I became aware of how alienated I was from myself, others and the world. It is like I am a being stuck inside an intricate body that I have just discovered has a vast intelligence and awareness. Living at Earthdance and experimenting with body awareness practices (contact improvisation, meditation, contemplative dance practice, ecstatic dance, journey dance and somatics) made me realize the extent to which I knew little about my body. I have rediscovered an entire new language. It has opened my eyes to the disembodied reality of my education experience at school and in dance class.
In the day to day education curriculum, with the exception of recess and gym class, the body is eliminated and suppressed. Students are coerced to be passive and remain relatively motionless. This creates an environment where the body is irrelevant and even dangerous, leading to a loss in the ability to move the body, especially in an expressive way.
This focus on rational mind and reason omits a valuable potential for learning. The emphasis on the written word rather than all other possible language (verbal, visual, aural, auditory, physical and bodily) abolishes an incredible source of knowledge.
An embodied education is one where both the inner and outer movement is brought to attention. It means getting in touch with all the intelligence the human body posses: thoughts, feelings, ingrained experience and raw emotions, helping us understand our bodies and ourselves as whole human beings.
It is important to respect the body as valuable source of knowledge and acceptable way of learning.
Reference: Movement and Dance in Young Children’s Lives: Crossing the Divide by Adrienne N. Sanson