Many years ago... during a group dynamics weekend, I said I wanted to have fun and received a proposition for a massage and a name! It was a rather unusual encounter, a long ago time...
I met Malaïka and became an avid fan of shiatsu which she has practiced since 82! I enjoyed its benefits for a while and then Malaïka mentioned her dance classes. I’d already tried a floor barre but didn’t really take to it. I felt awkward and it didn’t satisfy me, it was probably too rigid. Malaïka subtly but regularly reminded me of her dance class but I resisted. I feigned unavailability to mask my unease and found many excuses to avoid confronting my dancing body. I didn’t feel ready, my body wasn’t in shape, and I was afraid too. To be ridiculed in front of others, to feel awkward... No thank you! I had to protect myself. I must admit (happily) that Malaïka is known for being very persuasive, and she bided her time (several years).
Finally, there was nothing to lose and after being worn down by her repeated proposals I gave in when she suggested a trial lesson, which acted as a trigger. I had to prove to her that it wasn’t for me. Daringly, I joined an existing group, braving the looks, daring to look at myself, moving to warm up in front of the mirror!
Fortunately there was no judgment, just looks of encouragement... the group was within my reach while allowing me my personal space... There were moments of panic when it was necessary to improvise, exhibit myself, border on the ridiculous ... of not knowing, of not moving...
But progress comes little by little, regressing sometimes, the challenge has become a quality of life as has the fear of improvisation brought about by the rhythm and music, objects have become less important than movement, less important than the pleasure of feeling and sharing this freedom with others in this extraordinary way.
I was able to understand and be a part of creative changes in the group because I was much more aware of my personal unity in movement, in exchanges, through looks, in complicity and also through differences...
The energy that Malaïka emanates is a huge asset, it impels movement and rhythm with complete respect for others, so much so that my resistances have melted like snow in the sun.
Why the resistance before? Fear, personal experience ... When I was little, I danced with my grandmother ... we enjoyed a waltz, the tango ... Of an austere or perhaps even slightly cantankerous nature, I discovered in her a gentle, mild and companionable woman. With her death, she took this sensitivity of rhythm, motion and escape with her. She was my amputee ... I thought it was her who bore me, guiding me towards the music – a witness to the happy relationship we shared at the time.
Dancing was her thing. Not mine.
Malaïka thrust herself upon me, she looked for me somewhere that I didn’t have my grandmother, in a different dimension of movement where I was also alone to face myself. Malaïka was suggesting (I now realize) nothing other than that I should rediscover this deep but particular rhythm of my body. I didn’t know or didn’t want to know, but I doubted my ability to share these happy memories with others.
After my first attempts, I realized I could feel good about the limits of my body and also felt good about the group. I was also daring enough to join another group and take part in a second weekly class. What a victory to feel new emotions, to feel positive!
The pleasure grew and made me want to share the benefits of this technique. The idea of sharing definitely helps get over the fears...
And then an idea came to me!
I put the questions and to my astonishment it became a possibility: I proposed a dance workshop as an ongoing training program with the Vaud speech therapists association and it was accepted. I was able to stand in front of my colleagues and help them discover the joy of moving in a different manner in a personal and professional setting. I wanted to share this awareness of the relationship between the body and hidden emotions that exist without us knowing.
Today I really appreciate these moments, I'm completely miserable when for whatever reason I miss one of these magical moments, ashamed of sometimes giving priority to my work, forgetting , or just letting the moment pass. To learn and relearn creative movements, not mechanical ones, to coordinate them is a real joy, satisfaction which is reflected in daily life and at work, and when that movement has escaped my control, when it becomes spontaneous and natural, it’s fantastic!
I realize now how pleasant it is to let live, experience my body, to feel it move without force, without restriction. Now when moving I breathe better, I move differently, I feel more in touch with others, especially in the workplace.
Although movement has allowed me to reinvent breathing, applying it in everyday gestures isn’t easy! I realize I still have much to learn to let go and allow myself a certain freedom of expression. "Let the body be".
Malaïka often tells us to let it be... let the body speak! At first I laughed under my breath: my body has nothing to say! I really didn’t listen. I now understand how much time I wasted and I was foolish to put off making the first move so many times.
But everything comes in time. Don’t worry about time! It took me time to find myself, find my body and its natural pleasures, to live with it. It also took time to live the movement, to be free of controlled gestures, ways of behaving, to change poor postural habits... to yawn fully in everyday life, breathe in the little things, enjoy the small movements, to stretch in the morning ... What a pleasure.
Thank you dear Malaïka for not having given up, for being able to teach me...
Oh, the joy of movement! S.W. November 2006