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state of pure love. Duggan verbally guides the class through this symbolic movement meditation. In addition to yoga and NIA,


BODY of Santa Fe offers dance classes. The beauty of teaching dance classes in an environment that is so dedicated to yoga and healing is that the space genuinely supports approaching dance as a spiritual practice. People come to BODY to support their health, wellness and spiritual development. Duggan’s three years of experience teaching university dance technique classes have given her the grounding necessary to free students to immerse themselves in the uplifting healing aspects of dance. There is a great deal of shame and


Dance is Medicine D


by Jaime Duggan and Stefanie Zehnder


ance is commonly misconceived of as reserved for an elite few, tal- ented and trained enough to look


exquisite on stage. Although there is much to respect in the fine art of dance, many people sadly believe they can’t, or shouldn’t, dance. And so they don’t—ex- cept perhaps if they are intoxicated out on the town. The health of our society suffers on multiple levels as a result of dance being marginalized and practiced by a minority, rather than by everyone. This is an invitation to come dance!


Rhythm, particularly polyrhythm, is used in so many cultures as a tool for healing and to access and communi- cate with the spirit realm. It’s easy to underestimate the beneficial effects of rhythmic dance in a modern Western, secular context. Dance is medicine. There is a medicinal potency found in rhythmic dancing. Join Jaime Duggan for an excit- ing new dance class offered at BODY of Santa Fe. Fusion Dance merges the healing elements of ceremony and spiritual practice with social dance. The dance is primarily a mash-up of West African and House in a contemporary Western context. That being said, you might see a bit of Afro-Haitian, Modern dance, Qi Gong, or a B-girl top-rock in the mix. Within the West African


umbrella, Duggan draws primarily from her training in the Guinea ballet lineage, as well as from Ghanain, Senegalese, and Malian dances. Students groove to the soulful soundscapes of House and Afro-House in an environment of love, empowerment and non-judgment. It is Duggan’s resonation with African dance that awakened her to her own unique path. As a white American woman, she understands the impor- tance of acknowledging patterns of cultural appropriation and her own white privilege. Along her journey she has come to recognize that what is truly authentic for her is, in fact, a fusion—deeply informed by multiple African lineages and influenced by European-American experience, West- ern Contemporary dance and Somatics, New Age-ism, as well as by traditional Eastern arts and world-views. In addition to rhythmic embodi- ment, Fusion students utilize the energy of gestures with intention. Each class opens with a centering exercise re- peated facing each of the four cardinal directions. The movements enable students to align with higher Self, clear their paths, cleanse away that which no longer serves them, root down, grow, expand, open to their greatest poten- tials, and re-focus with clarity from a


natural awakenings


guilt wrapped up in what we perceive as “sexual.” In Fusion Dance, Duggan consciously breaks out of an old para- digm designed to cut people off from their own innate embodied wisdom. Students do a lot of movement that is sexy and sensual in order to reclaim their creative wisdom, which is integral to their divinity.


In addition to providing a vehicle


for the restoration of free-flowing life- force energy, the Fusion Dance Duggan teaches is highly intricate and techni- cal. An experienced dancer will find plenty to be challenged by, though she caters to all levels. Everyone is encour- aged to find their own groove and voice within each movement and discour- aged from getting hung up in a right/ wrong mentality. Oftentimes, people try to intellectualize dance in the learning process. Duggan tells her students to imagine they are giant sponges be- cause, after all, our intelligence isn’t relegated only to our brains or central nervous system. Every cell of our body is replete with intelligence and the abil- ity to receive new information. When we don’t acknowledge or use these intelligences they tend to shut down. The dance experience Duggan facilitates is designed to help partici- pants re-awaken. Duggan is constantly humbled by the dance’s ability to re- connect participants to their Selves, one another, and to our Source.


Jaime Duggan teaches Fusion Dance at BODY of Santa Fe Tuesdays and Thurs- days, 1:15-2:15 p.m. and Sundays, 2- 3:30 p.m. Drop-in $12; 10 class pass $90. April 2013


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