This article was published in the Fall 2014 edition of DANS Revue, Dance Nova Scotia‘s newsletter. The entire newsletter can be found at the bottom. First, here is the text of the article by Nancy Sherwood.
Training in awareness, and connection with primal energy, give shape to Moving Mandala dance training. During the course, intuitive skill informs movement, a 12-point circle contains it, and we entrain the diversity of our collective creativity into an alignment that lends more power to the whole kaleidoscope of colour, sound and dance. The season and site are chosen for specific qualities that reside in our innate energetic makeup as human beings. Our individual energies are multiplied by the geometry within a final holographic Mandala Dance. Whatever dance form or other activity you are practicing, Moving Mandala can potentially take you further. We merge with the spirit of dance itself, going directly to its soul, opening creative channels to inform all that we do.
This training is based on shamanic dance. From evidence on cave walls, carved in bone artifacts, and among indigenous cultures today, we find that that the first stories we told, perhaps before language, were manifested through spirit, music and movement. As contemporary people living in challenging times, it is useful to go to the essence of movement, to merge with the elemental forces of life that give dance its shape and form.
The track record for the mandala itself is ancient: we find the practices of mandala making and holding mandala space in the oldest texts of India and Tibet, in sand paintings of Buddhists and Navajo, in calendars of Aztec and Maya. Bringing the wheel of time together with timeless realms is an ageless art that is wedded to Moving Mandala training, not based on any one culture, but on a multi-diverse and reverent view of the gift of life and our creative place in the universe.
Moving Mandala offers a contemporary way to strengthen the roots of modern expression, while using an ancient cosmic blueprint of wholeness to bring creative form alive. During the sessions we use shamanic techniques to reconnect to the parts of ourselves that have gotten lost, disconnected from our centre, meaning, purpose. We use exercises in movement, sound and visual arts that clear the energy (chakra) centres of the body. In order to fully express our own nature we need to honour the wild and mysterious parts of us that connect us to other beings and energies on earth. We are meant to live large, to draw on the energy of the natural world and to merge with the archetypes that help us respond to challenges of modern living with more…more sensitivity, more emotional intelligence, more vitality; to bring play and magic into other people’s awareness as well as our own.
This particular training is inherently creative in itself, providing a rich, unique, texture for all those that receive the teaching: no two courses look exactly alike because the timing, place and participants change within a well-tested container that always spirals up to the next level, whether a person does these sessions once or a dozen times. Moving Mandala teaching began in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2001 and moved to the South Shore for ripening and proving of the process. There are both the long and short forms of training. The seasonal Moving Mandala is three months, seven three-hour sessions long, taking place between calendar seasons. The residential intensive is a 4-day training of 8 sessions. Each course concludes with a Mandala Dance presentation.
Moving Mandala is currently offered in two provinces of Canada and also in the UK to provide the opportunity to enlarge our range of creativity by making friends with the unknown. Our courses take place within a reliable international circle of Mandala teachers who have learned to have radical trust in their own instincts and in their own inspired, in-the-moment, teaching. Participants ride on the wave of energy facilitated and directed by experienced instructors. Teachers leave space for each person to develop her/his own innate response to being awake to the moment and being fully present to the energy that fills the circle.
By dancing within the universal blueprint of the mandala, we can bring our intentions to a level of communication that has impact wherever we share it. In finding or expanding our creative nature through movement, we learn to move within the always present moment.