I had the pleasure of attending a dance therapy session organized by the extremely talented Ashoka fellow Tripura Kashyap.Though, I am a free dancer in my private space, I am quite shy, thus the mere thought of dancing/body movements in front of strangers made me apprehensive about the session. Also, for me dance is all about a free flow of body movements as guided by music’s flow rather than a choreographed performance meant to entertain. I dance for myself, to connect to the sublime. However, intrigued as I was, I went nonetheless.
The workshop began with a body loosening activity around handling balloons: We had to prevent them from falling using different body parts as instructed. This was meant to get our body to move and boy, move it did. This was followed by a series of very interesting activities which I will share later for today I mean to share this one activity which had a big impact on the way I understand people, energy and life.
In this activity, initially we were blindfolded and were to be guided around the hall by a non-blindfolded partner through only the touch of our hands. So, we had to find our way through the hall without colliding with anything, simply through the feeling conveyed by our partner through his hand. After both the partners completed the activity, we were further instructed to now go around blindfolded alone, avoiding collision with other people by simply trusting our gut feelings. After, walking around for a while(during which I almost collided with a person), we were asked to connect through our hands with anyone nearby.
Thus, now both me and my partner were blindfolded and had absolutely no idea who the other person was. We were connected by a mere touch, We were asked to walk together guiding each other trying to avoid colliding with other groups of two’s. Initially, both of us were moving cautiously but after walking for around 10-15 seconds, something magical happened. We both started moving faster, somehow with the implicit,unsaid trust in knowing that both of us were being rightly led by the other.
When and how that fast movement converted into a dance, I know not. Who among-st us was leading and who following in the dance, I know not. All that I was aware of was the touch and the dance. How and when external factors such as “the hall filled with people, the instructor’s presence, the other person being a stranger, my nature being shy”, stopped mattering, I know not. How that pristine connection was formed over a mere touch, I know and care not. Funnily, the fact that we were blindfolded and could collide and get hurt also simply disappeared.
Somehow, being blindfolded had made me free from my inhibitions. I didn’t care who she was, how she looked, her nationality, ethinicity, religion. Through the touch, I felt her as just another human, quite like myself and freed from all my prejudices/biases, I simply let go and connected. The simple touch worked like magic and through it, in those few moments, I tasted life in its raw, unadulterated, free form.
So, Yes, Blindfolded we both danced. I would urge each one of you to try out the same, just ensure you don’t know who the other person is.. 🙂
P.S: After we were asked to remove our blindfolds, I realized she was a russian student here in India to learn Kathak, a classical Indian form of dance. She was a professional dance and funnily, She thought I was leading and was a professional dancer. 🙂