Dance as a spiritual discipline is an ancient practice that’s been explored by many cultures throughout the ages. CHAKRADANCE, a new healing dance practice, takes this tradition into the 21st century. There are no set steps and you dance as if no one is watching, to modern dance music in a sacred space. Creator, Natalie Southgate, describes it as ”dreaming with your feet”, and explains the experience and how it’s good for your soul…
“In recent years there has been an explosion of new age practices, many of which draw roots from ancient philosophies. One can find varying types of meditation, psychic development, spiritual development, and channelling, guide and angel workshops, to name but a few. The aim of many of these practices is to raise consciousness, connect with the spiritual world, and transcend the physical. Having personally explored many of these practices, I have achieved great rewards, and in the process have experienced a reality that often appears to be of ‘another world’. My struggle, in hindsight, has been in bringing this ‘other world’ back in to the physical aspect of my self. I felt the time had come to embody some of these remarkable experiences.
Reflecting back on my life, the times when I have felt most alive and in touch with my ‘true self’ are the times when I have been moving my body, through dance. Not the times when my childhood dancing teacher was instructing me to move my body this way or that, but the times when I really let go, let the music enter my body and ‘moved’ in an authentic way. Donald Winnicott, a renowned psychoanalyst, describes the ‘true self’ as being the source of all spontaneity and creativity and it was this self that was calling for my attention.
Marian Woodman, a Jungian Analyst and Author, says, “matter without spirit is a corpse, spirit without matter is a ghost”. I believe that when matter and spirit move together in a rhythmic dance, the experience is one of feeling truly alive. This merging of matter and spirit allows one to embody consciousness, embody spirit, and manifest some of the ‘other worldliness’ in a physical and concrete way.
In order to embody consciousness, we need a map to discover what it is exactly that we are trying to embody, and how. The map that I have been drawn to work with is the map of the chakra system; an ancient Indian yoga system discovered over 4000 years ago.
The chakra system contains within it seven major chakras, each acting as an energetic gateway allowing universal energy to flow in and out of our systems. Each chakra corresponds with particular body organs and reflects an aspect of consciousness on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Each chakra also has its own vibrational frequency as well as an attributed element, archetype, animal, planet etc. These can all be used as pathways into the chakras enabling us to connect more deeply with the energies existing within each one.
There are countless books and texts detailing the chakras, but it became my aim to take the basic map and connect with the chakras in a physical way, thereby experiencing the various aspects of consciousness reflected in each chakra, in the body. I wanted to bring the sacredness of ancient philosophies into a modern culture that appears to be crying out for healing of body, mind and spirit. This was the birth of CHAKRADANCE, a healing dance practice that uses specific music and spontaneous dance to balance the chakras.