Friday, March 24, 2017

Not Whether We Dance, But How

The Wild Reed's series on dance continues with a second excerpt from dancer, philosopher, and scholar of religion Kimerer LaMothe's fascinating book, Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming. (To read the first excerpt, click here.)

Oh, and it's probably helpful to know that for LaMothe, dancing is any bodily movement in which humans "cultivate a sensory awareness capable of guiding us to create and become relational patterns of sensation and response that promote bodily health and ethical relating." I don't know about you, but I appreciate how this definition broadens and challenges our understanding of dance.

Following are more of LaMothe's thoughts on dancing.

Dance is not only a biological fact; it is a biological necessity. We need to practice creating and becoming relational patterns of sensation and response, consciously and deliberately, throughout our lives, in order to build brains and bodily selves capable of making movements that will serve and enable our ongoing vitality. We need to cultivate a sensory awareness of ourselves as rhythms of bodily becoming, alert to the movements we are making. And we need consciously to internalize a sense of self – a self-conscious awareness – that is capable of not only guiding us but enlivening us to the possibilities of action in the moment.

Dancing, in this sense, is not a question of learning steps or mastering technique or performing on stage; it is a question of discovering and disciplining ourselves to our own capacity to move. It is a question of learning how to participate as consciously as possible in the rhythms of bodily becoming so that we can align our actions with creating a world in which we want to live – and being born into it.

Because we humans are born early, we are biologically primed to dance as the enabling condition of our best brained, bodily becoming. The question is not whether but how.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Soul of a Dancer
The Art of Dancing as the Supreme Symbol of the Spiritual Life
Aristotle Papanikolaou on How Being Religious is Like Being a Dancer
"Move Us, Loving God"
"Then I Shall Leap Into Love . . ."
The Premise of All Forms of Dance
The Church and Dance
And as We Dance . . .
Unique . . . Yes, You!
The Naked Truth . . . in Dance and in Life
Balance: The Key to Serenity and Clarity
Memet Bilgin and the Art of Restoring Balance
Dance and Photography: Two Entwined Histories
The Body: As Sacred and Knowing as a Temple Oracle
To Dance . . .

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