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  • Writer's pictureLiane Carter

Dancing Into the Unknown

Tucked up in bed with the north wind pushing her lips against the window, I didn’t want to venture out of bed and get dressed, let alone step outside. But … Maria sent me a message reminding me of her invite to a private class of Bidoanza at her house. When have I ever been able to say no to dancing? If I had known what I was getting into, I would have pulled the duvet up to my chin, ignored the message and told myself stay safe inside with my book. I had no energy. But I didn’t know. So I turned to my husband. He tore himself away from his novel.

“What’s up?” he said.

I told him.

He kissed me and said, “Not for me. Go. You will love it.”

And so I climbed out of bed, pulled on my cosiest oldest jeans and tugged a jumper over my Winnie the Pooh pyjama top. And a jacket over the top of that.

I had done Ecstatic Dancing - a free form dancing where you allow the music to flow through you. You can dance on your own or with others. There is no touching or talking, and if you’d rather not dance with someone, you bring your hands to prayer pose against your chest and bow and move away. I thought Biodancing was the same, and therefore I would be safe in my own energy. It was not. I was not.

When I arrived, Maria led me into their function room - a hippie-fest of coloured paper balls dangling from the ceiling, ethnic rugs on the walls and floor, abstract art painted on the walls, and orange, purple and gold cushions on the floor. Her husband was gathering up the cushions to make space and stopped to greet me, introducing me to the instructor and her boyfriend. Three other friends I knew arrived and one brought one of her friends I’d never met, Tara.

When asked by the instructor if any of us had done anything like this before, Tara and I said we had done ecstatic dance and we beamed at each other. You know that wonderful pull you have to some people, where you feel safe, home, at ease with them? That’s how I felt with her, even though we’d only exchanged hellos. I could see from her eyes shining that she felt the same way.

The instructor started the first song and told us to all move around the room freely. So I did. Tara side-leapt like a crab-cum-frog (it was super impressive) and landed in front of me. We grinned and without words had the music pulling us, like the moon does waves. She was my mirror and I hers. I felt stripped of this world and in an energy, a communion more powerful than language. My conscious mind for a second brought me the question of ‘How can our bodies dance with identical moves in time?’ The music stopped and we were still riding the same wave of cosmic energy, dancing in sync following each other like a mirror. The instructor’s voice jarred us out of the beauty and appeared between us.

“No,” she said. “You don’t just dance with one person. You move around.”

Still spaced, we both looked from her to each other. I made a face, Tara shrugged.

The music started again and we moved around the room, while my thoughts moved around in me. What had that been? It was something beyond my conscious understanding and intellect. It scared me and I knew it was the pathway to liberation. I wanted more of it.

Before the next song, the instructor asked us to dance like leaves falling. Half a minute in and I was believing I was a leaf I’d gotten so lost in the fantasy.

Then she showed us something none of us were ready for. She asked for a volunteer. No one stepped forward so Maria’s husband did. The instructor told him to be a tree and she would be the rain and he had to completely surrender. Everyone fidgeted on their feet. Another person eventually volunteered to be the wind. The instructor started touching Maria’s husband’s body with her hands. He wriggled like someone had just told him the most disgusting thing in the world. I wanted to save him. He is a one-woman man devoted to Maria and did not want another woman touching him. Everyone leaned away and I felt my eyes widen just as I saw everyone else’s do the same. Then the other volunteer had to start blowing all over him as the wind at the same time. Us leaves who had floated around the room had transformed into trunks rooted to the floor while at the same time wanting to run from the room.

At the end of the demonstration the instructor said she would stay in that demonstration three and that the rest of us needed to get into groups of three. I could see Maria’s husband pleading to Maria to rescue him with his eyes, but she was as shocked to the spot as he was.

We teamed up with those in closest proximity which for me meant Maria and the instructor’s boyfriend who I’d never met. Neither Maria nor I wanted to be the tree so he said he would be. Yet then the instructor announced we would each have a turn in our trio of being the tree and receiving anyway. Maria and I glanced at each other. The words shot out of Maria’s mouth; “I’ll be the wind.” I felt relieved because I didn’t want to be blowing all over the instructor’s boyfriend. But then I realized that meant I had to touch him all over. I sort of felt like we all needed to have had some warning, or permission slips. No one looked comfortable. I decided I would just come from a place of love from one being to another and not think of the human form. After all, wasn’t he a tree? Tree, tree, tree. The music started and so did Maria with her blowing. I wanted to laugh, so I closed my eyes and focused on being rain pattering over the scalp of this tree, spreading palms over shoulders and down his back. He lost his identity to me and I was able to just give. He rocked and lost himself in us giving. Next Maria had to be the tree and I said I would be rain again. She mouthed a thank you. I had done it once already, and she’s a dear friend, so I poured my love through my hands being rain, bringing nourishment and love and acknowledgement. Then it was my turn to be the tree. I really did not like the idea of anybody in here blowing on me, yet like Maria with me, I felt relief when she jumped in eager to be my rain. As the tree you had to close your eyes and surrender. So I did. A couple of times I felt the guy’s breath on my skin and thought ‘ew’ and then I slipped into full surrender. I became the tree. Rain and wind caressed and gave me universal love. I swayed and felt hands steadying me.

For the next song the instructor asked us to get into pairs. We were asked to stand two metres away from each other with one of us transmitting universal love to the other as we came closer until we touched and hugged. Then we had to swap roles. Apart from Maria’s husband who grabbed her, no one else made a move to pair up. I wanted to pair up with Tara. I could feel her itch to pair up with me yet neither of us had the courage to do it. So again, people paired off with who was next to them once the awkward silence had passed. That left me with the teacher’s boyfriend.

I said I would give the universal love first. I shed my thoughts of seeing him as a stranger or a man or a human, and just saw him as divine energy for me to express love and gratitude for and to. We started with eyes closed then opened them. I poured my love and wonder into his eyes from mine, and began to move towards him. With a few steps between us, I was not prepared for what happened next. His face changed. He looked like my mother, then a woman with a hat and robe, then what I can only describe as one woman after another in history passing through his body and showing themselves to me in clothes from different centuries and continents. My cells were singing and when we were inches apart, tears of wonder streamed down my face. I couldn’t remove my grin. I felt such love. He was beaming too and when I took him in my arms and we hugged, he nestled his head down into my shoulder and cried and it felt like the relief of acceptance for being a living being, and not judged. We stayed like this for so long that the music had stopped and everyone was looking our way and waiting, and my body struggled to come back into the room. I was travelling in other realms.

At the end of the evening, we all formed a circle. Tara came next to me, slipping her arm around my waist. She leaned her head onto my shoulder, I kissed her head and her shoulders relaxed and she sighed.

“I don’t know what we have between us,” I said to her when we said goodbye. And then, we both beamed with eyes wet and both said, “And we don’t need to know.”

A Spoonful of Soul

We stood and held hands

Moved to a song

Sent love through our eyes

And, oh it was strong

Then we all parted

Tara jumped in front of me

Our hearts were excited

The pure energy

Twin rivers moving

On one wave we bobbed

Until that ascension

Of ours was robbed

The teacher said

We had to part

Even though

We’d become one heart

We didn’t understand

Yet we did as she said

Tara upturned her hands

And I shook my head

Then on came the song

Upside Down

And my lips reversed

From their temporary frown

I love the song

I had to scream

My head felt like

I was lost in a dream

My limbs took over

I danced round the room

Jumping and twirling

Along to the tune

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