The earliest archeological evidence for early dance has been found in two places: India and Egypt. In ancient Egypt, dance was a part of life, played an important role in the lives of all social classes and was performed both publicly and privately as a way to express, through music and movement, a connection to the spiritual vibrational realm—that which can’t be seen but can be felt.
Music is like air—it’s everywhere. To dance is to tap into the eternal presence of music, allowing it to move through your body.
The lives of the ancient Egyptians were saturated with religious feeling and they lived close to nature. Their gods communicated to them through the living world around them, in the wind and the reeds blowing by the river, and in the movements of the birds across the sky and the snake slithering on the surface of the sand.
Dancers danced solo, in pairs or in groups. In pair dancing, it was always two men or two women; women and men didn’t dance together socially as is our custom today.
Dancing by yourself is a joyful experience that loosens inhibitions, develops musicality and increases joy. The three steps that form this basic routine are quite invigorating. Some people may recognize these movements from the respected American tradition of aerobics that was popular during the 1980s.
The three simple dance movements stimulate the cardiovascular system—accelerating the heart rate and increasing blood circulation—and improve physical co-ordination, increase joy and gracefully teach us how to synchronize breath with movement.Start standing with legs open and both arms stretched and lifted above head—your body forming an “X” shape.
Leg lifts to the front (10 breaths) – Lift your right leg, bending the knee and turning it out at the hip so the inside of your leg is facing upward, and touch your inner right heel with your left hand. Keep your right arm lifted high, then repeat with the other foot and arm. Go back and forth 10 times, exhaling each time you touch your hand to your heel. Inhale in between lifts when your foot is released to the floor and both your arms are lifted high.Leg lifts twist (10 breaths) – Bend right knee and lift it high to the front and across the body to the left as you twist; exhale, bending the left elbow and pressing the outside of the left elbow against the outside of the right knee, or as close as you can come. Then repeat, starting with the other leg. Go back and forth 10 times. Inhale in between lifts every time the foot is released to the floor and both arms are lifted high.Leg lifts to the back (10 breaths) – Bend right knee and lift right foot to the back; reach down with left hand and touch right heel; repeat with other foot and arm. Go back and forth 10 times, exhaling every time you touch your heel with your hand. Inhale in between lifts when the foot is released to the floor and both arms are lifted high.
image 1: Pixabay; all other images: Photo duo Guzman—Connie Hansen and Russell Peacock