As I twirled my bright yellow balloon, I was thinking, I could not be happier. The balloon bounced gaily with not a care in the world. The menacing fans which were whirring frenetically seemed poised to burst my bubble.
Nothing of that sort happened. On the first occasion my balloon soared upwards and was gently kissed and pushed away by the rim of the blades. On the second occasion the balloon found itself above the rotating blades. But lo and behold the balloon was actually bouncing on the blades! They were having a fine time. That’s when I realized how unfounded my fears were.
We were at a dance therapy workshop. Dance as therapy?! The equation was interesting. I thought I’d tag along.
We opened with a relaxation technique. As we stood in a circle, we were made aware of each part of the body from the head downwards. Next came free-style dancing to the instrumental music. There was sharing by the group after each dance exercise. I shared my insight that I was doing certain moves repeatedly for no reason. My body was trying to tell me something.
Dance Instructor Ms. Cliszma DaCosta was saying that dance brings out the unconscious. Co-trainer Dr. Sujata Samant elaborated by saying that the body remembers more than the mind.
Imagine each pore of your skin, having a sensation, a hard disk of memory of the years you have lived. The body became a textbook which required reading to interpret and understand the way you felt. Dance movement therapy did not insist on dancing in a particular way. There was no perfect way.
Mirroring was the next activity. Each person in a pair held the balloon and moved it in a particular way. The other partner had to ‘mirror’ the movement by moving his/her body in the same manner. Frustrated by my limited repertoire Cliszma -- who has studied Dance Movement Therapy at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai -- suggested that I improve my dance vocabulary. She asked us to explore space and distance between partners. Also to be kept in mind, were the three levels of movement i.e. head, waist and feet.
The brief 2-hour workshop from 11-1 p.m. made us aware of our bodies and the potential locked within.
The climax was the syncronized group dance to the moves of Remo’s Maria Pitache and the Konkani medley of ‘Goan Masala.’
As the workshop drew to a close we were asked to ‘melt down’ like an ice cream. The hall was darkened. Only the music played. Feel each part of your body relaxing. As you work from the head downwards let your body move to the floor. Lie down flat on the ground legs spread in total surrender.
As I lay down, I felt I was sleeping peacefully next to my dad as he lay in the ground. He too was sleeping peacefully. Dance helped me to accept his passing three months ago.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 22 October 2017. Instagram photo courtesy, Cliszma DaCosta, 17 October 2017.