As long as we balance these activities with ones that stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, such as those connected with rest and play, we will be fine. As Bessel van der Kolk points out in his book “The Body Keeps The Score”, when the parasympathetic nervous system is active “it triggers the release of acetylcholine to put a break on arousal, slowing the heart down, relaxing muscles, and returning breathing to normal.” In the Laban Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS) we work with the alternating rhythms of change (Duality Themes), including the Theme of Exertion and Recuperation. By exploring the interplay of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system we can create more balance and wholeness.
My normal response to stress is to slow down, but if things happen that are out of my hands, I can loose it. Two years ago I had a computer crash and lost 50 important pages of non-replicable work. I started to panic. My body was working as hard as if I was running a marathon. I started to observe my body. Even though I was sitting on a bench my body was exerting like I was in a physical fight. I took in too much oxygen and had a hard time breathing out. When I tried to walk I had difficulties feeling my feet on the ground. I could hardly see my surroundings. My heartbeat went up, excess oxygen entered my veins, and my blood flooded my vital organs, leaving very little feelings in my limbs. I was retreating into my center, shutting down the outside world, shrinking into myself as if to find shelter.
Returning to balance
I started to rub my legs, then stood up and started to walk. This was a huge effort. I needed to be aware of each step, as I could not feel my feet on the ground. It was a beautiful evening and I forced myself to look up to the sky and see the night fall onto the city. Ducks were flying above the water, leaves were falling softly into the canals, the old houses were beautifully lit by the evening air; everything was very peaceful around me. To connect to my surroundings helped me to make my world bigger and to get out of the state I was in. It was good to become aware that while I felt so in panic, the world around me was still continuing to exist. I tried consciously to slow my breath rhythm down and find more flow in my movements. I also activated my weight through walking. This brought back a sense of empowerment. It was a good training for myself to observe what was happening and how to influence my own state when I find myself in an extreme situation. Many of the people I work with struggle with the same issues in different variations. It is important to tackle the physical signs of imbalance and try out what we can do to find greater peace.
New York City
I am just returning from New York, where I had two inspiring weeks visiting and working in this vibrant city. The pace of the city is up speed and it is a challenge not to rush and get exhausted. On the other hand, there is so much exciting and creative energy in this city. We had a good time seeing dance, hearing music, and viewing art exhibitions, as well as some touristic “must-sees.” I enjoyed meeting up with colleagues and friends and just wandering through the city.
My colleague and dear friend Joanna Brotman and I also taught an inspiring Moving Our Selves Intensive at The Lucid Body House in New York City. Over the past few years, Joanna and I have been researching and developing ways to work with the LBMS material, especially around the Themes of Duality and the unique relationships between these various dualities that are core to our individual ways of being and doing. Moving Our Selves Intensives are designed so that participants can identify and create a shift(s) in their own patterning, which can become part of an on-going practice. We had an experienced group of Laban Movement Analysts and dancers, and it was exciting to share our approach with them. In this Moving Our Selves Intensive, our focus was on creatively designing ways to shift our own patterns to cultivate self-sustainability in support of readiness, embodied engagement, and action.
I am happy to announce that Joanna Brotman will visit Amsterdam in July again and we will teach the workshop Moving Our Selves: Readiness and Sustainability in Times of Rapid Change also in Amsterdam on July 8th and 9th in Studio 7! Our experience is that these intensives fill up quickly and we have a limit of 16 participants, so don’t wait too long if you are interested. This workshop is also interesting for the ones who did MOS 1 or 2 in Amsterdam, because we have a new and specific topic. We will spend time researching and exploring how we can use LBMS to support our restorative capacities and find our own ways to endure and renew our selves in challenging times. Check out information about the workshop here:
- I will teach an intensive introductory workshop to the Laban Movement Analyses in Germany at Akademie der Kulturellen Bildung. Please check the link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1160671840726115/
- Joanna Brotman and I will present our work with Moving Our Selves at the International Conference on Movement Analysis in Education: Moving from Within, June 23th – 25th, 2017 in Munich, Germany. Check out the link below:
- The Summer Dance Retreat Laban in the air will be at Baileenelaire from 17th – 24th of July in the beautiful mountains in the South of Spain. Just a few spots left, so be quick if you are interested! Here is the link: