Children, as they grow up in their formative years form a great amount of their understandings of the world based on their experiences as they are processed emotionally and physically.
In this essay, I question how the emotional and physical processing influences behavior and movement. Do our experiences influence how we hold our body? Likewise, do our experiences, especially those in our childhood and adolescence influence how we hold our facial muscles?
I posit that the ‘processed’ experiences place a signature mark on our whole selves and we live out our lives with this coded information. I also posit that we are able to change, or re-code this information while toning our cognitive-physical health.
The way we walk,
The way we hold our face muscles,
the way we talk
the way we dance.
Their is a physical, emotional code that is created and affirmed and the ability to change that signature mark can be done practically through purposeful, meditative dancing. Some call it ‘dance therapy,’ others ‘movement therapy.’ I call it ‘story dancing’ because it is an exercise in redefining the skeletal, muscular, vascular and mental ‘story’ of ourselves.
Dancing integrates almost all the prefrontal lobe executive function abilities or skills identified and brings together both hemispheres of the brain in a easy sync that ‘flows’ to rhythm and beat. When we dance to music without lyrics, purposeful movement becomes therapeutic. Not having lyrics frees the person’s mind from having to process meaning of lyrics as they move allowing them to focus on recreating their own story through their purposeful, dance movement. Processed experiences directly enter new code into our bodies impacting the old code. With consistent practice in story dancing, our bones, muscle and brain receive constant new coding, just as a computer can receive new programming.
Over the course of two years (2014-2016), I tested my theory and have discovered or become aware that, indeed, the human body begins to thrive anew through the act of story dancing. Sounds silly? Dancing can be seen by many as celebratory, an afterthought to life’s happenings perhaps. Purposeful, meditative dance movement is so outside the normal range of experiences that it becomes tantamount to breathing new life or inspiration into a life that is not use to moving in such ways. Little by little, new found attitudes and a sense of greater confidence become evident in the practicing story dancer. Physical awkwardness dissipates and sequential dance movements become cognitively streamlined effortlessly. All the new movement to music then introduces an interesting dynamic into the person’s life, that of an inspired heart.
An expressive communication,
a release of tension,
an affirmation of oneself.
With the onset of the ‘inspired heart’ the dance practitioner is emboldened to keep dancing and the benefits of the purposeful movement to music does become meditative and healing. Over time and with practice, it is as if a new person slowly emerges…bolder, more confident and with the feeling that ‘one has finally arrived.’
For the community of individuals with special needs, story dancing can become a breakthrough strategy and tool that delivers on multiple levels. Building up the ability to be self-expressive in people who are otherwise limited in their ability to communicate creates a lifeline of personal liberty, thus something as silly as dancing actually becomes a very important life skill. The only caveat is that he or she who coaches others must themselves first be accomplished in this purposeful story dance movement.
To see story dancing in effect please go to my YouTube page at: CoachBill007 and view some of my dance videos. Here are two to get you going:)