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Dance and healing

While in Korea, I met an amazing woman, a dancer and anthropologist, MiYeon Choi. She has studied the dance of her culture, traditional Korean dance, and sees a connection between the various movements and the healing that traditional shamans do.

Ms. Choi believes there are four basic "epics" or "story lines" that are part of a healing ethos. These correspond roughly to the relationships in families: parent to child, child to parent, husband and wife, siblings.

Dance movement, she believes, creates energy connections that help balance and clear out our minds and bodies. The dancer/healer first reaches the energy source (a divine spirit) and then conveys that to the recipient.

Understood from this perspective, all dance can become a healing force. Science has linked dancing to the production of positive brain chemicals. But also, numerous faith communities use dance or movement as a form of devotion. The movement, combined with the intention of the heart, helps focus the connection of the spirit with the higher power.

A simple experiment that anyone can try will help illustrate the power of dance. If you are trying to do some intense mental work--study new material, write or create something, solve some thorny problem--and you've hit a block, the solution is to dance! Go away from the work area, turn on some music, and just start dancing. The more crazy and assymetrical, the better. Dance for 15, 20 minutes, abandoning your worries and enjoying the movement.

Afterwards, go back to your task. Suddenly, your mind is clearer--you can see new possibilities--you can find answers. Why is this? Scientists hypothesize that the muscular and neural stimulation of dancing creates new pathways that trigger different parts of the brain. Try it! It works.

Imagine if dance can do more than help individuals be healed, or help our brains function better? Imagine if dance could help our entire world find solutions, and gain understanding? That's our hope with creating the movie project, "Dancing Joy." A global experiment in dance healing!

Oh, and by the way, Ms. Choi will be choreographing the dance team from Korea for the film!

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