Altered states and inner experience  

The concept of Vivencia in Biodanza

By Christos Daskalakos

 “A person’s energy can tell you more about them than their own words.”

When someone doing Biodanza says they are ‘going into Vivencia’ they usually are referring to the suspension of a cognitive-controlled state as they enter into a state of being that sometimes feels all-consuming and at the same time very expansive.  This is what we call Vivencia which is an experience lived with great intensity by an individual in the here-now.  Intense feelings are brought about through the stimulation and integration of all our senses, emotions within a kinaesthetic experience.  Vivencia is the cornerstone of Biodanza methodology which looks at very precise methods to induce integrative Vivencias which are capable of expressing our identity, modifying our lifestyle and bringing biological order.

Rolando Toro Araneda, creator of Biodanza in formulating his theory looked at many sources one of which is German psychologist Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911).  Dilthey’s idea of ‘Erlibnis’ is closely related to Rolando’s concept of Vivencia which is the state of being Biodanza tries to induce through its dances.  Erlibnis literally means “what has been lived through, and describes an inner or lived experience which Dilthey proposed as a way of understanding human behaviour.

 The creation of a Biodanza class uses music, enunciation and movement in specific ways in order to induce Vivencias which evoke intense perceptions of being oneself.  They induce intense feelings of being alive as they include both instincts and emotions.  Like Dilthey’s Erlibnis, Vivencias do not require an understanding at a cognitive level – there is no need to elaborate, rationalise or interpret a Vivencia.  The altered state induced by Vivencia is a valid way to acquire knowledge.  This experience which borders on the mystical is what facilitates a connection both with an inner wisdom and with an outer expansiveness – connection to our cosmic origin.  The dance becomes the vehicle to altered states of consciousness facilitating a natural evolution towards greater integration.