The foundational movements of Dharma Dance are simple yet profound. I was introduced to them in a passing comment from Lucie Dufresne, a beloved bellydancer, Religious Studies professor at the University of Ottawa and owner of the Hungry Eye bookstore. She mentioned to me that bellydance was just circle shapes and lines. This chance comment in 1996 ignited a curiosity in me that led to the movement framework below.
The essential two shapes of Dharma Dance are the circle (O) and the straight line (I). These shapes can be imagined to represent the simple Off/On switch of binary code, the Yin/Yang of Chinese philosophy, or the Darkness and Light spoken of in many spiritual traditions. Together they become a metaphor for the “leap” from Formless into Manifestation. They represent Oneness that has been differentiated into two. The relationship between these polar opposites is represented by a wave (S), symbolizing the movement and energy of the vital life force. This force is the source of all creative potency in the universe. It is what makes all change, including human self-actualization, possible. When we self-actualize, the small self gazes upon the large Self. This discovery of our deepest self is represented by two S shapes superimposed to become an infinity symbol (∞).
In Dharma Dance, we create these shapes physically focusing on the head, torso and hips. These areas of the body are the ones that contain our most vital organs, the endocrine and reproductive systems. In addition they are also the regions associated with the emotions and the subtle energy system described as chakras in Yogic terms or the Governing and Conception Vessels in Oriental Medicine. By dancing these shapes, we attract energy into these vital areas and release unnecessary tensions. Physically the movement practice of Dharma Dance increases circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, relaxes the nervous system and strengthens the core. But there is a much deeper initiation that I have experienced. These movements, if practiced over time, introduce us to what I see as a profound, highly nuanced and deeply healing sensual language. These movements speak to the highest part of each other and ourselves. This sacred communion awakens us into a co-creative relationship with the Divine.
Dharma Dance classes offer a glorious opportunity to radiate the truth of who you are, to be received and be witnessed.