I’ve been teaching Biodanza in Scotland, and many other countries, since 2002. I am frequently asked the question, “What is Biodanza?”
And after all these years, I still don’t have one simple answer.
If there were a simple answer it would be that it is not possible to easily define Biodanza and say what it is because it is something unique and different and never before experienced (until you have experienced it!).
Yes, it is dance. But it’s not like any other dance that has a name and style. It does not have set steps, like other forms of dance although there are some specific dances that follow a sequence or rhythm. The dance is based on ‘human movement’ and the joy and poetry of life that brings us an experience of wellbeing, harmony, inspiration and motivation.
Yes, it is therapeutic but it is not a therapy. At least it is not a therapy as defined by Rolando Toro Araneda, its founder and creator. That’s because in some sense therapies are thought of as healing some form of illness. In Biodanza you don’t have to be ill to come and be part of the dance. There is a fundamental difference in the approach that the Biodanza technique takes from most, but not forms of therapeutic practise: we focus on the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our lives and our community rather on the ‘illness’ that we may experience. This way, we increase the healthy part that is alive and encourage this essence and sense of ourselves to be our focus and experience.
Yes, it is about community. But it is not simply ‘community dance’. That’s because what we do does have a therapeutic effect, on one level in such a simple way: by being together and over-coming the experiences of individualism, isolation, separation and loneliness, many people’s health and wellbeing increases significantly. We all need companionship, friendship and love to be well and healthy and in the Biodanza dance and community we begin this journey of transformation in our life so that we live a life full of love, friendship and happiness.
Yes, it is educational but it is not but it also has an educational basis that is informed by scientific and experiential research across many different disciplines (dance, music, physics, biology, psychology, anthropology, art, sociology, physiology and neurochemistry as well as poetry, health sciences and studies into consciousness).
Some people say that Biodanza is about self-development and maybe this helps to give some definition – ‘self-development using dance, movements and music’. BUT, it is not purely self development as it is practised in a group and fundamentally recognises that whilst we have a sense of our individual self, we are more realistically (and wholly) part of a wider community, a human community in which we have our sense and experience of ‘self’.