5Rhythms Dallas with Mati Vargas-Gibson


5Rhythms Movement meditation

What is dance floor etiquette?


Listen to your body Go at your own pace, listen to your own body and move in ways that are right for you.  This is an invitation for you to discover your own ways of moving and the places where you resist your impulse to move. Experiment and try new things, but also be aware of your physical and temperamental limitations .

What to wear Wear comfortable clothes that are easy and fun to move in, and that will not distract you from your dance (straps that fall off, too tight, too long).  Layers are helpful, as we warm up and cool down.  Street shoes are not allowed on the dance floor.  Most people dance barefoot, but dance shoes are also acceptable and recommended if your have problems with your feet.

Keep moving  As we move, we stir things up. You may hit patches of fatigue, frustration or discomfort. Even if you can only wiggle a finger or nod your head to the beat, stay in motion until something changes. Movement opens the door to the alchemy of this practice.

Pace yourself  No matter what other people are doing, honor your own body and physical energy. If you rest in the beat when you get tired, you’ll be ready to ride the next wave of energy when it comes. Respect your body’s needs and limitations; there’s no reason to push.

Practice respect  Is your ‘partner’ sending signals that he/she wants to be left alone? Do people have to dance around you while you stop for a chat on the dance floor? Are you so lost in your own excitement, swinging yourself or a partner through the air, that people have to come out of their own meditation to avoid being whacked by one of your limbs? Mindfulness in relation to others is a basic tenet of meditation, especially here.

Practice silence  We spend many waking hours, often our whole lives, talking as we skim the surface of ourselves. This meditation is an invitation to drop the words, speak with your body, turn your being into a moving work of art, let your very self become a dance. If you can’t resist talking, please go outside so others may enjoy the word-free environment.

Stay present  As with any meditative practice, you will deal continuously with distractions. You may have the sudden urge to admire the décor, find a partner right away to entertain you, seduce someone, get lost in judgment about the temperature or the teacher or the music, compare yourself to that amazing dancer – in other words, get away from yourself. Just notice when you get distracted, and gently bring your attention back to your feet, the beat, the breath, your dance.

Release your expectations  You might be ready to play today, but what if no one else is in the mood? What happens when you have a hankering for a certain kind of music and the teacher has different plans? We might prefer dancing to our favorite song, in our favorite outfit, with our favorite partner, but clinging to ideas of “how it should be” cuts us off from what is actually happening.

It’s not just about the music  The teacher uses music to catalyze and support what’s happening on the dance floor. While a certain piece of music may evoke strong emotions, how you respond is up to you. The music is a platform for practice. You don’t have to love it - just respond. Sometimes not liking something is a great way to access creative movements.

Stretch yourself
  If you always dance alone, you might try including someone else in your dance. If you are constantly on the prowl for a partner, maybe it’s time to ‘go solo’. Slow down - or speed up - and see what happens. Experiment with different ways of moving or of being still without dropping out.

Many thanks to Joanne Winstanley for these points of clarity! From:  The Moving Center School


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