It was 1926 and in Paris the autumn leaves were falling. For our weekend rendezvous, Hugh and I went to the Folies Bergère to see Josephine Baker dancing in her banana skirt. While she was naughtily dancing with her shadow, Hugh was visibly excited. Jealous, I decided that once back in New York I would try out for the Ziegfeld Follies.
At the casting I met Ann Pennington, already part of the chorus. Ann was very petite with long red hair and never went unnoticed. When I saw her dance I realized it would be best to quietly go back home to practice the two step in front of a mirror. Ann must have sensed my despair and asked me if I wanted to go to Harlem with her to listen to jazz. Maybe it was there that she’d perfected her version of the Black Bottom dance. Ann was so good at quivering and shaking that a magazine featured her dancing with Felix the Cat.
Our friendship dissipated after she started hanging out with Fanny Brice and the boxer, Jack Dempsey. It really broke my heart when I learned years later that Ann had bad arthritis and was living on welfare. Because Ann had given me one of the greatest gifts of all—the love of dance. Not that I’m any good at it. But that doesn’t keep me from moving. Because if you don’t move, you become stagnant and lose your flow.
Dance is the body’s response to music. Music gives the body a rhythm and changes brainwave frequencies transforming a bad mood into a good one.
Dancing synchronizes the mind with the body and makes you shift your weight from one side to the other. In Greek Art, the stiff Archaic was replaced with Classical flow thanks to contrapposto. The figure, instead of dividing its weight equally on both legs, puts its weight only on one foot allowing the figure to turn its axis. Man was not meant to be static and, to be in motion, you must shift your weight from one side to the other. You cannot walk or run or even dance without weight shift. Sometimes you must lose your symmetry just to keep your balance.
Dancing is also a means of inter-relating with others. Especially when dancing cheek to cheek.
Dancing has been around for a long time. In ancient times, dancing ceremonies were a means of worshipping Mother Earth as well as a means of bonding with other members of the community. The circle is the oldest known dance formation and many ancient depictions show women dancing alone or in circles. The circle symbolizes infinity, unity and wholeness. It also symbolizes Mother Earth, the womb and the seasons.
Dancing in a circle was popular even in Jesus’ time. In the Acts of John, mention is made of Jesus’ participating in a circle dance before his arrest. And, in Ecclesiastes 3, we’re told: “For everything there is…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Dating back 40,000 years, trance dancing was considered a spiritual practice because it gave the body and soul a chance to reunite. Like the Whirling Sufi Dancers who spin around so much that they hyperventilate and enter a state of altered consciousness. The body is meant to act as a spinning wheel because spinning is a fundamental condition for existence—just think of atoms and chakras.
Because all life begins in the abdomen, once belly dancing was a fertility rite in honor of the Mother Goddess. Belly dancing is about sacred geometry–the circle, the wave, the spiral and the figure eight. The figure 8, also known as the Lemniscate (the mathematical symbol for infinity), is simply two circles united as one thus representing the blending of the mind with the body.
The criss-crossing motion of belly dancing creates a connection between both cerebral hemispheres. Nerve impulses on one side of the body integrate with nerve impulses on the other side of the body creating synergy and solidarity within.
Oriental dance moves vertically. Western dance moves horizontally. Western dance uses steps to appropriate space, whereas, little space is needed for belly dancing as its true space is the body itself.
To find solutions, dance. Because, as Einstein said, nothing happens until something moves.
Related: The Color of Sound + Red Color Sound Therapy youtube Color and sound have been used for health treatments since the beginning of recorded time Red is the earth element. The first chakra affects the legs and feet and influences walking, the anus, and elimination + Dancing and Alzheimer’s …. dancing is especially important as it helps prevent Alzheimer’s.
(from Cool Breeze, aka The Age of Reconfiguration ©)
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