“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Does life ever present itself to in mythological terms? Do current events or your day-to-day life ever seem to resonate with some grand scheme of things? Does it help to put your story in context by viewing it through the larger lens of history?
You’ve probably heard the old expression that “history repeats itself” and yet with our lifespans generally lasting less than a century it’s certainly easy to think that “everything is new under the sun.”
That’s one reason that dance and movement are so important. Somatics and embodiment are shortcuts to tuning into our own human nature and that’s where we can find the enduring truths of our own humanity.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to ponder this as I’ve been spinning records in the theme of “The Summer of Love.” At NCDC’s Dance Camp and again last week at our own Dance Jam in Berkeley we hosted special theme nights of music from 1967 and the following years that upheld the spirit of love and unity that defined the era. (That’s me with DJ Lolly, aka Laura Cirolia, our resident DJ above)
Something about hearing and feeling the energy of those times reborn in the atmosphere of today through the magic of the electromagnetic sound waves pressed into the grooves of the original vinyl records has the power to strike a chord in the souls of both folks old enough to remember and the younger folks for whom these years are but a legend.
In Camille Paglia’s landmark book “Sexual Personae” she traces back the polar opposite energies of today’s culture to Dionysus and Apollo. Male dominated Western culture has long been enamored of the precise Apollonian impulse. Shiny, contained, controlled, reaching forever outward, the cold, linear, and technological energy of Apollo is idealized by spacecraft, parodied by the soup cans of Andy Warhol, and utilized by us daily as we drive our sleek automobiles or conduct our digital lives on our compact devices.
Dionysus on the other hand, is the god of imprecision. Loose, messy, random, and hard-to-pin-down, the feminine-honoring Dionysian world is one of nature and intuition. The non-linear inner-referencing wisdom drawn from chthonian realms of altered states, menstrual blood, and abandoned dancing gift us with insights into existence that literally break the mold.
Paglia posits that the Psychedelic Sixties were an inevitable expression of the Dionysian impulse upon our modern world. Having reached the technological breaking point between man and nature, war and peace, and men and women, humanity instinctively drew upon the chaotic wisdom of Dionysus to thwart the final solution of Apollo before it was too late. It’s no coincidence that things like the environmental movement and the sexual revolution have their roots in the 60’s.
Understanding this divine dichotomy as we dance our way through the modern world is extremely useful. We dancers are holding the torch for the nature-based wisdom of Dionysus, and to extend the analogy, it’s the reason why analog DJ’s like myself prefer the warm sound, tactile imprecision, and intuitive magic of vinyl records over the cold predictability of laptops.
If we are to accept the idea that certain patterns emerge in the cycle of history, than it’s useful to place more novel current developments in the context of a larger mythological frame. What we’re witnessing, (and living through) in today’s USA has recent precedent across the pond, (as this Russian citizen points out).
Whether you buy into the idea of “HyperNormalization” or not, it seems obvious that while on one hand we’re careening forward into unknown territory technologically and culturally, we’re also reaching back intuitively towards our embodied birthright as human beings.
If I were to name one strategy to contend with the rising tide of confusion in today’s world, it would be to focus on extending love and kindness everywhere we go and with everything we do.
When we dance and move and connect with the sounds of our inner Dionysus, it gives us the power to balance out the noise of Apollo in the air with everyone we connect with. “What Would Love Do?” is a great question to ask yourself every time you interact with another human being. The warm smiles and kind words of those who share this spirit are the seeds to the world in which we all want to live.
With love and kindness till next week!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Caroline Kleindienst!!!
Today’s Dance First member spotlight shines on Caroline Kleindienst, MA, RSMT, an Austrian-born and Maui-based registered somatic movement therapist, expressive arts practitioner, and artist who is bringing embodiment to the islands and making her talents available globally with an innovative online program!
Caroline was fortunate to train with the Tamalpa Institute during a time that Anna Halprin was leading many of the sessions. Learning directly from one of the foremost living legends has grounded her approach in the true spirit of eco-somatics.
More recently she has been studying with Jamie McHugh, RSMT, creator of Somatic Expression and Embodied Mindfullness. Nature is a huge influence and component of her work. She says “My inquiry into the awakening awareness of my body began in my childhood. Through creative movement, drawing, and creative writing I found myself intuitively building a safe container with the tools of art in my early years that helped me to hold the stories and challenges of my life.”
Read what Janice Price, a teacher from Seattle, Washington has to say about working with Caroline: “Whenever I participate in individual sessions and workshop settings with Caroline, I am impressed by her skill. Her combination of intuition and caring professionalism dependably lead me to a place of inner stillness and knowing… I am grateful to her for giving me a deeper view of myself and new tools for accessing the source.”
Now leading classes and workshops from her home in Maui, she is offering an innovative online series on Saturdays in August. In “The Creative Breath – A Four-Week Somatic Meditation Online Class”you’ll “gain new tools to connect to the here and now, return to stillness, the body and the self. It will support you in finding new resources to nourish yourself, restore safety and belonging, relieve anxiety, as well as reduce tension stored in the nervous system. This online class will inspire and deepen your creative voice, and unleash the power of your creative energy.”
Thank you Caroline! We’re so happy to support eco-somatic leaders like you with the services of Dance First! You’re making a huge contribution to the field with your hard work and dedication, keep it up, we’re here for you!
Learn more about Caroline Kleindienst atwww.carolinekleindienst.net
The Creative Breath – A Four-Week Somatic Meditation Online Class
Online, August 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th