Sunday, November 3, 2013

DANCING FLOWERS FOR PEACE: Dialoguing with our bodies and transforming the negative into the positive

Hallelujah for the seeds that the Dancing Flowers for Peace are planting in our world! Hallelujah for their mission of nurturing health and well being through movement and transforming the negative into peace and much much more!
THE DANCING FLOWERS. Members of the Dancing Flowers for Peace began the November 3, 2013 workshop with a performance to welcome participants. Visit the Flowers' website to learn more about the dancers.(photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Yesterday, I had the immense pleasure of participating in one of the Dancing Flower workshops dedicated to women 40 and older (I'm 55). For awhile now, I have been joining the Dancing Flowers on their Saturday workouts for the first hour. I value these imaginative warmups directed by Lori Teague, Emory University dance professor, for the way they help me understand my aging body and the spirit that dwells within.
CONCEPTS TO DANCE WITH. The dance studio where we had the workshop was decorated with flowers and "thoughts" or "questions" to think or answer through our dance.(photo by Hallelujah Truth)
The question, "How do I create a dialogue with my body," is an essential one for honoring what my body needs. Any woman who has "gathered" four decades or more knows that our body acts differently as we age. Knees begin to act up, hips don't move as fluidly, and if we are too stationary, everything tightens up. Therefore, we need to begin and maintain a conversation with this body of ours to keep HER healthy and feeling good.
QUALITIES WE ASPIRE TO. In the workshop, we identified a flower that we would like to be and associated the qualities of that flower that we would like to embody. Here workshop participants each wrote one of their qualities. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
The workshop began the "dialogue" with our bodies by asking us participants to introduce ourselves, the flower we had chosen to identify with, the qualities of the flower expressed about our emotional or spiritual needs, and to create a movement that expressed the "essence" of the flower. Then we chose one "quality" we wanted to share with the group and wrote it on the whiteboard (see photo above). Afterwards, we were invited to dance those qualities.
EMBODYING QUALITIES THROUGH DANCE--A DIALOGUE. Being an observer is a rich way to understand the body's dialogue with an idea. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
In another phase of this exercise, we divided workshop participants into half, so we could observe each other. Seeing, witnessing, observing other dancers, whatever you want to call it, is a different way of understanding the dialogue we can have with our bodies. 

The workshop was rich with exercises--too many to share all of them here. But for now, I would like to conclude with the grande finale of the workshop. We took our experience of "embodying" qualities such as "celebration," "vivid," and "float," individually to building a dance in groups of four or five to express some aspect of PEACE.

Incrementality is essential in this kind of collaborative dialoguing. Each group member created a "phrase"--a movement. These "phrases" were connected into a "sentence" or a dance. The dances were then given form and shape in the space of the dance floor. These images show only a few of the wonderful results. 
COLLABORATION: BUILDING A DANCE FOR PEACE. In the beginning, we moved, discussed, and melded our ideas to build a dance for peace in small groups of 4 or 5. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

INDIVIDUAL GROUPS PERFORM PEACE DANCE. Each group's dance was a unique expression of peace.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth and Lynn Manfredi)
For me, the outcome of this workshop with the Dancing Flowers was the fulfillment of dialoguing with my body and spirit in a few simple steps: 

1. Honor what my body wanted to express by creating a simple movement that could be repeated.

2. Honor and accept the movement that each member contributed.

3. Collaborate in piecing together our individual contributions to generate a meaningful dance that could be given a name.
OBSERVATION. Lori Teague (left) and Jennifer Denning watch the groups perform. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Lori Teague concluded the workshop by telling us that we had been given "seeds" at this workshop and that were welcome to go out and plant them in the world wherever we wanted to! Thank you Lori! Thank you all Dancing Flowers for Peace! It was meaningful and fun. I plan on continuing this dialogue with my body--honoring its needs and transforming the negative into the positive.

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. Tell me how you are going to dialogue with your body today. Can you dance PEACE?

1 comment:

  1. What a unique day that must have been. It is always such an interesting experience when we learn more about how to have a dialog with our bodies and then to express it in a meaningful and productive way.