6 months after the Annual General Meeting and the workshop “Departure into the Uncertain” in Meißen, the professional association Meditation of Dance – Sacred Dance invited to a second open workshop in Bad Herrenalb, this time led by Friedel and Saskia.
The centre designed by Heidi – a richly colourful bouquet of different zinnias, “each blossom a dance” – visually expressed what the invitation in the flyer had formulated: Let us experience our connectedness in dance together this weekend. What connects us all, what we all find home in, something that allows us to build bridges to ourselves and others – the meditation of dance.
At the beginning, Friedel reflected on the term “being connected” and opened up the complex dimension of this basic theme of human life with her thoughts. The selection of dances and the accompanying texts coherently unfolded and illuminated essential aspects: I-Thou-We, Encounter, Friendship, Connecting, Letting Go.
A text by Hermann Hesse is quoted here as an example:
It is not our task to get closer to each other.
Our goal is not to merge into each other,
but to recognise each other
and to learn in each other to see
and to learn to honour
what he is:
the other’s counterpart and complement.
Choreographies such as Freundschaftstanz, Being together/Zweisamkeit, Zwiegespräch, Inanna, Neumond, Alles ist eins allowed the challenges of “being connected” to be experienced directly in a sensual way: In steps, gestures and spatial paths, it was a matter of reassuring oneself and of finding one’s way from the I to the Thou in the togetherness.
The Sunday morning attunement brought together the diversity of what had been danced and heard: After the Sonnentanz, méditation en croix, Verbindungstanz-Onthechtingsdans, Wege zu Dir-Wege zu mir and Zuversicht, we embraced each other in a tight circle around the centre and swayed together to the music of Nasihat (Kradagan).
The 23 participants, who travelled from the north to the south of Germany, from Switzerland, the French Jura and Latvia, felt richly blessed by Friedel’s and Saskia’s work. Depth and fullness were the characteristics of this wonderfully successful seminar, leaving much to reflect on and resonate with, inspiring and urging to share.
Uli (Ulrike Meister-Lucht)
Wim de Weij lives in the Netherlands and dances regularly in the dance group at Jeaneth de Witte’s in Enschede/NL.
What was your first encounter with Sacred Dance?
I first came into contact with Sacred Dance in 1991. Das war bei Ankh Brandt in Breda. It was a large group where, to my great relief, my clumsiness was not noticed immediately. Ankh used to say: there are no mistakes, only variations…. Nice thought, but I couldn’t just ignore that. And yet it was that in what was a hectic time for me, the music to the movement suddenly skipped my mind and immediately touched my heart. A great emotion flowed through me and all I could do was stop. I was very happy and grateful that this happened to me. That actually became the beginning.
2. What does Sacred Dance mean to you?
Sacred Dance has helped me a lot to get in touch with my feelings and my inner being. The dance is always a kind of drop that softens my being and enriches me. The contact with other dancers also contributes to this.
3. Has Sacred Dance changed something in your life?
It is difficult to say. When I look back on my life, Sacred Dance has always influenced me I also had phases where I felt it was too soft and feminine for me as a man. Apparently, my inner self then wanted other things to occupy itself with. But the funny thing is that over time I started to miss the dance and I wanted to reconnect with a group.
4.Do you have a poem, a quote or an image that particularly speaks to you that you would like to share?
Yes, a quote from Sri Aurobindo:
“I become what I see in myself. Anything that thought suggests I do, I can do; anything that thought reveals in me, I can become. This should be man’s unshakable faith in himself, for God dwells in him.”
This quote has been echoing in me like a mantra for more than 50 years.
5. Is there anything else you would like to share with people who don’t know this dance form?
If you feel it does something in you, that you find it beautiful or touching, or that the symbolism speaks to you, then see if you want to give that to yourself. Often all kinds of “yes, but” thoughts come up.
But if it touches you inside, then take the step, if only for a while.
Now is the time – under this motto, the German Protestant Church Congress took place in Nuremberg from 7-11 June.
Almost at the same time, it was time for us dancers to occupy ourselves with dances by Saskia Kloke and pictures by Marc Chagall as part of a further training course for teachers on the theme “Song of Songs”.
Saskia was inspired by the music of the group Fortuna and choreographed wonderful dances that took up the images and moods of the texts from the “Song of Songs”. The movements, forms and dance images invited us to experience them intensely.
We were all learners during these days, not just practitioners, and it was a joy to experience how little by little the sequences, movements and forms became clearer, more recognisable and more beautiful.
We experienced the time particularly intensively on two afternoons, when we worked in small groups on the pictures of the Song of Songs by Marc Chagall, discovered many details and the big picture and had an intensive exchange about them.
Summer temperatures contributed to the fact that the designed centre was constantly changing and always offered a new eye-catcher.
Very happy and fulfilled we started our way home and now carry the love into our everyday life to pass on something of the given abundance and beauty to the people around us.
In mid-February, on two consecutive days, the Kalna skola
a dance meditation training takes place. The course was led by Sister Diana OP and Assistant Professor of the Department of Dance Education Guna Ezermale. In addition to participants from Catholic and Lutheran Madona parishes.
participated in the courses a Japanese girl who is currently studying in Ventspils and in her free time she studies Latvian folk dances because she wants to participate in the song and dance festival.
Impressions from some of the participants:
It was very nice to meet after a long break, enjoy the dance and the shared experience. Also to hear the testimonies of the challenges in prayer and dance. This time, one movement in particular appealed to me in ” Dance of Silence.” Now I realized that the third position is like Jesus’ nailed feet on the cross, that I too must lean on my pain to breathe and change.
The dance meditation reached me in a roundabout way. First, it was about me getting into meditation. I got involved because all the circumstances fit together very well,
At that time, I set the goal of getting in touch with my body. Now I long for the special mood and atmosphere Sister Diana is able to create when we dance and pray. Sometimes it seems that the dance is too difficult, but then the music comes, we join hands and the dance happens.
Sometimes it happens – the music starts and I think that I can’t remember anything, that I can only spin in circles, but – what a miracle!
When other dancers join in, we get a rhythmic movement and even a dance pattern! This shows the strength of the community, the harmony, the unspoken but existing support.
For me, meditation of dance means allowing God’s presence and not worrying about mistakes. Being able to walk through the awareness of my weakness and allow the group to help me. It is a great gift in dance to realize that you are accepted. Dance meditation is like a prayerful, straight path through the heart to God, bypassing the mind that tries to control and bring into tension. A great way to learn to trust And yet it’s a very different way to draw closer to God, to be in prayer, and to free yourself from everyday problems. I feel transported to another world, a little closer to the kingdom of heaven!
(from magazine “Kapt kalna” March 2023, Inese Elsina, translated by Sr.Diana)