School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

Back to contents

Issue: April 2012
A Dream of a 48 hours Long Dance

The Movement Medicine Summer Long Dance in Somerset with Ya’Acov and Susannah Darling Khan.

by Louis Brem

“I had a dream, I saw myself, in the midst of people dressed in white, in a marquee, in a field, somewhere in Somerset, dancing. - Then I woke up and found myself in a field somewhere in Somerset in a marquee dancing in the midst of people dressed in white.”

These words, gently emerging from the loudspeakers, wake me up. Ya’Acov is calling us back to the dance after a short two hours of sleep. We roll our sleeping bags to the side, and begin to move to music, dancing through the tent again. First awakening the “dancer” in me – this authentic and often concealed aspect of myself - handing over the lead of my physical body to him. Taking up the challenge to be authentically myself in the dance, neither leaving anything out nor adding anything in, simply dancing exactly the movement that is right here. Trusting my inner dancer, letting myself go in the music.

36 hours ago we dancers, clothed in white, walked through fields and over hills to a great tent for the Summer Long Dance. Since then we have been dancing here through the 21 stations of the mandala of the School of Movement Medicine. In groups of four dancers we support each other. At specified times we change places – one dances and one witnesses the other’s dance. To be seen and witnessed in my very own dance is a new inspiration for me. No evaluation, no discussion, simply see and be seen.

In the centre of the tent stand a sapling, and on the four sides are the altars of the elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, arranged by the compass directions. At the end of the ceremony the tree will be planted in a suitable place near the site of the dance. Thus each Long Dance leaves behind its tree. As in Indian Sundances, there’s a tree at the centre. What’s new for me here is that we not only use the resources to hand, but create new ones.

We dance the Elements, the Body, Heart and Mind, for ourselves, for others, for community, for and with the ancestors, dancing for from joy of life, from love. We dance alone, with partners, in larger groups. After a dance I let myself sink back into the support group, to go back home, to integrate the new experiences of this dance and then dive back in again to bathe in a sea of dancers.

There are meetings in the glance of an eye, in body-gestures, in harmony or also in opposition. Brief moments or longer ones, but always with lively pulsating people. My own vitality will be responded to; in movement, ever more aspects of my unconscious arise, which I had thought I must conceal. My inner dancer carries these elements through the dance to the surface, and being witnessed I will become visible in that respect. I may dance with all that I am, and may meet others with that. In this I experience a great healing, which becomes movement as medicine.

The rules are simple: whoever is dancing dances, whoever wants to rest rests. Each in their own time. We are 150 dancers from all over the world, who succeed in communicating mainly without words, through body language in dance, and where necessary in whispered English.

We are supported in the dance by a healing team who offer everything from osteopathy to massage and spiritual healing, all of which is needed as most of us are no longer 20 years old. I’m, fascinated with the musicians and DJs who guide us in the tent, who have the intuitive ability to pick up and transpose the needs of the dancers.  Also Kirtan (Hindu call and response singing) has its place in the ceremony, becomes a dance, and the dance becomes a prayer.

The collective intention of the Long Dance lies in expressing our gratitude for life and for everything we receive, in communal dance, prayer and song. The most profound way to show our gratitude is by being completely authentic, and by daring to dance our dreams, our selves, our relationships with loved ones, the community of life on earth, the ancestors and the great mystery.

At the beginning of the ceremony, each one of us spoke out our individual intention, our alignment for the Long Dance. There was a wide variety of goals. A good many of them were about the healing of the earth, good fortune and happiness for all beings; others had a more personal theme such as health, emotional healing, or healing of relationships. My personal intention was to re-integrate some forgotten aspects of myself, which haven’t made it through from my single life to family life. As the dance went on I reconnected with an intimately known vitality, into which I can expand myself again. I experienced a deep contentment and connection with all the dancers. I’m glad I can take this home with me and share it with my family.

In the tent it gets light and dark and light again, and time has lost its meaning, just as hunger and tiredness have lost theirs.

Here I am and I dance.

Here I am. I have a dream.


Article and photographs by Louis Brem, originally published in German by “Spuren” magazine (Switzerland) 

issue Nr 101 autumn 2011

Translation by Katriona Forrester

We are currently taking bookings for the 2012 Summer Long Dance.  Contact Roland for an Application Form

Back to contents

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.