This month I was invited by the innovative Jana, director of NOW live events to facilitate a movement workshop within the Deptford Art & Science Festival.  As a professional who works along the bridge between Art and Science, the invitation to collaborate within the festival was ideal!

The festival is aimed at the community, offering access to creative ways of working to enhance well being and bring a greater awareness to the self.

Community projects really resonant with me, it is an honour to facilitate workshops in an environment that may not usually have access to creative spaces. Providing a sense of holding, exploration and connection, that demanding schedules and daily pressures can deny us from.

‘Moving Matters’ was a women only movement workshop focusing on finding  the body’s voice, to move with and from. Highlighting that moving our ‘stuff’ really matters! A women only group was a conscious choice, inspired by the media’s bombardment of the ‘ideal woman’ and ‘Bikini ready’ mantras; mantras which can cause the authentic woman’s body to become lost in! The space enabled a group of women to move uninhibited in their existing body, with a focus of feeling not thinking! Move how you feel you want to, not how you think you have to!.

During conversations at the festival, I was approached by several men who had noticed my workshop in the programme of events and then felt somewhat deflated that they were unable to participate. I was immediately struck by guilt;  guilt for not being able to offer a space for men to connect with their moving bodies. In some ways I had conformed to the stigma, that moving and dance is reserved for women, men stick to your thinking please, stay in your boxes so my guilt can stay there too! To shift this guilt some reflection was needed.

Perhaps the divide I had caused for the men, wanting to move and being denied, was a very lived example of the world we all attempt to move in, with its boundaries, red tape , and ‘computer says no’ culture!

Needless to say future workshops will be offered to men and women separately and collectively to move with and beyond our gendered roles. Bridging between and beyond the boundaries.

The group itself, journeyed beyond our external surroundings and into our internal states. Those that came curious, left feeling connected. Bodies feeling lethargic, left energised and those feeling isolated, left feeling they had shared in part of the community. A community of moving bodies, each moving what mattered to them, while simultaneously being supported by the group. There were moments of  fast paced movements, flowing around the space, and moments of stillness, where just the breath could be sensed. There was no ‘right’ way of moving but instead a permission to just be, to distance the self from critical thinking and instead connect to the life force of moving instinctually.

As we moved to an ending, our circular space had become smaller and our pulsing hearts and perspiring skins were a reminder of how much moving matters when bringing an awareness to living in the NOW!

So, if you get the chance to sit it out or dance this summer, I hope you dance!