Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Khan founded the School of Movement Medicine, near to us in Devon, and teach this conscious dance form all over the world. Here’s how they describe their work:-
‘Movement Medicine is a creative, embodied meditation practice for our times. It is rooted in ancient wisdom and modern understanding of how change happens. Its intention is to help you to access more of the physical and emotional intelligence that’s inside you through bringing awareness to the way you move, feel and think. Whatever your level of experience, age or condition, conscious movement practice is a force for creative expression and mindfulness in day to day life. Movement Medicine is an invitation for personal empowerment in the context of community. Our experience over more than 27 years of teaching worldwide has shown us that genuine contentment comes from knowing who you are and making your contribution to life in a way that is meaningful to you. Our work is devoted to supporting you on that journey. Often, all it takes is a little encouragement to feel the music, get moving and trust the dance that’s inside you.’
The writer has her own conscious dance practice, including a fortnightly Movement Medicine class (in fact her first ever dance experience was a Movement Medicine class led by Susannah), and this description feels accurate. She often thinks of it as ‘person-centred in movement form’.
The Earth Dance was a recent sponsored all night dance, to raise money for the Pachamama Alliance: ‘A Ritual to Give Thanks and Pray for Life on Earth’. It took place on 25/26 June, immediately after the Referendum result. The School of Movement Medicine is an international affair, and there was intense feeling in the room around that – as well as all else dancers were bringing into their dances.
We felt this description by Susannah of how this manifested during the dance (in part) was both moving and useful. She has kindly given us permission to share her words.
Here’s the text for those who have trouble reading Facebook links:-
‘In the middle of the ‘Earth Dance’ last Saturday night something happened. People were there from the locality, from the rest of the UK, from Denmark, Ireland, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Japan and probably more. There were young people, older people, a couple of families and a good heart of intention to dance for life on earth.
We were in the “community round” and had started with dancing to acknowledge and nourish the strong and beautiful “pop up” community that was created on that night. I was DJ-ing. Tender, heartful and connected dances ensued. Then we broadened our focus to include more of the wider world and the communities we belong to. At some point I began to play Stereo MC’s track “We belong in this world together” and a door was flung open. Fierce love, passion and pain was being danced and sung.
Then, within one of the peaks a terrible electronic noise split the air. I turned the master volume down but the noise continued. Abrasive, deafening sound. The dancers had stopped dead. Ya’Acov and others sprinted to the speaker making the noise and turned it off. Silence. No motion. People looked lost, dis-orientated, paralysed. I felt it too. Then I said (as I so often do) “Your dance does not depend on the music! It’s your dance!” And the spell lifted.
People began to sing together “we belong in this world together” over and over. Harmonies emerged. And the dance lifted up again on the wings of the song, maybe even stronger than before. After a few magnificent minutes the other speaker recovered itself and we were off again with our DJ’d music, soon coming into an “Om Mani Padme Om” dancing prayer where rivers of emotion streamed through many of us, until we lifted back up into the beat of big hearted pulsating dance.
At the time, I found this moment shocking, hard and painful, just as I have found the referendum result and all that has been revealed by it. I’ve had a few days of feeling deeply devastated and angry. I’ve chosen to allow my feelings, to try and be disciplined about not giving lots of energy to stories about what “this will mean” whilst acknowledging the gravity of our collective decision and the appropriateness of having a deep emotional response.
Whether we are in or out of the EU, we do all belong in this world together, simply because we are in this world together.
This morning (Thursday) I am feeling a shift in my energy. I feel a sense of hope that is not based on anything except a feeling of trust of the goodness, creativity, resilience and possibility in people. As in the Earth Dance, we can choose how to dance. It’s up to us. In that moment in the Earth Dance, there was shock and paralysis, followed by empowerment, connection and a taking of the responsibility: “It’s in our hands”. That’s what gives me hope right now; us the people.
Thank you to all those involved in the Earth Dance in Devon, and the others across the world. Thank you for all the support of the Pachamama Alliance. This School of Movement Medicine Earth Dance in Devon raised £5812.5 for the Pachamama Alliance.YEAH!!!! Thank you to all the dancers, musicians, DJs, to the amazing altar maker Keith (any photos anywhere?) to Richard and Louise who generously made it possible at Rill and to Roland our amazing organiser,
Now, where is my safety pin?
Love to all of us, Susannah Darling Khan‘
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994