NuDanza is a collective name for many dance techniques that create compeling liberating experiences. At this moment NuDanza can be considered a spiritual practice, but its history is very interesting.
NuDanza (then called the NeoDance) was created fifteen years ago as a result of my research of the forgotten Neolithic civilization of Old Europe. This civilization existed in a large area from today’s Czech Republic to the north, across the Balkans, Greece, and to the south and east across the territory of today’s Turkey. Its features were unusual to the extent that they would be almost incomprehensible to the people of today. For example, cities were quite large (often with tens of thousands of inhabitants) and did not have any fortifications or military facilities. No traces of military activities were found, and no substantial differences in social status either. Everything points to gender equality (as opposed to the later emerging patriarchal civilizations with a visible strong male dominance). This indicates the presence of Goddess worship, the female form of supreme intelligence, as opposed to God being male, which became commonplace later, and still is.
Interest in that particular part of humankind’s history necessarily raises the question of how it is possible that for such a long time (about seven thousand years, from 10,000 to 3,000 BC) there were no wars or social upheavals, and how people lived in equality without gender or wealth-based discrimination? Aren’t war and exploitation of others a kind of humankind’s and human society’s common feature, especially in the earliest societies? It seems it is not so. The history of the Neolithic culture of Old Europe teaches us that things may have been different in the past, and that gives us hope that things may, perhaps, change in the future.
What people do and how they act toward themselves and each other is based on their experience; on the inner experience of the world. Obviously, at the time of Old Europe, the experience of people about the world and themselves in it was different than today. Apart from the indisputable historical facts, it is not possible to know what the quality of life of people in Old Europe was and whether it was utopia-like. However, all of us dream of a better society, of more fair relations and more freedom in life.
If there is any chance of realizing a dream of a better world, it lies in changing the experience; in changing the experience of reality inside ourselves as well as outside.
One of the ways to initiate this change is the liberating experience of dance.
We will leave the possible social consequences of that inner experience change to the passage of time and to the increasing number of people who have this experience. Now we are interested in what kind of experience NuDanza creates and why would anyone today decide to start exploring and practicing it?
First and foremost, NuDanza is a dance. You could call it the “spiritual dance,” but it is crucial that, like every kind of dance, it creates a sense of pleasure. When the body moves in the rhythm of the music, one feels the happiness which, under certain conditions turns into ecstasy.
You might wonder – why not dance the usual way? What’s so special about NuDanza? Well, first, the environment. As you know, dancing today, especially with young people, is almost always related to alcohol, and often to drugs. The attention of such “dancers” is almost always turned outward. Emphasis is on surface values such as appearance, performance or some other value imposed by the subcultural environment of the dance. It is almost impossible to devote oneself to dance without being exposed to excessive noise, smoke-filled dance floors, intrusive people, drug abuse, and other negative phenomena. When was the last time you had a good dance without these seemingly necessary side effects?
NuDanza is a dance in the full sense of the word. It can move you, liberate you, fulfill you… and all without unwanted add-ons, in an environment that you can call spiritual, but is primarily human and free.
Another distinctive feature of NuDanza is that it is intended to create powerful and liberating experiences. That’s its goal. That is why it exists. With other kinds of dance, these experiences appear as side effects, which means the attention of the dancers is not on them. In NuDanza, they are in the very center of the dancer’s awareness, which means that they appear sooner and more frequently, they are stronger and deeper, and they develop and increase over time.
Freedom, being the essential feature of a conscious being, is what we all desire. We feel that life is worth living only if we are free. The so-called “spiritual work” is a quest for freedom.
However, how free we actually are? How much of our life do we live outside the patterns that bind us, and how much like prisoners of our desires and needs, prisoners of our karma? To that question, everyone has to find the answer on their own, but the aspiration to freedom – as big and as complete as possible, is familiar to us all.
In my book, “The Elimination of Karma Factor” I have pointed out the nine fundamental karmic factors that captivate us, but also the nine necessary liberating experiences that break the chains we are trapped with. All of the spiritual, personal growth and awareness-raising work can be reduced to these nine liberating experiences. The more such experiences you have, the less you are trapped.
There are various ways to awaken those liberating experiences in yourself. You might be working on some of them in the future, and you must have already experienced some others. But now it is important to point out that NuDanza is a method of direct exposure not to one but instead to four of them!
The first liberating experience is spontaneity, which alleviates or eliminates the constant need for identification. It begins with the spontaneous movements of the body, but spontaneity is transmitted to other aspects of life.
Then, there is playfulness, then the flow experience and ultimately the direct experience of spiritual empathy. In addition to these four liberating experiences that NuDanza awakens directly, it indirectly includes two more: the experience of mystery and the experience of synchronicity.
All in all, by exploring NuDanza, with one move we ease the multiple influences of karmic patterns in our lives and our freedom increases.
The NuDanza Structure
The NuDanza dance method begins by removing patterns at the level of our body or movement. The body is the most common and most potent focal point of identification. The phrase “this is me”, for most people, primarily refers to the body. We are powerfully centered first around our body, and then around the “this is me” feeling. Though we can theoretically understand that this is not so, we have difficulties reconciling that knowledge to our experience. The most important benefit of NuDanza practice is the end of such a firm and unquestioning identification with the material body, which in itself represents a kind of profound decentralization.
Any further exploration of NuDanza is based on the basic dance of “elements” in the so-called “dance of nature.” For this reason, the first workshop (NuDanza Starter) is mandatory and is the foundation of further practice. We learn how to release the body to “natural elements,” earth, water, fire, air, and chaos. In addition to specific but smooth movements, each element belongs to a particular type of breathing. At a deep physical level, the dance of elements breaks the illusion of being separate from nature and each other.
Once a dancer learns how to combine the gentle guidelines of an element with unquestioning spontaneity and to let go to the flow, he/she is ready for further exploration of NuDanza. It can be further pursued through group follow-up dancing or by dancing alone, but the most potent practice is done within the so-called NuDanza Deepness Program (NDP).
NDP is organized as an occasional two-day, three-day or multi-day retreat when we explore the secrets of dance. Each NDP is a separate experience, a one-time unique program that allows dancers to continuously develop while at the same there is no hierarchical structure of gaining experience. Participating in an NDP is not a requirement for attending another, nor is the order of experience essential. Each NDP is a unique opportunity, a small piece of art, a giant step into an area that would otherwise remain untouched. The content and structure of the NDP are dependent on the teacher, but above all on the experience of participants.
The NuDanza Deepness Program is based on the knowledge and techniques covered in the former NeoDance Workshops 2 and 3 (The Dance of Consciousness and Sadashiva Dance) but is not limited to them. Many of the elements and techniques that were barely touched on those workshops will be deeply explored during the NDP.
For example, the areas of NuDanza experience in Deepness Programs will include ritual movements, ritual dances, and generally dances that encourage the emergence of a collective, shared awareness of some experience. The body, as well as the individual self, is no longer seen as the focal point of reality, but as a fragment in which the whole is reflected. In this way, the limitations of individuality become smaller and lighter. The elements of nature have been awakened, and through the rituals, the body, spirit, mind and feelings have become more adaptable and have taken on the role of an instrument, rather than the solid base around which our identity is built.
In some NDPs the focus will be on the problem of subtle male and female energies that exist in all of us. We could explore the area of love and sexuality by breaking the final and most potent chains of centralization, leaving a dancer in the field of complete freedom of body and spirit where one consciousness is perceived through many bodies without limitations.
On this journey – a journey of fun, pleasure, ecstasy, and love –new creative and dance accomplishments are possible; new deepness programs that we cannot yet imagine and which will create themselves as a result of further research into NuDanza.
Welcome to the world of NuDanza! You will undoubtedly enjoy a dance practice whose benefits are so far-reaching. You will not even notice when it starts happening, but you will surely know that something has changed, that you are different, freer, and that the world around you – just like the one in you – is no longer the same.