Tuesday, September 3, 2013

EmotiviDance - Monica Lanzadera / Madrid

Emotividance: Moon Dance in you

Mónica Lanzadera, the core of "The Moon Inside You" documentary, began to experience mood changes with the start of her first menstruation, and through the zears a lot more which eventually led her to discover of dance.

Monica suffered from extreme premenstrual dysphoric disorder PMDD, an acute form of PMS that has strong physiological and emotional effects with severity that can offset hormone levels as much as 25%, and which according to neuroscientist Louan Brizendine affects up to 10% of the world's female population. 

In Monica's case, the history of symptoms were amplified due to a set of marginal domestic circumstances, and later when living on her own, having to face a protracted lawsuit related to labor harassment, all of which eventually led to a general state of self-annihilation.  Feelings of emptiness that waxed and waned in step with the menstrual cycle, and for which it was difficult to get proper medical attention, since the associated hormonal markers typically went undetected in analysis.  And whereas these diagnostics explained things in terms of external or psychological factors, the hormonal imbalance continued to take its toll, and as she put it, "made herself her worst enemy"; a state of so called bipolar depression that she was simply expected to learn to live with.

But this was not easy, and at one point Monica attempted suicide, and was ordered protection as ward of the state; a situation which was further complicated by her resistance to the prescribed regime, ironically, since she was familiar with the methods and strategies involved, having worked many years as a functionary in a related social service.

Monica was then living in isolation under her mother's care. The doctors recommended to her mother to get her involved in some kind of activity, however unexciting.  And so, her mother brought her music and signed Monica up for dance classes, which at first Monica refused to attend. 

In those long moments of solitude Monica was left with the music playing.  Slowly, her body began a process of its own, moving in a new direction.  With the sounds and rhythms of music, the emotional pressure began to release.  The change came through movements that were a gift to the body not tied to any particular known form of dance.  Nevertheless, there were moments when these would remind her of African dancers especially when the pelvis took control, or her hips traced exotic curves suggestive of sensual Oriental dancers.  And when bouts of mental anguish seemed to peak, she would twirl not unlike a Dervish monk using the body like a centrifuge to rid itself of the mental activities that had so tortured it.

Over time, Monica discovered a way to put an end to this situation, which did not come without a sense of rebirth.  A rebirth that came from dance; a rebirth through dance that delivered and saved her from those periods of desperation, anxiety, and depression.   She eventually did begin to attend the classes that her mother signed her up for, and from then on her life changed.

Instead of being her worst enemy, her body turned out to be her best friend and doctor, which when listened to, directed her on a path of self-discovery.  Yet she began discovering things that had already been discovered by others, with explanations for these and other curative processes found in traditional philosophies, ancestral practices, and articles on neuroscience.

Among these, Monica came into contact with Diana Favianova, director of the documentary, "The Moon Inside You", who saw in Monica a person able to direct a remedial dance group for purposes of a controlled experiment.  The group consisted of seven women with different levels of symptomatic PMS, ranging from interminable bleeding to constant and acute migraine,  endometriosis, etc., who agreed to stop taking their prescribed chemical medications (which at any rate were not that effective), and try to see to what degree their bodies might respond favorably to therapies of movement.  In this way, they submitted themselves to an experiment, wherein their own bodies became a laboratory.

Besides the positive results of the experiment, it should be noted that within the group, there was a taichi and tao yin instructor, psychologists, massagists and other physical therapists, whose experience and suggestions Monica found most helpful in organizing activities and exercises.  Independent of this situation however, Monica unknowingly relied on traditional dance moves and played curative audio from taichi without having previously researched these areas, and similarly incorporated "Gestalt zero point" exercises, only to have these and other coincidences pointed out by the volunteers. 

It has been four years since Monica began this odyssey of self-exploration and discovery sculpted within the pulses of bodily expression.  These classes in  Oriental and Dervish dance, research in Chinese medicine and Taoism, as well as  participation in a variety of dance seminars and theatrical art projects, have made all the difference in her life, making it less than likely that any part of this story is purely coincident.  It is as if the body retains ancestral memories that point the way forward, only needing the space to allow it to be listened to.

The lessons derived from these dances center on developing, exercises, devices, and techniques which can be relied upon and used whenever needed during the feminine cycle, and at the same time provide helpful responses to symptoms that are particular to women, resulting in concrete  benefits such as, increased vitality, less bloating, inflamation and pain, which in turn leads to a state of improved mental focus and relaxation.

The methodology is primarily based on practicing and encouraging self-observation, as well as correcting body posture.  This leads to acquiring information that results in emotional messages which take forms that are later communicated in our relationships with others and especially ourselves.  One then is able to design exercises particular to the individual's needs, stimulating further self-discovery and new tools and methods.

Physical techniques include Brain Gym, Belly Dancing, Africana, Flamenco, Sufi dances, Chi Kung, Body Language Therapy, etc.., applied in the form of exercises, group dynamics, motion routines, and games.

Visualization and ritual is incorporated as a means to channel the force of this transformation, with the help of tangible forms employing imagination and movement in order to reinforce our goals and intentions.   We also make use of the power of the essential elements, Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, embedded within us, and which on the other hand, form the basis the diagnosis and treatments used in Chinese medicine.

Steps in the process follow a logical order that is consistent with preparing the body with different rhythms, taking us to explore and understand stages of the pre-menstrual cycle, followed by the menstrual and post-menstrual phases, and moving on lastly to pre and post-ovulation.

Thus to begin, we focus on increasing body awareness and enhancing both muscle and mind tone.  This is important, because without first toning the mind, it is impossible to visualize intentions, and their subsequent effects on reaching the objective[1] of each routine.

We must also pay attention to the question of what happens if we distribute energy associated with the ovaries and uterus, without having first transformed other information that may exist such as that which could be associated with possible past abuses, harassment, lack of consideration, abandonment, etc.  It is believed that female ancestral lineage has its effect on the existential experience of some women, and that these precise memories exist and are recorded at a deep level.  For this purpose, a table of combined exercises is applied in order to stimulate adequate hormonal discharges to achieve the needed emotional and physical harmonization.

In the second part, we focus on the ovulation stage, and to this end, incorporate exercises involving ovarian and vaginal compression as well as ovarian breathing and aspiration of the libido. These are exercises that could generate some discomfort for those who have not taken the preparatory steps previously mentioned, in the same way as for a woman who has energy blockage in the channels that are involved in these practices.

Body Calligraphy training is practiced in parallel, where movements are made both in place and in space, tracing figures of circles and lines made with the arms, torso and hips, as well as the legs and head. 

[1] Joe Dispenza. “Desarrolla tu cerebro” 2007 ed. La Esfera (pag 26-27)

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