“The body does not lie”, is a saying attributed to Modern Dance pioneer Martha Graham.  At some level this is true.  Our physical body reacts to the stimuli it receives from the environment at a visceral level.  However there is a moment when these sensations are mediated by the mind and interpretation is assigned to them.  This process is determined by our own personality, beliefs and experiences.  And so what we express through posture and gesture may not always be related to our authentic feelings.  Studies have shown that it is possible to perceive the difference between a genuine smile and a fake.  Physiologically we used different muscles for these two which our brains are really good at identifying.

In my experience as a Biodanza facilitator I have come to learn that it is possible to perceive the dances that connect to genuine feelings and those where dancers are just going through the motions.  It is something in the way people move.  Not the movement itself but the quality of the movement.  It can be likened to the concept of ‘marking’ which professional dancers use to rehearse choreography without going full out into performance mode with each repetition.  Another way that I could describe it is that it looks like the person is just ‘absent’.  They eyes are good place to start looking.

When this happens I believe there is a dissociation from feeling.  For conscious dance to truly be conscious and have an impact on the dancer, it requires the technique and strength to elicit emotion and imagination simultaneously.  There are three components to such a dance which would contribute to this.  These are the movement, the music and the intention.  These three aspect correspond to a body including the mind and emotion. 

In movement we engage the body with our sense of kinesthesia creating an experience of ourselves in the world.  Music has the capacity to stimulate feeling and emotion from both internal and external sources.  Intention connects us to imagination giving the dance its meaning.  Through these three aspects dance integrates mind body and soul connecting us to a powerful authentic experience.  To do this we need to be present to all three stimuli.  We cannot mechanically be in our body moving while our mind is elsewhere.  By being present we can align ourselves so that what we feel, think and do is integrated.  This is a place of both presence and power.  At this moment the body truly reflects authentically – and your smile cannot be fake!

~Christos Daskalakos