The Energy of Dance

November 2010 – Dancing is probably one of the most immediate ways of shaking out stagnant energy and letting something more positive flow through. Even if it’s just a twirl in the privacy of your own kitchen when a favourite old dance tune comes on the radio, you feel the better of that few moments of free expression.

“Every child has a natural openess and rhythm,” says Ilonka Miklosi a yoga teacher from Dingle who believes dance is sacred, meditative, fun and vital. She incorporates circle folk dances into her group yoga days. Her own training began with ballet and ballroom but she well remembers the difficulty of being a teenager on the edge of the disco floor. Her great love now is for the circular folk dance. “There is a flow to being held in a social circle. There’s lots of swapping over rather than any precision of the steps.”

But how easy is it to let go in a group situation?

Mairead O’Sullivan is a dance facilitator in Killarney. “Within a group people can be incredibly self-conscious. Initially they worry about what others think but after a while the inhibitions melt away and you just see the tension leaving their bodies. By the end of it they are so grateful to the group ”

Mairead trained to teach the ‘Dance the Rainbow’ system which was developed by Irish women Lani O’Hanlon and Antoinette Spillane and involves working your way through different energies from earthy red to vibrant yellow to gentle pink and ethereal blue.

For Mairead it was an enriching training. However, with an interest in emotional wellbeing, she wants to take a step further. “My aim is to deliver a dance workshop that creates awareness around emotional and physical need,” she says. This is something she calls ‘inner dance’.

Both Ilonka and Mairead emphasise, again and again, the importance of breath in dancing. “Dance becomes like meditation, like prayer, when you are conscious of using the breath,” says Ilonka. Recently she led a circle dance at an evening of prayer and medititation in Tralee which was organised by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy and held in church. “Dance is a spirtual practice,” says Ilonka.

While some dance movements connect you to your feet and your roots, other movements take you to more ethereal zones. Mairead always finishes her sessions with a creative practice like painting, writing or collaging to centre people again. “Dance can take you to a very blissful state but it’s important to centre yourself again when its over. It’s important to have stillness after movement,” she says.

The power of dance to lift you out of any kind of a low state is enormous. Learn how to use it to your benefit – particularly during these dark days of winter when our natural energies are down. Both Mairead and Ilonka will be holding workshops in November 2010. See News for details.