Biodanza is a guided dance/movement system that works with the 'Genetic Potential' and 'Vital Impetus'. We are all born with a genetic potential which with circumstances, events, relationships adapts to fit what is needed to be 'accepted' and 'loved'. Sometimes this means we put parts of ourselves away and this diminishes our happiness, health and joy of living.
Biodanza seeks to recover these hidden aspects by using dance and movement to express, liberate, release and connect to yourself, to others and to the music.
The 'Vital Impetus' refers to the inner motivation to live fully. Every creature and life form innately seeks to exist and this impetus is a joyful one. See how the birds sing every morning, the plants flower and bloom, deep within there is an innate drive to live and create (offspring both physical and creative). This vital impetus, linked with vitality, is linked to instincts and if these have been suppressed or blocked, this life force can be reduced or blocked.
Some people seem to have so much 'get up and go', 'enthusiasm for life' and resilience this vitality is a reflection of the vital impetus working well. However, lethargy, apathy, depression and other states are a reflection that this 'Vital Impetus' has been blocked or suppressed. Biodanza through movement can start to redress this. Over weeks of regular classes, dancing to uplifting music, celebrating each person's uniqueness and liberation this energy wellspring can be restored.
Biodanza was created by Rolando Toro Araneda, (1924-2010), a visionary, psychologist, poet and revolutionary who was nominated for the Nobel peace prize for his work.
"Paradise is a right that each of us have, right now, in this life, and right here on our Earth. Just remove the veils that hide it and start to enjoy it. The soul is our body and therefore our body is a temple and is sacred. Paradise is not a place you may find somewhere, it is a state that can be evoked, but one needs to recognise it. It isn't an utopia, we can access it by regaining the will to live, enthusiasm, and joy."
- Rolando Toro Araneda
About Julia Hope Brightwell, aka Jewell
Julia's dancing background:
Julia Hope Brightwell has always loved dancing, from the days
as a teenager at discos through to the present day as a Didactic
teacher. Her background spans exploration through Ceroc
(Modern Jive), expressive dance, 5 Rhythms, Movement
Medicine and then Biodanza.
"I love the way I can bring all of me to the dance", explains Julia.
"I adore music and have especially loved the Biodanza music,
(that is approved by a panel at the International Biocentric
Foundation (IBF)). The music is varied and matches the
dances and exercises perfectly to maximize the experience."
"For me Biodanza has transformed my life, it has freed me
from self-limiting conditioning and made me more confident
to just be myself - vulnerable, sensitive, expressive and with
a rediscovered humour and lighness of being".
Julia's experience of Biodanza:
Julia (or Jewell as she is known), first found Biodanza in 2007 as part of a festival and was instantly taken by all that it offered. In 2008 to 2011, Julia embarked on the three year professional training to become a Biodanza Teacher at the Dorset School of Biodanza with Mike Skilbeck (aka Niraj).
Julia explains: "I have never experienced such a transformative method of self actualisation" - the realization or fulfilment of one's talents and potentialities, (a term coined by Abraham Maslow, a Humanistic Psychologist).
"Biodanza works with all human experience - vitality, creativity, sexuality, affectivity and transcendence. With dances that mix individual expression, pair work, small group and whole group dances - this mix of dance experience echoes all of our life. Through these dances we can become not only self-aware, but increase our physical intelligence......listening to our bodies impulses. It was only after doing Biodanza for a year I noticed that I didn't drink enough water, often sat for longer than my body liked and ate foods that made me lethargic".
Becoming a Biodanza Teacher:
After the three year training, Julia had to be supervised at teaching
and prepare for her 'monograph presentation'. Both of these were
deep learning curves. Teaching the Biodanza, Julia had to present
herself publicly - this had been hard for her (in Julia's twenties
she had dropped out of her teaching degree as she found the idea
of school assemblies mortifying!)
"What I found was that Biodanza had given me such a safe base in
my own body, instincts and emotions that I was able to manage a
type of exposure that previously I would never have coped with,
because I am extremely sensitive and affected deeply by my
environment", Julia states.
Meanwhile, Julia prepared her presentation, recovered her desire
to express herself artistically & creatively. This creativity had been
put aside in her life - as frivolous and indulgent. Julia also now explores many forms of self-expression from songs, writing, sculpture to painting. Though selling her work at times, Julia says it is the journey of self-expression itself that she loves, the sovereignty.
Starting weekly classes in her home town of Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor, then teaching at Dartington - Julia's experience increased and alongside continual professional development, her understanding of the complex form of the 'vivencia' grew. When she moved to East Devon in 2012, she had to start building interest again from scratch and currently runs weekly classes in Colyton, East Devon; bi-monthly classes at Burton Bradstock, Dorset; whilst still teaching her Moretonhamsptead and Dartington attendees at Chudleigh Knighton Day workshops. Julia is thrilled to now teach at the Dorset School teacher training weekends with Niraj and feels extremely blessed to be now, as many close friends have observed, on her 'dharmic path".
" For me my classes and day workshops, uplift my spirit, open my heart and give me hope in humanity, as I witness the attendees become a caring & supportive fluid community - regular and new members mix seamlessly, each time creating a once in a lifetime opportunity to express, celebrate and revel in all that it is to be human.
We get to see the essence of each other, beyond conditioning and role, it really is a privilege and honour to witness this blossoming and unfolding of each individual and the beautiful way the tribe emerges. 'Unconditional Regard', a term I came across in Humanistic Psychology during my degree, is definitely present in Biodanza. The combination of acceptance, compassion, playfulness, celebration, sensual stimulation and tenderness is sublime. For me it quite often feels like Heaven on Earth", elaborates Julia.
Becoming a Didactic Teacher (Training teachers):
From 2015-16 Julia attended training in Italy, Spain and Belgium to teach people to become Biodanza teachers. The truly international experience, with English speaking people being in the minority, Julia learned from some of the most experienced Biodanza Didactic teachers of the world. Rolando Toro Araneda's family members were amongst the trainers and music expert Sergio Cruz brought his wealth of knowledge to the attendees.
Julia first joined Mike Skilbeck, Director of the Dorset school on the methodology weekends for the 3rd cycle at the Dorset School in 2016 and taught her first solo weekend in September 2016. She is now delighted to co-run the 4th Cycle, teach regularly and absolutely loves this opportunity to share her passion for Biodanza, self-awareness, expression and helping others unlock their genetic potential, over time.
" Teaching trainee teachers is one of my favourite ways to spend my time, " Julia enthusiastically says, "Biodanza is a system deeply embedded in extensive, marvelous theory - it is deeply enriching to share this body of knowledge with those committed to understanding what lays beneath the dance form".