PT, Edinburgh – Dancing Towards the Exit
“I have always had a sense that life was a kind of dance, a performance to be engaged with. What eluded me was the possibility that dance itself could be central to life – and to wellbeing. When childhood is an unsafe place of secrets and hidden violence, this possibility has to go deep into hiding. Ignorance, fear, shame and lack of opportunity can become four walls that stifle latent expression of physicality that is seen as alien to the prevailing culture. Brief attempts at ballroom dancing as a teenager only confirmed my sense of incompetence, lack of co-ordination and ‘not belonging’. Many years later, ceilidh dancing appeared enticing. I would go along, watch, have a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. When I found the courage to join a ‘beginners” class, it turned out to be full of experienced dancers, led by an impatient tutor. More shaming exposure of personal incompetence – I didn’t stay to the end of the first session, which was a relief for all concerned.
Abandoning the project altogether, I could at least watch, wonderingly, performances by professional dancers. I found and read Darcey Bussell’s autobiography and shed a tear over her final performance, Kenneth Macmillan’s Song of the Earth. Contemporary dance was a revelation, suggesting that there could be another way. Then came the discovery of Movement Medicine. People I spoke to used words like “non judgemental”, “welcoming”, “cathartic”, “healing”, “fun” and “exploration” when describing their experiences.
With some trepidation I went along one evening. Using a few rather gymnastic warm-up exercises, I began to relax and really hear – and feel – the music. I found that in this softly lit space where others were making their own dance, I was unselfconscious and my body began responding to the rhythms: it was the most natural thing in the world – and I was moving! The experience, for me, has been so freeing and, yes, healing, in a way I could never have imagined.
As an exploration, Movement Medicine is truly a journey into imaginative expression: on the one hand we may bring the joy of life, love, gratitude, the beauty of creation; on the other we may bring our pain – or that of humankind – as part of a path towards healing.
When you check it out, there has been dance since earliest times. Today, much nearer the end of my life than the beginning, I cannot imagine existence without it.”
CC, Edinburgh – This Being Human
“What a journey on your This Being Human workshop! It’s one thing to do this work alone, and quite another to work with others and show and share these vulnerabilities and tender places. The power of welcoming the “unwelcome guests” – the difficult emotions that can feel painful, overwhelming, shameful – for others to see is extraordinary! Terrifying and then… transformative. I found the exercise of telling the story, then feeling it, then moving it, then waiting for the message very powerful. What a lesson, to experience how some of the “ugliest” of emotions – anger, hurt, fear, a great internal turmoil – can pass through in a storm when you open the door to them and leave in their wake, astonishingly, only love and compassion. And both times I did the exercise, the message was unexpected, and simple, and sane. And it was not a message about what I need to do, but about how I need to be, with myself and/or with the other person. Which seems to be an important lesson. Acceptance really is the key, isn’t it.
So thank you ever so much, dear Catherine, for your wonderful guidance and passing on of this wisdom. This deep work is only possible thanks to the safe space that you create, your courage and strength in being willing to share your own vulnerabilities, and your very warm holding and acceptance of us all with all our messy “human-ness”. You do all this with an amazingly light touch and a great sense of humour, so we feel both safely held and expansively free.”
“Energetically I feel the beauty of the space Catherine provides, the heart and warmth of her Goddess which creates and fills the room with the essence of the dance , being held and cradled if need be ………..a place of letting go and deep connection to creator and the joy of releasing in a sacred space………….”
“Catherine’s sessions are a work of art! A delicately balanced mix of gorgeous music, sensitive guidance, moving poetry and well-designed exercises. It’s a true joy to dance with her.”