What is Biodanza?
Biodanza, also known as Biocentric Dance, started in Chile in the 1960s. Its roots go back to a psychiatric hospital in Santiago, where a psychologist named R. Toro first discovered the power of music to trigger positive emotions, i.e. to uplift patients with depression, soothe those struggling with anxiety, and bring back to reality those who had slipped into psychosis. These discoveries were the seeds that grew into a system of affective integration and organic renewal that has spread to the four corners of the world.
What is Health Humanities?
The term health humanities refers to the application of the creative or fine arts (e.g. visual arts, music, performing arts) and humanities disciplines (e.g. philosophy, anthropology, religion, history, sociology, literature, etc.) to discourse about, express, and/or promote dimensions of human health and well being. Its roots can be traced back to the medical humanities and the expressive and creative arts therapies.
What´s Biodanza got to do with it?
R. Toro created biocentric dance not as an alternative therapy, but as an extension of the human sciences. As an interdisciplinary thinker, he also embraced art, philosophy, anthropology, and human and social sciences. He thought of Biodanza as a system focused on health rather than illness, and developed a methodology aimed at increasing our sense of wellbeing rather than decreasing symptoms. He followed a holistic approach and conceived of health as resulting from a complex interplay of biological, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental factors. In addition, he developed clinical Biodanza, and encouraged facilitators to work in health and community care settings.
Joyful lived-experiences & human encounters
Inspired by Dilthey´s Erlebnis, R. Toro insisted that Biodanza´s main tool is the vivencia, i.e. life-enhancing lived-experiences in the present moment covering the emotional, kinaesthetic, and organic functions. Biodanza is therefore a method for inducing health-promoting experiences through the power of music, dance, and human connection as formulated by Martin Buber. Like the philosopher Spinoza, R. Toro also believed that joy increases potency, hence the focus on using the power of music to trigger positive emotions.
Dancing with change and flow
In Biodanza philosophy becomes therapeutic on the dance floor. Its concepts come alive and are directly known through the felt-sense of what is experienced in the immediacy of the moment. For example, dances of fluidity bring us the direct realisation of Heraclitus teachings on change and flow, which we can then apply during periods of uncertainty and transition.
Living life to the full
Moving to music we rediscover the joy of living, get back to our senses, get creative, open our hearts, and find our place in the world. We let go of physical tension and feel reenergised. Archetypal dances tap into the power of the collective unconscious and unleash the human potential inherited from our ancestors, helping us to navigate the adventure of life. Therapeutic applications of Biodanza help us to find the courage to face our fears and see ourselves transformed in the process.
The Great Art of Living
Although the main activity in Biodanza is guided movement to music, on occasions people might be invited to sing, write a poem, draw, paint, or make something out of clay. That being said, Biodanza has been called Ars Magna not because it prioritises artistic self-expression but because it encourages us to view the life we create for ourselves as our greatest work of art.
An invitation to dance
You are warmly invited to come and try Biodanza on Saturday August 4 (11:30am) at the 7th International Health Humanities Conference in Southampton. The workshop will be facilitated by Paula Jardim, a Biodanza facilitator and didactic teacher based in Bristol. No dance experience is needed, just a little openness to experience. Expect great music from around the world, some playfulness to break the ice, and an opportunity to give your brain a break and give your body a boost.
Posted by Paula Jardim
1. “”What is Health Humanities?””. SCOPE: The Health Humanities Learning Lab. 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2016