Embodied Agency

What constitutes a sense of Personal Agency to me?

            Social science would define agency as the capacity of an individual to act

independently, to have their gestures relay a sense of their own embodied “live self”.

Society has its own Cultural soma that can affect one’s ability to respond  with total

authenticity. My personal belief is that as we strive for authenticity of our own “embodied

selves”, we can affect the Cultural soma with a ripple effect to a positive outcome (with appropriate respect to Tada Hozumi).

            Through my personal lens as a Dance Science Researcher, I find the concept of personal agency fascinating. Dancers frequently see themselves as a metaphoric image; “my body is my instrument”. This affords a feeling of control over compartmentalized physical parts of their body. Having the body be an instrument separates and amplifies it as  external to the self,  a tool that can be adjusted or maneuvered to a specific outcome.  At the same time, it diminishes the body to a collection of parts that may need somehow, to be “fixed”. It encourages a mechanical view of correcting the various “parts”, without acknowledging the psychophysiological totality of the dancing body as well a spiritual /transpersonal aspect. The dancer doesn’t “play his/her body” . The dancer is their sentient “lived body” which can express an inter-bodily  resonance that communicates reciprocally with their environment, “I touch you= you touch me”  and we are shared sensation.

            I recently took a  Gaga Dance movement workshop, created by Ohad Naharin of the Batsheva Dance Company. It provides a foundation for dancers to connect to their bodies and evolve their somatic awareness to a deeper level. This in turn can enable a greater sense of personal agency, allowing an expanded capacity to resonate changes to the cultural soma. In doing this our habitus is broadened by these shared experiences creating ripples on the pond. Heal the body, Heal the  spirit, Heal the world 

“Fighting is the last thing on our minds when we are dancing” – (Rize: Movie)

            Taking responsibility for my own embodied space, I become more open to connections that  arise in the world around me. I have experienced this in teaching, counseling (as a hypnotherapist) and as a Reiki Healer. In the past, when I was working as a hypnotherapist and using Reiki modalities; I had issues because I was not able to create boundaries to “protect” my personal soma and my sense of agency was overwhelmed by other people’s energy. I continue to work on being more aware;  “allowing” the energies around me to just be,  becoming more comfortable with fluid personal boundaries and my own center of gravity. This can allow me to exist and move in a state more sensitive to the resonances on a transpersonal level, which I believe is where our best hope for true growth begins both individually and as a universal society.

            The body-movement educator can act as an active social agent who can introduce the concept of an authentic body signature. Teaching with an embodied education ideology, we can move within these concepts and reshape it as needed for each individual audience.  This will be served best by exploring the dynamics of educating bodies and their sociocultural contexts.  For instance: examining the intricacies of social marginality, there has been a project  offering a unique understanding of Palestinian women as potential agents of change through education. It explores Palestinian dance teachers who teach forms of Western theatrical dance to young Arab-Palestinian girls in Israel as ‘choreographers of social change’—as agents of alteration and creation of Palestinian culture and as local interpreters, assimilators, and producers of global culture. The significance of this socialization through education lies in the body, and in its context, a marginalized ethno-national minority in the Jewish state, and an almost exclusively female environment in an Arab society, which traditionally creates restrictions and surveillance of girls’ and women’s bodies. This project  examines the emerging educational arena created by these teachers, in which both women and young girls can fully and openly engage their bodies in creative expression, an activity that raises self-awareness and collective consciousness.

The study was encouraging in showing what is possible in a population marginalized by gender or ethno-nationality conflicts. 

Step – Melt – Morph  

The Shapeshifting dance

How do I move in society

How do I move in the world

How do I move in my skin

Find your center, Be It, and the resulting ripples will have a positive effect on the world-

This is a portion of what is evolving in my sphere, some of it prompted by the readings, some prompted by watching my classmates in isolated rectangles on my screen.


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