What is Biodanza?
Biodanza is ritual dance form encouraging an intense experience of collective aliveness. We experience Vivencia when our full selves are called forth and we are fully present to all sides of ourselves – the transcendent, the erotic, the creative, the vital, the emotional – all parts of us are expressed and welcomed, all shared with others. In the experience of Vivencia, we are individually and collectively aware of the sacred in life. And we rekindle our connection to self, others and the world.
Come join us as we bring Biodanza dances to Western New England and the Hudson Valley!
In Biodanza, we use the simple and beautiful movements of everyday living, including circles, taking hands, encounters, hugs, touch, caress, witnessing, moving together in rhythm, and joy. Creating Vivencia, we’ll weave dances of simple and profound presence. We will open ourselves to passionate and blissful dialogues of sacredness, humility, and humanity; we will rediscover the joy and profound grace of being alive… together!
Note: Biodanza is not about any form of proficiency. It is a dance practice for everyone who yearns to really live – proficient dancers and people who still think they cannot dance.
We hope to bring certified Biodanza teachers to the Berkshires quartly to begin to buid a community of dancers living in their fullness and joy.
Biodanza, the Dance
Celebration of Life!
By Maira Martinez
Here you are, at the end of your journey, or should we say at the beginning? There are no more places, no more time or movement. You no longer observe life through these external manifestations. You feel it deep within yourself. In the stillness and the silence, you feel united within yourself and with the rest of the world. Welcome this fullness and radiate.
“Life is movement. To rehabilitate a movement full of meaning is to nurture our connection to life.” Rolando Toro
What is Biodanza?
Over the past several years, la Biodanza has slowly assumed its place in the Quebec landscape of alternative approaches, with classes and facilitators in a number of cities and a professional training school.
A dance class? Somatic education? Dance therapy? Personal growth? What exactly is Biodanza?
Unique unto itself, though it incorporates aspects of these disciplines, Biodanza is instead an approach to human development. It is a form of learning to “be in the world,” an education in the art of being wholly alive, intensely and at every moment. It is an invitation to be fully present.
Unlike other so-called therapeutic approaches, Biodanza doesn’t dwell on the individual’s imbalances or dysfunctions. Instead by stimulating one’s healthy part, one’s luminous being, by fostering new potential and nourishing the individual’s very instinct to live a healthy life, Biodanza brings about a wonderful transformation in those who practice it.
Born in the fertile soil of the 1960s, nourished by great social movements like anti-psychiatry, tropicalismo, the fight for human rights in South America, “May 1968,” etc., Biodanza was born out of the desire to humanize the world we live in.
Philosophy and Science
“Dance is a profound movement arising from the most visceral aspect
of human beings. It is a movement of life, a biological rhythm, a rhythm
of the heart, the movement of the breath. It is the impetus that drives humans to connect. It is also an inward movement, a movement of intimacy.” Rolando Toro
Biodanza has its foundations in life itself. It invites us to renew our sacred emotional relationship to life, not by subscribing to dogma or esotericism, but by rediscovering a concrete link to the manifestation
It draws its theoretical and methodological foundations from two important sources:
• The Biocentric Principle: This is a philosophical principle whose basic
premise is that life takes precedence over all else. Life is not the
result of a chemical process that occurred in the universe but is
itself the original impulse that gave rise to the universe and all its
manifestations. Therefore, my life is not my project; rather I am
one of many projects in life. So I do not have to change myself
or become someone else. I only need develop my full potential,
so that every day I can be a little closer to my true self and develop
to the fullest extent of my abilities; so that at every moment I can
take care of the life within me and around me; so that I can nourish
and protect it and let it blossom.
• Modern Science: The methodology of Biodanza and its way of
constructing sessions and musical sequences is based on a deep
understanding of the biochemical functioning of the human
organism. Thus neuroscience, quantum physics, physiology,
biology, and musical semantics are among its central pillars.
The Power of Vivencia
First and foremost, Biodanza offers up the experience of life, gently diving into the present to find the “moving sensation of life’s splendor.” To cultivate the art of vivencia is to intensely live in this very moment.
It invites us to enter into precognitive states, prior to speech and culture so as to find those permeable and receptive spaces where all becomes possible and where life can enchant us. This state of readiness and openness, of sensitivity and complete presence known as vivencia is very close to early infancy, a period during which our personality was formed.
Rather than fighting our blockages and dysfunctions, we can, thanks to vivencia, let life, others, the group, and the environment awaken our dormant, inhibited, unknown potential. Vivencia allows us to finally become complete beings, integral and integrated.
The games, dances, rhythms, moments of abandon, the beauty of the melodies, the calm, the gentleness, the tenderness, human warmth all ease us along the path and let us gently lose our heads and just simply become a little more who we really are.
In short, it is never to late to have a happy childhood!
The Group, a Formative Emotional Support System
Biodanza is in essence a group discipline. There is no individual Biodanza. To rediscover our humanity is to rediscover our capacity to live happily and freely among and with others. And since identity cannot be built except in relation to others, through encounters with others and the world, the group offers up an extraordinary wealth of stimuli, a mirror promoting the emergence and blossoming of each individual.
The Biodanza group is safe, permissive, emotional, and non-judgmental. It is a playground, a loving laboratory for exploring new possibilities, where we slowly abandon our social constraints and dare to expose ourselves. In the group learn to weave the bonds that unite us and together find our freedom.
Rolando Toro, a psychologist, anthropologist, poet, and painter, created Biodanza while working at the Center for the Study of Medical Anthropology at the University of Santiago School of Medicine in Chile. Born of a marvelous intuition and findings gathered from experiments with friends, Biodanza emerged out of Toro’s work on dance and music with patients at the university’s psychiatric hospital.
In 1970, the university requested that he establish a Chair in Biodanza, then called Psychodanza. In 1984 Biodanza made its appearance in Europe. It is presently taught in about 100 schools in more than 26 countries worldwide.
It was taught in Québec from 1986 to 1999, at the initiative of the psychologist Jean-Yves Bourdages.
Thanks to Michel Loignon, a lover of Biodanza, and three European facilitators, Hélène Lévy Benseft, Isabelle Dettwiler Lorétan, and Olivier Dettwiler, École de Biodanza de Montréal (offering the three-year Biodanza facilitator’s training program) opened its doors in the fall of 2003.
Rolando Toro, the father of Biodanza died on February 16, 2010, at age 85; he was still dancing two weeks before he passed on.
Joyful and playful, Biodanza is a non-verbal and non-analytical discipline that in departing from the spoken word opens the door to silence, emotion, and new forms of communication. It invites us to feel before thinking, to listen to deep messages that arise within and let those guide our actions and choices.
With Biodanza, we progressively break through learned resistance and accept life in each moment with its full complement of sensations, feelings, and sentiments. We honor life’s sacred dimension and rediscover the pleasure of natural movement. We let this pleasure recreate the paths that lead to freedom, to the capacity to be who we are, in the company of others and in the world. We unite our sensibilities with the life force and say “yes”! We fully give ourselves over to life with all our heart and body—our rediscovered body, not our past body. We collectively dance and combine our freedoms to multiply our possibilities. From the innermost self we give birth to that sweet intoxication that infuses life as it unfolds. This is the essence of Biodanza!
I look forward to dancing with you!