What is Biodanza
Although the typical experience of one participating in a biodanza class is that of playfulness, connection, intimacy, dance and joy, the fully vastness of the theoretical model behind biodanza is unlikely (or necessary) to be grasped. The system is more one of experience and its effects are present regardless of the cognitive understanding of what is occurring.
However, it is fascinating to realize what is all taken into account within the system, from the neurological, physiological and psychological perspectives, to the mythological archetypes, studies of human movement and musical effects to art, transcendental states and social action. Biodanza stimulates our genetic potential through various lines of development into its highest expression.
At the heart is the dance process of ‘Vivencia’. As described by Rolando Toro (the creator of Biodanza), Vivencia refers to the ‘intense perception of being alive, here and now. It is the intuition of the living moment’. Vivencias (normally lasting up to two hours) become doors to access primal emotions that enable movements to emerge that are the most natural expression of your true self. Inhibition and rigidity brought about by our social conditioning is challenged and released slowly, as you progress entirely at your own speed.
Biodanza draws from many ancient tribal dances and practice, it can be a very spiritual experience for many. An additional beauty of Biodanza is that it also scientifically designed – based on known and defined neurological pathways which effect the psychology of the mind and physiology of the body. The basis in science adds a level of trustworthiness because it’s effects are tried and tested.
Underlying Biodanza is an in-depth theoretical model and so training to become a teacher takes about a minimum of 3-4 years. Participants can just enjoy the effects of Biodanza without needing to understand any of it, however, a brief summary of one of it’s main actions is as follows.
How it works on the brain and body
It could be said that our brains really consist of 3 individual brains working together: our primal reptilian brain, our mammalian mid-brain and our newer cortical brain. As well as working together, each have a specific and important functions.
Culture and society have a tendency to work to develop the outer (cortical) brain through conditioning – this is fantastic for conscious action and intellectual and abstract thought but awful at regulating the needs of the body – because this is the job of the inner brain.
Unfortunately due to the pressures of life the outer brain overrides the wisdom of the inner brain: not sleeping when tired, introducing stimulants, not eating food that is good for the body, not allowing the expression of natural impulses and instincts. The result are human beings who are stressed, ill, under nourished, lonely and isolated (recognises any of these?).
The good news is that this damage can also be un-done, un-learned and the best method for this is through Biodanza, which uses music, dance and exercises to relax the overly ambitious outer-brain and help stimulate the mid-brain during a session. The results of this start a sequence of effects that work all the way down to the cellular and genetic level to help brings the body back into balance and to allow the best environment for our innate potential to grow.
5 Ways to Grow
Biodanza has 5 lines of vivencia – core ways that it views humans develop – the foundations for these arise from early experiences we have in the womb and as babies and are mapped in our bodies.
This is associated with the experience of sensation and circulation of vital energy within the body. It relates at a biological level to the human organism, being related to our ability to find a healthy balance between activity and rest, and the maintenance and homeostasis of the body. When the Line of Vitality is in dynamic flow there is a positive impetus to live, to experience life in full, and to be healthy and vital. We are able to be in feedback with our own energy, resting when we need to and moving through the various stages and experiences of our life with ease.
The ability to experience pleasure, desire, and positive self-esteem through our sensuality and sexuality. When the Line of Sexuality is in healthy flow we can enjoy our senses which connect us to the enjoyment of our existence. We feel enlivened by life in general and also have the ability for emotional intimacy with others. When our Sexuality is healthy we are in positive feedback with our “yes” and our “no”, so yes really means yes! The power of the Line of Sexuality is the ability to sense our creative force and drive and to embrace life with appetite and passion.
The ability of giving and receiving love and affection; to feel this as nourishment in our emotional and psychological life. When the Line of Affectivity is in healthy flow, we are able to demonstrate care, tenderness and love, we can feel a sense of solidarity with other human beings and we feel safe and at home in our place in humanity. When our Affectivity is strong we feel a caring relationship with life in general. Affectivity is the heart and core that runs through Biodanza, and is the pulsing rhythm of our heart as sentient human beings.
This is the ability to live life with curiosity; to expand our perception and to live with creative impulse in life. When the line of Creativity is healthy and dynamic we are able to have a playful relationship with life, exploring it with a sense of adventure and interest. Creativity enables unique personal expression and also the possibility to change habitual ways of being into new more positive and innovative behaviour. When we are deeply connected with Creativity we can have the profound understanding of our place as a created and creative human being, and our relationship with the creative energy of the universe as a whole.
This is being able to sense a relationship beyond the personal self, which connects us with the universe and all that is. The Line of Transcendence is sometimes described as the mother of all the lines, because all the other lines are contained within it, and it’s where we all want to reside ultimately. When the Line of Transcendence is healthy and strong in us we have the ability to see the world beyond what is obvious, and feel the thread of unity which permeates all life. We can look into the eyes of another, without knowing anything about them, and see deeper than their appearance into something which feels unifying. There is the possibility to realize our-self, not only as physical and psychological, but also spiritual beings. A deep connection with this Line brings the ability to perceive the subtle in life, and the potential for profound relationship with all life forms and ultimately all of existence.
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© James Stevenson 2020