Pull, Push and Related Factors in Dance

June 8, 2014

This blog consists of my own subjective experiences on the 5Rhythms® dancing path, and are not sanctioned by any 5Rhythms® organization or teacher.

My last post was about the phenomenon of aversion in dance—how I work with it when I discover that I really want to disengage or move away from someone.  Today, I want to write about the phenomenon of feeling a pull to dance with a particular person, and about the times when I very much want to stay in partnership.  In my view, although aversion and attraction (or let’s use the word “pull” for now) feel very different, in effect they are two sides of the same coin.  As with aversion, either deciding to go toward who I feel pulled to and whether or not to stay with them; or to resist the pull and turn away, can both lead to insight.   

Ha! There is my set up.  I am just itching to get into this next section.  There are people who I love to dance with (I blurt out in an exclamatory rush!)  Take the example of a friend I couldn’t tear myself away from last night in class.  We have been dancing together for almost eight years now.  When I step into partnership with him, it feels like the continuation of an ongoing conversation.  Both of us tend to move around the room a lot, and every time we encountered each other last night, we dove into a high intensity dance. 

Even after all of these years, we keep finding totally uncharted terrain.  He is not always in class, but whenever he is I am overjoyed.  The whole experience is marked by joy, in fact.  We move about like crazy people, quickly finding something interesting in a movement, in an energy, even in an altitude or in a way of working with weight or momentum. 

After so many years, we each catch the other’s discovery quickly, and make it our own, as well.  For example, he found a percussive way of moving his arms and elbows that seemed to delight him.  I was delighted for him, then briefly tried it on for myself.  Repetition might arise if one of us catches a glitch, but I never feel trapped by repetition, as I often do with other partners.  In fact, the whole exchange is dynamic.  Each thing fully expresses itself, then we move on, never beating dead horses, but returning occasionally to our persistent refrains.  We move in response to each other, leaping and falling and spinning and curving down and around or up and back or even away and toward.  I have never discussed this with him, but I feel like we at once support, celebrate and challenge each other.

I have written much of my love of massive chaos.  This is very much in evidence with this partner.  I realize now, as I write, that it is really not just the chaos of chaos, but rather the chaos in everything, in every rhythm that is the timeless, endless, constantly changing dance of the creative process itself—when every single thing that arises is perfect art in its full expression.

The things that come up in dances with this friend may or may not relate to the issues that are presenting for me in the room at large.  It is always a conscious expression of spiritual energy, even when it is fun and playful.  At times it becomes overtly shamanic.  For a time, I came to feel like a portal was opening above us as we danced.  I had to scratch certain messages with my feet in the ground—some kind of symbols.  I literally became afraid—crazy as it might sound—because I felt like we were creating some kind of message for beings from another world; and I feared I might accidentally be colluding in some kind of apocalypse.  Too, I have found many movements that brought me into memories of past lives, such as grinding corn on a stone.  Images and visions of all sorts have come up, as well, including jewels pouring from my palms, the engagement of dragons, and the room alive with rainbows, pouring from everyone’s arms. 

At one point years ago, I became fascinated by the powerful and graceful way Peter (the teacher) moved through the crowded room—a sweeping, parting of the seas, and I took the liberty of trailing him to see what it felt like.  I investigated this with the same partner—only when we were dancing in partnership, it became more about trying to get behind him, rather than following him.  It was far from easy to get behind him, and this introduced an interesting force that, for me, pushed the dance into more precision, more awareness and more insightful investigation of edges.  To make it even more interesting, he also seemed to experiment with trying to get behind me. 

Why, oh why, would I want to leave this partner for another dancer, you ask?  Gabrielle said often, “There is only one of us here.”  To some extent, developing attachment to one dancer is just as problematic as developing a difficult-to-work-with aversion.  It all depends on how you relate to it.  Let me say that again, because this is the most important thing in this post.  It all depends on how I relate to it!  I don’t want to be attached to this partner.  Nor do I want to be attached to not being attached to this partner.  There is no way I am going to stop dancing with this him, but even when he is present, I hope I will be open to engaging with new people and with people that I have neutral or even aversive feelings toward—or at least that I will notice that I am not dancing with them.

During our dances, my mind often tells me I “should” disengage and move on.  We take up a gigantic amount of space, and although we always welcome others into our dance, sometimes I fear it could be inhibiting someone else in their dance.  An old tendency that I have—I have written about  it in an earlier blog—to NOT be too big, to NOT take up too much space, gets set off.   I felt like Peter (who was subbing for Tammy) was speaking directly to us as he instructed the room repeatedly to “slow down.”  I feel guilty for this unbridled, full-on expression of everything, but most of the time the voice is overpowered by other impulses.

In fact, I rarely if ever leave a dance of partnership when I am enjoying it—even if it feels like the dance has come to a logical ending—yet another interesting insight that I can transfer directly to my understanding of my life. 

Speaking after class, my friend and I thanked each other for the dance with a sweaty embrace.  He said, “There is just no separation,” and I agreed. “It is just sublime.  A miracle that we always keep finding new material.”

Feeling pulled to someone can be frightening, as well.  There are some people I want to dance with who I am just too shy to approach, but I tend to keep my eye on them, conscious of where they are in the room.  This slightly faltering confidence when feeling pulled to someone can also express itself when I am already in a pleasant partnership, and another dancer comes to join us.  This has lessened in the last four years, but I used to assume that the two of them would prefer to dance together without me, and continue on my way—like a weak-kneed bow, not recognizing my own value or power. 

I am a major advocate of following your heart, of heeding intuition and of trusting your gut, but also notice the limitations.  The problem of always letting my heart guide me is that sometimes the deeply ingrained traces of habitual patterns and responses are so unconscious that I mistake their influence as the call of the heart.  Every action deserves a rigorous investigation into its motivation and nature—anything less leaves too much of our humanity open to being directed by our own ignorance.

Many life-changing dances of partnership, of a given moment or evolving over several years, come to mind, but I think I will leave this post here, as the story feels finished and it is time to let the page be still.

 

 

 

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