Ann, the facilitator. The words “expressive” and “presence” the she used to describe the little flamenco girl penetrate my chest.  “I am that”. I thought.
It was rewarding being able to rectify my choice.

My feet: What to say about my feet…Wild, animal and free is what my barefeet tell me. I love to be barefeet.  Connected to my most primitive and natural side.

 

Flying alone

Now my flight began. We had to paint our feet. Quiet, creative, intimate moment where our right brain got activated and allowed my fingers to travel through the white landscape of paper. Anyways the judgemental side was also present sometimes saying that my painting, my route, was too chaotic and senseless.

It is surprising to recognize continuous patterns in my paintings along the months. Dark red always, spiral and three points in a row. I find interesting just to notice it and have it in mind as it could maybe show something about myself. No idea yet.
 

Naming the journey and sharing

Writing a poem that would condense the individual journey was the transition from the creative right side towards the cognition. Starting to think in concepts. Travelling from the artistic abstraction towards the earthy letters.

“Expansive dispersion is asymmetric and chaotic”. “Start to empty myself for opening”.
As well as the symbols, these sentences make so much sense still now. Moreover, it has been some weeks that I am obsessed willing to feel “empty” and it was astonishing to see that the desire was already there in November.
Organically we create a group of four and shared our poems. We put our maps together.  We circled and underlined the common themes in our poems, founding places which we four had visited.

1. Expansion, opening, directions…
2. Asymmetric, chaotic, ugly, opposite…
3. Sand ground, strong, trust, my place…

This action created a linkage between us. We were suddenly connected by our words, because we felt that we four had common points.  Finally we translate it into a bigger, wider theme. Looking from a “metha” level, we found the eternal theme of “Chaos to Cosmos” and we stick to that for our improvised dance.

 

Flying together

The only thing we fixed was that we would start separated and we would finish all together. We trust in each other. However moments after we finished our dance I totally forget about what exactly I had done, which movements or how in space I moved. No images at all. So that tells me usually that I was not really connected, I was moving for moving.

Later we moved and reflect on the group image, the body image while being in the group. And it felt like a tangled mass of body parts. In my mind the body image appeared to be an amorphous brownish mass. That was the image. Quite disorganized and clumsy.
Different emotional personal topics and questions were raised while moving. Rather negative ones. Do I almost always leave my weight in others?  Am I selfish because I don’t leave others put their weight in me? Am I always leading?

But then, surprisingly  in the second trial all the confusion was cleared, things came to a place naturally. If in the first time I was always leaning back, in the second I felt smooth, supported.

In conclusion, “Chaos is the neighbour of God” as Ann said.