[Personal experiences]

Drawing on the experiences of others


d a n c i n g

Since my explorations began with this way of knowing through this form of connective movement, I was drawn to the explorations of others. My search found many amazing people. I have been drawn to the stories of two people: Gabrielle Roth (1989) who started the 5 Rhythms dance and Paul Newham (1999), a Voice movement practitioner, who has been on a similar journey through voice/song.

"There is no expressive process which does not contain movement. Motion is central to the way we experience ourselves as living souls"
(Newham, 1999: 89)
By "putting the emotions or an emotion through the rhythms, as well as an inventory of feelings, makes us familiar with them as basic components of our instinctual life energy and lets us gradually become masters of their appropriate expression"
(Roth, 1989: 85)

The potentials for learning somatically are spoken of widely. I am not the only one who has come to understand the stories and knowledges that are stored in the body. Many specialists who work with different forms of movement training reveal that their bodies became a "site for exploration, deconstruction, and recombination of distinct and separate 'bodies of knowledge' with a particular cultural and philosophic base" (Sellers-Young, 1998: 173). Phillips (2003: 1) refers to the body as a site of the "embodied thesis" whereby the body is at the very centre of this knowing. Their explorations with the body posit the belief and knowing that the body is indeed a place that has embodied knowledge. A knowledge that creates a dialogue of its own nature.

"Life is raw material that cries out to be transformed into art - survival art rooted in truth, carved into poems, into albums, into communications strait from the heart"
(Roth, 1989:117)

In drawing upon these various researchers, I found that they used various techniques to tap into these embodied knowledges. Through their personal varying practices (such as through dance, theatre, voice, music), their bodies created its own vocabulary; it gave rise to varying forms of intelligence. Or, as I stated earlier, a whole new way of knowing. Hereby we have an expanded idea of epistemology where the body becomes a profound source of learning and knowledge. In other words, a somatic approach to learning. Kerka (2002:1) highlights an important point that this somatic awareness style of inquiry 'de-legitimises' dominant cultural claims that are devoid of acknowledging the body as a site for learning and knowing.

Gabrielle (1989: 88) coins an interesting concept she calls "Trizophrenia" whereby we think one thing, feel another and act something entirely different. It's a debilitating thing because this mismatch between thought, feeling and action often creates a feeling of powerlessness, or perhaps insecurity, loss of control, scattered-ness or disconnection. In other words, there is no centre in what I do, I simply react without connecting to these different layers within myself in a congruent way. Thus, the cure is aligning with the thought-feeling-action process in a more connected, in sync, manner.

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