By Lynn Buess, MA, EdS
As a former practicing psychotherapist and avid social dancer, I have jokingly said that I can go around the dance floor twice with my partner and I will recognize many of her psychological issues. There is some exaggeration to this statement, and a lot of truth. When couples dance, it is a brief relationship with that partner. The manner in which one dances clearly reflects the way that person behaves in his/her life relationships.
Along with the romance and other expectations associated with dancing, any number of negative issues can come up during that brief interlude on the floor. Some of these include fear of rejection, issues of control, manipulation, sexual inhibition, latent anger toward the father (males) or mother (females), and trust to name a few.
The origin of dancing reflects the most important relationship of all: that of mankind’s relationship to life and to the life giver. From earliest times dance was performed as a ritual unto the dancer’s gods or God.
Often the roots of ballroom dances have a spiritual derivation. For example, the cha cha was originally danced by an African tribe in tribute to one of its gods. With time the African influence traveled to the Caribbean islands. As Spanish culture became established in much of the Caribbean, the cha cha took on the flavor of the islands and the Latin style of rhythm.
The nature of my work is heavily involved in the paranormal, mystical philosophies, and transcendental levels of consciousness. I am a student and teacher of esoteric cosmology. For many years I have known that dancing reflects the cycles and rhythms of creation and the ongoing cycles of the universe. In the sacred Hindu teachings this is known as the dance of Shiva. The Sufi whirling dervish dance is symbolic of the rotating earth and its relationship to the sun. The dervish dancers empty all thoughts and distractions. Then, through their spinning, they become released from the body.
The waltz is one of the ballroom dances that most reflects universal archetypes manifesting within the universe. It is a dance of social pleasure, but potentially one of personal transformation as well. It has a three count beat, which is symbolic of dance of the trinity in creation (The Divine Father-Will), (The Divine Mother-Wisdom) and (The Child of their union-Love). It is danced by a couple (masculine-feminine polarity) who become as one (the human longing to be with God) when dancing in unison.
Years ago I danced socially with a woman with whom there was a high level of dancing compatibility. One evening while waltzing, we were so attuned that I completely lost awareness of the floor, of the music, and of partner. For a brief moment (that seemed eternal) there was no time and no space. It was simply THE DANCE: a mystical moment of pure connection to the ONENESS of all life and being!!!
I had previous glimpses of something like this during periods of meditation. I had also experienced similar mystical connections during moments of seventh chakra tantric embrace. However, I had never realized it could happen while dancing. There was a strong desire to return to this state of being.
An opportunity came in the summer of 2006 when I met Anya Klimova-Preston. I had a longing to put some of my ideas together in a Viennese Waltz routine. The V Waltz particularly possesses powerful cosmic archetypes. It has the three count beat of the waltz, but the quicker tempo and rapid movement provides it with a more stirring and powerful form of expression. Anya was open to my ideas and we started to prepare for an exhibition performance.
As the practices began, she was tactful and patient, focusing upon putting together my cherished, but somewhat peculiar dance patterns while overlooking some weaknesses in my technique. For me the practices became sheer delight, and I began to experience extreme joy and a rush of creative inspirations throughout all aspects of my life. Glimpses of cosmic connections danced through my head and heart.
Anya found an opportunity to do an earlier performance prior to the one I had in mind. I entered that first performance with much anxiety. As we go higher into the realms of spirit and self discovery, we go equal and opposite into the dark side of our human nature. Many of my personal insecurities and fears came rushing to the fore. I was nervous and off rhythm from the start, spending the rest of the routine trying to catch up. It did not go well, and the audience response was luke warm. Anya was disappointed, but reassuring. I felt bad, because I know that teachers want their students to do well. It reflects back upon their teaching. I had not done well. This realization and other personal factors sent me down a steep emotional plunge of despair.
The next presentation was the one I had selected. After getting past the point of the previous mistake, I had full confidence that the routine would be fine. I went into automatic pilot and experienced sheer elation. I was literally gone for most of the dance, checking in every now and then and noting that, “gee that is really cool”. Near the end of the routine, it was as if an angelic being (or my angelic self) took over and lead the remainder of the dance. The audience reaction was one of cheering, ooing and awing, and ended with massive applause. I experienced a total high. I had gone somewhere far out into the cosmos (or deep into the soul), and it was not easy to come back down to earth.
An unexpected opportunity came to do a third performance in Anya’s “Dance Fireworks” series. I started with complete confidence. We did a run down one side of the ballroom. This ballroom was larger than the others, and I felt like a child with more room to play. I became a bit over enthused and started to get a little out of sync. We then went into very tight circles and reverse circles which reminded me of doing whirling dervish turns, but as a couple rather than alone. It was pure ecstasy. Near the end of the routine, we did a series of what I called helicopter turns. In this sequence our arms were connected, and we did repetitions of inside out over the head turns.
As we were leaving those turns, I saw a small vortex similar to one from a sci-fi movie about outer space. It was so compelling that I entered the vortex. When I came out approximately 20 to 30 seconds of lost time had passed. The music continued, and I had missed part of the routine. It is virtually impossible to catch up at the V Waltz speed. I then realized that I was making a public faux pas and anxieties flooded my thoughts. At that moment I was in shock.
Anya looked at me as if to say “What’s happening”, and took the lead in an attempt to get us back on time. Much to my dismay, I had missed the special ending which was intended to close the routine with a dramatic flair. The audience response was appreciative, but not the same as if it would have been without the miscues.
I felt inspired and high. But I was also troubled by the mistakes, and knowing that the performance did not reflect Anya’s best standards. Many people came up to me to give a compliment about the performance. My reply was, “Thank you, but it would have been even better without the miscues.” They replied, “We did not realize there were any mistakes!” I wondered if they had gone on the journey with me. But that’s another story.
Since practicing and performing this dance, virtually every facet of my life has been inspired. For example, my writing as an author has taken a new direction. I have also made huge changes in diet and health matters. I am now thinking of offering a class on the Viennese Waltz as a “dance of transcendence.” I would like to share with others the joy of experiencing connection to their own higher consciousness through dance. The fun would be exploring the possibility of traversing time and space. If that happens, the challenge would be to stay grounded and maintain the continuity of the dance.
Internet Conference: “Dance Styles and DMT (Dance Movement Therapy)” March 1-15th, 2007
Organizer: Dance Movement Department of the Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Moscow, Russia