Spiritual Bellydance at Kripalu
“Art is not an end in itself. It is a medium in service of sacred understanding.”
—Rasa, Rene Daumal
I just returned from presenting this year’s 5-day Program at Kripalu. We are a mixed-level group of 20. Many were beginner dancers, or new to bellydance, and were unfamiliar with my methods, yet by the end everyone was doing gorgeous, integrated, deeply felt, detailed, sumptuous undulations and shimmies — the kind of movement that usually requires 3 or 4 years to master. Several advanced dancer/teachers attending, who understood how long ‘natural-ness’ and somatic authenticity usually take, remarked on this. I was a little stunned as well. How could they all learn so fast, so deeply?
But the observable movement in itself wasn’t my greatest joy by any means. The movement indicated more — the Apparent is the Bridge to the Real. I loved the softening within each person, and between people. An experience has made life better. It has helped us all feel more human. We are more connected to our embodiment. We are more connected to our spirituality. We are more connected to Source, to Unity beyond self. As a teacher, my greatest happiness comes from carving time for the unwinding of anxiety, for the mending of interior tears, for the listening to whispers of self, for discovery, and for the shedding of what prevents intimacy with the Beloved. This is putting art in “…service of sacred understanding.” Grand objectives. Yet not so much. They are closest to my heart. And I am blessed with people who welcome this opportunity. We find one another. Magnetism. And then happiness.
Once home, crossing the street to the post office, my legs flowed from my pelvis. Flowed. During the retreat, I couldn’t yet feel how the attentive inner gaze at fascia, at deep layers of hidden muscles, at organs, the sensing through to these diligent, mysterious rivers of my motion, at submersion in increasingly varied shapes of breathing would later deliver me across the street with such ease. My pelvis purrs over the land, spine rolling like water. The salubrious effect of Dancemeditation™ practices proves itself over and over to me.