Human beings are born to move. With movement, we thrive - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Open Floor is a lively meditation practice that builds muscular and emotional intelligence. It is a dance floor discovery zone where we move and include: good days and tough ones, passion, hesitance, joy, sorrow, births, deaths and everything in between. There are no steps to learn and no way to do it wrong. Our teachers mix stirring music with clear guidance to inspire wild dances and tender ones, connections between dancers and solo time.
Research shows that people who dance grow more flexible, confident, capable of intimacy and nimble in the face of change. When we move together, we grow communities that care for each other on and off the dance floor.
The invitation is to come just as you are and join others doing the same right alongside you.
Some of our Core Movement Principals which we teach at Open Floor Classes and Workshops:
Expand & Contract
Here we practice the ability to open, extend and reach out, then pull back in towards center again. For example, we might use specific areas of the body to dance between a big physical presence and a small one. We can use the body to express emotional sensations and then give them wide-open expression, then pull back in again.
In all of these movements, we are learning to put our own hand on the dial as we increase and decrease our range of expression.
“We can run with the fox, fly with the owl, dig with the mole and finally, losing all outward form, dissolve into the totality of nature” Mary Oliver
Dissolving is the movement of softening our sense of shape and physical form, of aligning with spaciousness rather than mass. This is a delicate and exquisite exploration that’s helpful in dealing with wounds, or fixations, or rigid belief systems on any level. It is also a way to cultivate a sense of peace and oneness on the dance floor.
“I want to know if you know how to melt into that fierce heat of living falling toward the Center of your longing” David Whyte
Centering is the movement toward connecting with oneself. We focus our attention on sensations inside the body, an internal balancing point or alignment. The center can be found through midline, the core, the moving center or Hara. Knowing the dance between center and off-center provides a mover with a feeling of freedom and grace from within. Learning to center again and again teaches us how to find equilibrium when life knocks us off-balance.
Towards and Away
We are almost always moving towards or away from something: a feeling, a place, repetitive thoughts, pleasure and most often, other people. Mindfully practicing the dance of towards and away, we learn to actively and honestly choose to go towards or away from anybody or anything. Even when it feels like there is no choice but to move towards something painful, or we habitually move away from the possibility of true intimacy, this practice is a big first step towards awareness and shifting long-term patterns.
“May you release me, release me completely”
The ability to release tension, emotion, thought and the entire body to the will of life force is an essential healing skill. There are many ways to surrender; shaking, softening, dropping, rocking, bouncing, letting go, emphasizing the exhale…. The key is knowing the difference between holding on and letting go and to be able to choose ‘letting go’ in an embodied way.
The ability to turn the potency of our movment in a specifice direction with magnitude to move here not there, now not later, right not left. Working with a vector means we choose to establish a certain direction or quality (or follow a direction that is already happening). We can bring our forces to bear with clarity and intention in a single direction, whether our movement is intense, chaotic, soft, subtle, or full of energy, emotion or thought.
Ground is the movement toward connection with earth, feeling our weight and substance, rooting ourselves; how we stand on the ground, move across it, relate to it and how we feel that connection in our body. It is a skill that supports us to be present. It is the movement of energy downward in the body that can settle us when we’re imbalanced or over-activated physically, emotionally, mentally. Moving towards ground supports our sense of safety in our bodies and in the world. Feeling grounded allows for discharge, surrender, support and solid contact with ourselves and others.
“We were talking about the space between us all” George Harrison
Spatial awareness is the capactity to know where we are in space and to move confidently and safely in any direction.
We bring our senses to our shape and size in any posture or position and can navigate direction, proximity and distance. We can dance with daring velocity and release without crashing into others or hurting ourselves.
We are teachers and/or therapists who have studied with Open Floor International. Each of us offers classes & workshops in different parts of Ireland that reflect our different areas of interest and expertise. For information, please see Teachers page.