Art by Pippa Samaya
“In a darkened room, lit only by candle-light, we move to music created to resonate with the vibrations of each of our 7 major chakras. We dance with our eyes mainly closed, and our attention turned inwards, for unlike most other dance practices, Chakradance is about making a connection with our inner world – the world of our imagination, feelings, intuition and senses.” – Natalie Southgate
When people find out I teach Chakradance, they often sigh wistfully and reminisce about how much they “used to love to dance.” As if the idea of dancing without inhibitions seems to be a thing of their past. What I keep hearing is that you would love to try Chakradance but…
You think you can’t dance
You think you’ll look foolish
You feel insecure
You feel self-conscious about your body
You are worried what will people think of you
You want to lose weight first
You don’t have the energy
You don’t have the time
When one gorgeous person after another lays these concerns on me, I begin to feel really sad. But I relate to it.
For years, I was a party animal, I would dance the night away. When I gave up all that, I felt like I had lost the ‘fun’ button. I didn’t know how to relax into my body, how to move freely. When I danced, I felt like I had wooden legs.
The irony is that the only cure for these inhibitions and insecurities – for me – was to dance in spite of them. To dance harder in the face of them, to thumb my nose and stick my bum out and wiggle my hips at them.
You see, they are a barrier to my wildness, and once I open the door to my wildness, she comes in and whoops those fears right away.
In Chakradance we draw inspiration from the natural movements found in the animal kingdom. Animal dances are deeply entrenched in shamanic dance rituals.
Shamans believe that each animal can teach us the power of their instinctual energy through dance. Dancing the base chakra you may encourage a tiger, a snake, a dragon, or a bear, to join you.
As you intuitively choose an animal and begin to move along to the Chakradance tribal beats, an incredible spontaneity of movement is unleashed.
As I danced the Base chakra journeying dance, a wolf came to me. I thought “how on earth do I dance like a wolf?” Through letting go of my judging, rational mind, I simply moved to the music as I imagined wolves in the wild.
Soon I found myself laughing and moving on all fours, then dancing with wild abandon. Wildness, that was the wolf’s message to me. To tap into that wildness that gets so repressed in our society of conformity and restriction of our instinctual natures.
The creator of Chakradance, Natalie Southgate, came upon the practice intuitively when she was studying the chakra system, Jungian psychology and ancient and shamanic dance practice.
She describes her experience. As she allowed herself to dance freely in the dark of her living room, music filled the darkness and her intuitive movements started to guide her into the inner power ignited within her chakras. She began to notice certain music carried a unique resonance with different chakra centres. Free flowing movements born in spontaneity brought her home into her inner dance of her true self.
Chakradance awakens each chakra, starting with the base chakra and flowing effortlessly from one to the other, up to the crown chakra, with unique musical vibrations.
The combination of music, movement, and guided imagery allows the dancer to journey through the chakras, focusing attention on a particular chakra, allowing the centre to open, and releasing any blockages.
Emotional, spiritual and physical energies are released.
Natalie Southgate describes dancing the seven chakras as like dancing through seven different worlds, each with its own lessons, meaning, and stories.
Chakradance draws on many ancient systems from around the world to find the common elements of those culture’s dances with the chakra system or its equivalent. Dance has long been used in shamanic cultures to connect to our spiritual source, to commune with our gods, to find healing and answers about life.
In Hinduism, many of the great epics are taught through dance, whilst in Sufism, the whirling dervishes surrender their individuality and dance into spiritual “oneness”.
Chakradance combines the elements of this spiritual journeying process through dance and rhythm, with the rich exploration of the chakra system.
In Chakradance, we use the 7 chakras as gateways to journey into different aspects of our consciousness, using specific music and creative visualisations relevant to each of the chakras such as physical elements, colours, or archetypes.
This triggers a chain of associated images, ideas, sensations, feelings, or insights to rise from deep within us to the surface of our consciousness. This process of ‘active imagination’ sets up a line of communication between consciousness and the unconscious.
Chakradance is a beautiful kind of sacred dance practice, which uses ancient and modern wisdom to connect our spirit with the divine, both within ourselves and with the universe.
The intention of Chakradance is to bring all seven chakras into harmony and balance.
We journey in order to see, to understand, to touch our intuition at its essence. And we can bring that clear sight back into our daily reality with us. In our visions, and our dreams, our unconscious speaks to us of a deeper truth than our physical senses perceive. In the dance we are transformed, and reconnected with a deep sense of self.
“Each dance leads us closer to the person we are truly meant to be. Come and explore. Have fun. Find meaning. Let go. Come and look deeper into each chakra, each part of you, and experience more within the dance that is uniquely yours.”