I had a nice experience, recently.
I took a guided creative movement session that lasted about two hours, last Friday.
The instructor is a woman named Louise Taylor. Chatting at a yoga class we discovered that we share a teacher and study in Halprin technique.
For those of you who don't know what that is, Ill tell you.
Anna Halprin, a celebrated modern dancer of many years set up a school called Tamalpa Institute. When I went there, it was only a couple of years established. One could take a full certification over about nine months or, take the month long intensive summer "dancer's workshop" (like I did). In later years Anna had experience using movement as a healing art form. Her patient- herself
At Tamalpa, Anna had two sides to the work. One movement study was developed towards performance and one of a kind rituals while the other was the daily practice of her signature Movement Ritual.
There were plenty of learning mediums utilized at Tamalpa. Everyone was issued a yard wide pad of newsprint and a box of pastels. We would routinely draw "visualizations" of concepts being worked on in dance wit the body. Every day involved at least a couple of drawings. Some of the drawings I can still remember, although I have no idea what became of them in my fast lane twenties.
After arriving from our host houses each morning, we had the choice of group meditation or running meditation for an entree to the day. I usually chose running. The school is halfway up Mount Tamalpias, It was summer in Marin County. Sweat.
We practiced a routine, fluid yoga-like sequence of movements that is Anna's signature choreography/ therapy. Exploration using breath was an essential part of the daily movement routine (this was a spine fluxing, thorough, kinetic routine that really did make you feel good, especially afterward.)
My classmates were mostly European Doctors, therapists, resort owners, and performers. I was nursing my first broken heart. Twenty years old and whittling away my grandfather's money.
Anna's brush with cancer compelled her to design (or perhaps devine) and execute personal movement rituals. Her intent was to face and clear blocks that had developed over time that she believed were manifesting in her body as ill health. One such ritual she made for herself was at her SeaRanch home and took a couple of days. All the students, "dancers", had a week long retreat at Sea ranch as part of our schooling.
Community rituals were also created, like the one where they staged an elegant, and theatrical, yet dead serious purification ritual of Mt Tam, (which was having a mad serial rapist problem). Elements of Nature were revered in the dancing. Huge silk sails were held and wafted by costumed dances, symbolizing wind. More natural forces were called to power with equal grandeur.
Louise Taylor studied these ideas more than twenty five years later than I, obtaining the teaching credential. She used many techniques I had forgotten. The movement has quenched a thirst I have had. It is to nice circle around,reconnecting with an earlier part of my life. I cant wait until next Friday for another go.