The Beauty Of Movement

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. -Martha Graham

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has a new found appreciation for movement. Movement of my wrists, movement of my ankles, movement of my hands as I pour myself a glass of water, movement of my fingers as I type at my computer.

During this past week I continued to have many episodes of severe pain and inflammation. Instead of struggling to carry on as usual, I now give my body the break it needs and lay down in bed for an hour or two. I am learning the importance of keeping my mind active during these episodes – so I can often be found meditating, reading, or listening to music. (I no longer have any regrets over the Bose headphones I shelled out for a couple of months ago!)

Even mental movement has become a beautiful thing.

A few days, during on of these episodes, I was in bed listening to music. The title song from Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria shuffled onto my iPods. All of a sudden, I was dancing in my head. Not just made up dancing, but really dancing. It was a wonderful feeling. (By the way, Alegria is Spanish for Joy.)

You see, in the yoga class that I attend – Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to more traditional vinyasa/ashtanga routines, while Friday classes are more freeform. A few months back, my instuctor ended one of these Friday classes by playing the Alegria song and telling us to just close our eyes and move. It  was such a memorable event, to experience the joy of my body moving and dancing to the music. (And, at the time, I was so happy that everyone’s eyes were closed.)

I have always been a fan of the arts, but I must admit that dance ranked pretty low on the list of types of performances I liked to attend. (Sure, I used to do The Nutcracker in San Francisco, and once was even lucky enough to see Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut in Berkeley – but it did not get much deeper than that.) I just did not “understand” dance.

But now, I understand the beauty of movement – and that is probably all I need now to understand dance. I look forward to learning more about the art of dance; particularly the many dance groups around the world that are doing such a good job of integrating disability. Three such groups are highlighted below.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

*****

The GIMP Project
New York, NY
www.thegimpproject.com

GIMP beautifully resets preconceptions about bodies and movement. -The New Yorker

Choreographer Heidi Latsky presents a roster of performers who embody unique physical virtuosity. Outstanding technique, raw beauty and the physical poetry of risk- taking, propel the artists and the audience into the collective unknown. GIMP examines the uncompromising ways we are often identified or defined by our physicality; an elegant landscape of portraits, illuminating limbs to accentuate uncommon beauty, mystery and grace; the ways in which our bodies support and rebel. GIMP confronts the audience with their preconceptions, challenging us to re-think accepted notions about dance, performance and body image. An exploration, that dives into the heart of difference, voyeurism and the unexpected.

DanceAbility International
Eugene, OR
www.danceability.com

I believe DanceAbility goes beyond movement and exploration and is for many people their first opportunity to define themselves in their own terms and see that this dance form, like their lives, has many options and possibilities. -Susan Sygall, Mobility International, USA

The mission of DanceAbility International (DAI) is to encourage the evolution of mixed-abilities dance by cultivating a common ground for creative expression for all people regardless of abilities, economic status, age or race. The mission is accomplished through performance, educational programs, teacher training and workshops. DAI performs and teaches throughout North, Central, and South America, Europe and Asia, receiving local, national and international recognition.

AXIS Dance Company
Oakland, CA
www.axisdance.org

AXIS questions all of our assumptions about the possibilities of movement, subsequently expanding and enriching the art form itself. – John R. Killacky, Executive Director, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

Prepare to leave all your preconceptions at the door — AXIS Dance Company, one of the country’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, will change the way you think about the possibilities of the human body forever. The Company is known for its high artistic and educational standards and for cutting edge collaborations with world-renowned choreographers and composers. AXIS’ groundbreaking work inspires audiences and broadens perceptions of dance and disability. It’s a thrilling experience not to be missed.

7 Comments
7 comments
  1. raandme says:

    I understand the frustration of having to be still and still wanting to keep your mind busy.

    Lately I’ve decided that I during my down time it would be cool to learn another language. So I’ve been using Rosetta Stone and am getting pretty good at French.

    But I like your ideas about dance, though I’ve never really been exposed to it. It’s pretty exciting from what I just saw.

  2. RA Guy says:

    raandme – I too have Rosetta Stone in French, it’s a wonderful way to learn. Maybe I’ll actually start using it in the near future! (I’m just getting over a period of frequent anxiety attacks so my concentration hasn’t been too focused, but I think the worst has passed…)

  3. sara says:

    I loved reading this-I work in contemporary dance, and it is rare that it comes up anywhere outside of the field. I actually just met with someone from Axis a few weeks ago to talk about some projects they are working on-very cool company. I’m glad you are discovering your own form of dance!

  4. RA Guy says:

    Sara, how wonderful that you work in contemporary dance – it must be fun, no?

    Cathy, I’m little by little learning to control the power of the mind. Guided meditations are helping me get through some of the more intense episodes that continue to arise; I hope to write more about it in the near future.

  5. Sherry says:

    My girlfriends and I used to dance like this when we were kids.We had no idea we were preforming art! I think I am gonna try moving like this again or as close as I can get!

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