Meditation and Movement

In rehearsals lately we've been exploring how different movement-based meditation practices can be framed for a performance setting. Last spring we started with sitting meditation and explored just what would develop if we took a sitting practice into a movement practice. Without trying to get too intellectual about it, we just sat and waited until we felt like moving. We tried, and continue to try, to use the same structure of simply keep coming back to your breath (if we're sitting) or our movement (if we're moving) when ever we get distracted. We have applied this to different contexts and structures including a walking meditative structure, one involving moving from one shape to another, and a duet structure in which one dancer is 'meditating' on the other.

What we've found is that when you put your attention on being attentive to the thing your doing (breathing, moving, walking) you move into a state of, what psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi calls, flow. This state can be described as single-pointedness, full immersion and operating with one's complete expanse of skills. This state of flow of course happens all the time when one is fully engaged, but by bringing in a meditative approach it seems to up the percentage of reaching such a state.

We'll be presenting this work in February at Joe's Movement Emporium in an intimate studio setting with the audience seated in the round. More details as it gets closer.

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