So about a year ago I started doing this thing called the Dance of Shiva (Shiva Nata). I learned about it from Danielle at Somaphile. And then learned much more about it from Havi Brooks. My friends considered it to be one more weird Laura thing. There are many of those. Anyway, I started it and haven't stopped. I did it just about every day while in Spain last spring. Heather would let me use her bedroom before going to class so that I wouldn't disturb Jackie while she was still sleeping. (I'm certain it helped me in Manolillo's class.) Once Diana W. arrived, she even did it with me a few times. And I still do it regularly.
Because I benefit. It helps me to realize things. It offers me all kinds of ideas. It heightens my awareness. And because I like it. It is fun! And challenging. Much like I'm drawn to the challenges of flamenco, I am drawn to the challenges of this dance.
Perhaps you're wondering what it is. The Dance of Shiva is a practice that uses physical movement patterns to train the brain.
Now perhaps you're wondering what in the world this has to do with flamenco. Well, quite a bit in my view. I'll just mention a few of ways for now:
Way #1 - I use it as a kind of creativity potion. Creativity potions are nice to have around..
Way # 2 - The Dance of Shiva is all about process. It reminds me to be present and to enjoy el proceso. Kind of like being in a great class does but in a very different way. Sometimes, especially now doing this flamenco thing "professionally," - that is completely scary to write, but I'm still writing it - I get too focused on the final product. Now I am supposed to be good. Now there are expectations. Now... Ay! And then I forget, forget that I just like DOING it. Me gusta hacerlo. Ya está. Sometimes I get so focused on an end result I don't think I can achieve that it completely overwhelms me to where I can't dance at all. Not good. But most of the things about flamenco I like have to do with process too, and Shiva Nata reminds me of this because there is no end result.
Way #3 - Mixing it with flamenco can be quite fun. For instance, sometimes I'll warm up my castanets while doing Dance of Shiva. I've even noticed some of the arm movements sneaking into my baile without my meaning for it to happen, especially during these shows with Toshi where I have to improvise so much...
So, I would like to incorporate it into some classes soon. Well, actually, I already have a few times. Like just after I finished the Shiva Nata Teacher Training in September. I asked the sevillanas ladies to be my guinea pigs with it. We used it to warm up our brains and bodies which resulted in a lot of laughter. Then we made much progress on our sevillanas. I know it will be the perfect compliment to the upcoming Create Your Own Choreography workshop.
If you're curious or have anything at all to say, feel free to leave a comment here.