Open Floor Practice is a danced exploration of everything that moves us: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
By bringing us into movement, we open up, we let go, we express and liberate ourselves and unfold our creativity.
Open Floor offers us resources we need to move with awareness as well on the dance floor as through daily life.
Open Floor is for every-body: we don’t need any experience, age and physical condition are irrelevant: we move as we are, supported and inspired by all kinds of musical genres
Open Floor is more than dance, its’ a dynamic way of BEING in the world
What happens in an Open Floor class?
In our classes and workshops, we can focus on a particular theme or intention, or work with whatever is presenting itself in the moment.
In any 2-hour dance class there will typically be:
- A period of warmup (guided or unguided (Open Attention)
- Brief context-setting (Enter)
- Guidance for establishing an embodied anchor (Enter)
- A few guided movement inquiries into the resource or theme for the day (Explore)
- Free time to explore and integrate the material in your own way (Explore)
- Settling and Closing (Settle)
Open Attention – Enter – Explore – Settle
The four phases of our movement meditation spiral are continuous and never-ending. This cycle helps movers and teachers know where they are and how to use embodied movement to navigate their dance well. Teachers offer a combination of structured exercises, verbal guidance, open periods of dance, and supportive music to encourage students through the various phases of the cycle.
In this phase we allow our attention to travel inside and out without direction, noticing and including anything we are aware of – on all levels of sensate experience. “How now?”
In this phase, we focus our attention in a particular direction and walk through a doorway with curiosity, intention, and willingness to investigate. A key aspect to entering is establishing an embodied anchor – moving towards sensation in a specific part of the body. We can also ‘enter’ through an emotion, thought or image.
Anchors are physical body parts which provide key entry points into any movement exploration. They provide a doorway, a window, a starting point, a thread … that enables us to anchor experience in the physical body through sensate experience. An Open Floor teacher uses anchors to provide focus for a process and a practice, and to explore a wide range of themes. Anchors are coordinates or pathways to embodiment.
As a Mover – An anchor provides an intimate physical focus for movement exploration on all levels. An anchor enables us to feel and be aware of that element in the body, how it moves and what is evoked in all four dimensions – physical, emotional, mind and soul. Anchors give our movement practice both structure and freedom and serve as a tangible bridge from the dance floor to our everyday life experiences and relationships.
This is where we broaden, deepen, expand and play with various movement resources and enjoy time and space to explore what is evoked. In a class or workshop there will generally be a guided phase of exploration, and a phase that is self-directed.
Settling is a time of digestion, integration, and re-organization that comes in many forms and textures. Settling helps re-map the nervous system and allows new embodied pathways to be encoded.
Once settled, we return to open attention –to “How Now?” – as we end our session or move into another cycle.
In time, movers learn to listen for their own inner movement cycles and use that awareness to explore and enjoy deepening their dance experiences in open practice sessions. Off the dance floor, movers start to notice their own personal movement cycles in any given day, mood, conversation, task, or moment of life.
Open Floor is a resource-oriented movement practice
For the movement circle journey, you will be offered one or several movement resources from our curriculum, and supported by a wide range of music to encourage you to explore the material in your own way.
Resourcing ourselves is an ongoing process we can use to build resilience and capacity.
Re-source : returning to Source
Resources: provide support, sustenance, fuel
In Open Floor, we have 10 Movement Resources, which are essential movement skills and important life skills for any conscious dancer.
Moving with a sense of weight, substance, and connection to the earth underneath our feet. Supports presence and resiliency
Finding sensate connection with an internal place of rest and balance.
Brings fluidity and stability
Move confidently, creatively and safely in all directions.
ACTIVATE & SETTLE
Follow and engage a range of impulses, and know how to quiet, calm and soothe.
Brings balance to the nervous system.
EXPAND & CONTRACT
Inhabit a full range of movement between opening, radiating out and pulling in.
Supports capacity for full expression
TOWARDS & AWAY
Moving closer and stepping away. Supports the embodiment of choice in a relationship. Opens curiosity and courage.
Not holding on, in, up, down, back or away. Supports ability to let it go and let it be
Ability to change shape, transform, and merge with something greater than ourselves
Cultivating the sensation of intention and clarity; knowing your starting point, your aim, and staying in your body for the journey.
A moment to feel, breathe, rest and witness. Supports recharging and openness.
Each teacher will craft their own unique, delightful, fun, meaningful, healing movement landscapes to serve the exploration of the basic 4×4 . On the Open Floor, we bring mindful, embodied movement to our lives as human beings.
- The Four Dimensions of Embodiment –Physical, Emotional, Mind and Soul– describe what it means to wholly inhabit our entire selves.
- The Four Relational Hungers –Solitude, Connection, Belonging and Spirit– describe the elemental needs and passions that call us to move in the first place.
There is no real separation between these aspects of ourselves. We cannot move the body without touching our feelings, activating thoughts, expressing through our one-of-a-kind soulfulness, whether we’re moving alone or connecting with another, the group, or with spirit. We differentiate them only to understand their particular essences; together they comprise an inseparable weave of our humanness.
The 4×4 weave is a dynamic, shifting, playing field of human experience, and is the terrain of all our dances. It is where and how we dance on the Open Floor.
Thank you to Open Floor International for kindly allowing me to use above text from their website