School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 

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Issue: January 2007
Dance and Sing!

by Susannah
 
Once upon a time there were some monks who lived under a vow of silence. They did their work and prayed and lived in contemplative silence, except that they sang, they sang their prayers, their evensong and morning song, with their brothers in church. At some point, so the story goes, they decided to take their silence practice further and to become totally silent, and to sing their prayers in silence, only singing in their minds.

 

After a few months of this, they started to become ill. What had been a community of healthy monks, started to become riven with ill health and weakness. As a community they enquired into what was happening, and decided that singing was a necessity, that god wanted them to sing, and they started to sing again. Their ailments melted away, and their hale and hearty health returned.

 

I can’t remember where I heard this story, but it feels true.

 

Singing, especially when I am deeply, physically engaged with it, feels so alive. The sound rises out of my depths, resonating, vibrating, nourishing, connecting. Dancing helps me find stillness, singing helps me find silence. Both of them are surrendering to and giving form to energy, shaping an offering from my being. And singing offers the possibilities of unison, of harmony, of difference and unity, it is such a powerful way of connecting. I find it so healing and joyous to be held in the vibration of a beautiful song, sung by many voices, threaded together into a rich fabric of resonance. And strangely, it is a rare experience today for most people, even though we are surrounded by music.

 

My first voice teacher was Ida Kelorova. I loved her passionate approach and sang with tears streaming down my face. Later on Chloe Goodchild came and did some very simple voice work on a workshop with Gabrielle in London. I was very moved and as a result I went and studied with Chloe, and ended up doing two of her year courses assisting as a movement teacher, and participating as a voice student. These were the beginnings of my own exploring of the voice-movement connection. On a personal level I have continued with studying music and song writing  with Julian Marshall, and the subtle interplay of technical physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual voice work with “x-ray” voice teacher Sandra Smith.

 

Song, as part of the dance, keeps making itself known to me as part of the medicine I have to work with, for the wellbeing of myself and expression of my own being, and as part of my offering.

 

Up until now the workshop Resonance has been my lab for sharing the voice-dance adventure with others. It has become a workshop of intensive and personal exploration of the connection between voice, movement and one’s own inner song maker. It has to be limited to 30 participants because part of this workshop is solo exploration.

 

The Mbuti people apparently have just one word for song and for dance, they don’t conceive of them as separate. I love that!  Sigara, an inspiring dancer and song maker who was on Resonance recently, offered me the word “DanSing” for my work at this vocal-movement interface. I really needed the name. Thank you!!! This has opened the way for me to offer DanSing to a wider audience through weekend workshops, (no solos required!). Thank you to the Zero Zone 2006 group, Lisa Lotte, and to Kathy Altman especially for your encouragement in this.  And to Ben Burrow, who is the drummer I’ve been working with for many years and whose sensitivity, big heart and musical excellence has been an intrinsic part of this development.

 

I am very happy to be offering DanSing now as a weekend workshop as part of our School of Movement Medicine curriculum. So if you feel your voice has been silent too long, if you would like to experience the way freeing your voice can empower your dance, and the joy of singing and dancing together with others, in and out of form and formlessness, leading and following, in individual freedom and in the power of unity, come and DanSing with us!

 

Wishing you a wonderful 2007, wherever it takes you in inner and outer space,

 

DanSing will happen in Stockholm with Ben Burrow on 17 -18 Feb. Contact John +46 87020614  john@fools.se

 

And in London 3 -4 Feb, Return of the Light; our dancing celebration of Imbolc (Candlemas) and the return of the light after winter, will have elements of DanSing threaded through it. With both Ben Burrow and DJd music.  Contact Christian 0208 979 0778 workshops@dancingeye.net

 

Kempten 11 -13 May, DanSing Hearts is a Heartbeat movement workshop with the thread of song through it. Contact Raphael waveraphael@aol.com

 

Zero Zone; Embodiment also has some sprinkles of voice work through it, as in the work of freeing and integrating the body and our energy, the voice is an integral element. Contact Roland@RWEvents.com 01803 762255

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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. schoolofmovementmedicine.com