Heleen, Daniel and Peter take turns to facilitate the Monday night Biodanza class at Erin Hall in Rondebosch. The support they provide for each other is evident, making for a relaxed & welcoming atmosphere.
Before I go any further I need to explain that Biodanza is a system of human development, rather than pure dance. It was founded by renaissance man, Rolando Toro, a Chilean psychologist, poet, painter and anthropologist. The Cape Town School of Biodanza is now headed by Marcelo Toro, grandson of the founder of this system.
The class I attended was facilitated by Heleen, freshly inspired by a weekend with Marcelo. Her theme for the evening was “identity”. We were invited to form a circle and started with a brief check-in before Heleen said a few words about her theme.
Biodanza classes seem to follow a formula – one that works surprisingly well. We started moving round in the circle for the duration of one song and were invited to arrive in our bodies. The next track was used to walk around the room and from there we went to walking with a partner. Biodanza emphasizes our place within humanity and this idea of encountering the other often recurs in Biodanza classes. How do we meet the other and celebrate our common humanity while maintaining our individuality?
The more cardiovascular part of the class peaked with a solo dance to “Flashdance”, in which we were invited to express what we wanted from life.
After this the class became quieter and more introspective as Heleen guided us into a dance with a partner where we could experience being supported. From here she guided us to open up to the Divine and to go with the flow. The class concluded with Heleen guiding us to experience our connection to and our support by humanity at large. This was a surprisingly evocative experience. However much I may tell myself that I know the Biodanza formula, I am continually surprised by the emotion that such simple exercises evoke.
The class ended with an uplifting partner dance & closing circle. Upon reflection, it seems that Biodanza addresses our existential loneliness by offering the warmth of non-verbal support. I often forget how effective this is. I arrived feeling fairly flat and left feeling uplifted and encouraged. In fact, I felt as if I’d been to a very gentle counseling session.
I would recommend these classes if you’d like to work through some stuff but don’t feel like talking about it, or in fact to anyone who’d like to journey within. Heleen is gentle and understated, yet one comes away feeling supported. Biodanza encourages one to enjoy one’s physicality and would therefore be particularly beneficial to anyone who’s stuck in their head.
Mondays at Erin Hall, Rondebosh
Time: 7.30pm for 7.45pm
Review by Angelique
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