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  • Writer's picturejulia7631

Dancing With Soul and Spirit

Updated: Mar 6

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Recently back from the 4th, and final ‘Immersion’ on the Open Floor International movement training. The theme, entitled Common Good, was the Embodied Dimension of the Soul and the Relational Hunger for Spirit. Add to that, the Open Floor literature talks about including ‘Self States’ in this topic, so a lot to unpack.


Interestingly, Open Floor are reluctant to define these terms precisely. Neither does it adhere to a single truth, preferring to take an approach of enquiry. They do acknowledge that the movement of soul, spirit and self-states are present when we dance whether we pay attention to them or not.


Common Good


Why is this part of the Open Floor Curriculum called Common Good? Because when we embody soul and spirit, we have a wider perspective and subsequently an increased capacity to offer goodness to our communities.


Open Floor recognises that we have 2 aspects of being: one is the familiar sense of self that is finite and located in time and space; the other is the experience of being open, infinite and connected with the great mystery of being. Part of the embodied exploration of soul and spirt is the investigation of our self-states or different modes of being that make up that identity.


A number of traditions map the relationship between our ego/identity, our psychology, and soul/spirit. These include both spiritual and psychological traditions.


Dancing with Spirit


When we dance together we are held and informed by a perspective that is larger than our individual sense of self. There is a great phrase: we ‘are danced’, which means we dissolve, surrender and trust the mystery; we are dwelling in the unknown. This happens in many settings: raves, parties, celebrations, rituals. In Open Floor, we embrace this experience, offering ourselves openly and freely to life, exploring feelings of interconnection with others and all that is.


Dancing with Soul


Once we acknowledge the dimension of spirit: the unbounded presence of consciousness and the great mystery from which all life emerges, the way that life moves through us individually, expressing itself specifically and uniquely in each moment, is the substance of embodied soul. This can feel visible and tangible on the dance floor.


Doorways into Spirit and Soul


Open Floor recognises a number of ways to offer embodied investigations into the realms of spirit and soul. These include using art, being in nature, ritual & ceremony, and the recognition of transcendent emotions such as awe, compassion and gratitude.


An example of this in the Common Good training was taking our movement enquiry outside into nature; we followed an exercise that involved connecting to the natural world and moving with it. Art is also used regularly in Open Floor as a place to express and develop themes that come up on the dance floor.


The Power of Awe


Awe is considered a transcendent emotion that connects us to the wider field of spirit, and has been extensively researched by Dr Dacher Keltner with some interesting results:

‘Our bodies respond differently when we are experiencing awe than when we are feeling joy, contentment or fear. We make a different sound, show a different facial expression. Dr. Keltner found that awe activates the vagal nerves, clusters of neurons in the spinal cord that regulate various bodily functions, and slows our heart rate, relieves digestion‌ and deepens breathing.

It also has psychological benefits. Many of us have a critical voice in our head, telling us we’re not smart, beautiful or rich enough. Awe seems to quiet this negative self-talk, Dr. Keltner said, by deactivating the default mode network, the part of the cortex involved in how we perceive ourselves.’


Spiritual Bypass


With all this talk of spirituality and soul, I just wanted to mention spiritual bypassing, whereby ideas and talk about spirituality are employed to avoid facing emotional and psychological wounds. Clearly this is not the intention of Open Floor, and in my opinion, an embodied enquiry is a great place to investigate and develop spirituality as it provides grounding and offers an immediate feedback effect.




One of the aspirations of Open Floor is that over time, the experience on the dance floor of touching more expanded states of consciousness alongside the Open Floor ‘map of embodied enquiry’ allows for our baseline sense of ‘me’ to expand and deepen.


This provides a greater sense of wholeness, and an increased ability to be in our bodies with whatever experience is arising. As we practice, an imaginal world opens up that allows us to be agile and fluid in our embodiment, rather than being fixed and over-identified with one self-state. We are more creative.


Flomotion and Conscious Dance


Over my years of training with Open Floor, I have continued to take back skills and insights to Flomotion Dance. The themes being discussed in this blog, of dissolving ego boundaries and the expression of the soul, are abundantly displayed in a Flomotion session.


Sometimes when people ask, what is Flomotion? I answer, somewhere between a party, a rave, a yoga session and meditation.


Come and join us on the dancefloor. Let your spirit fly, let your soul feel nourished.


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Mar 05

>>> Sometimes when people ask, what is Flomotion? I answer, somewhere between a party, a rave, a yoga session and meditation.

It doesn't get much better than that. A unique experience and it's happening every two weeks!

Mar 06
Replying to

Thank you David. Your presence at Flomotion is always a source of inspiration.

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