The shadow is the part of us that is unknown, unconscious, the part we fear, avoid or simply don't know about. For some people the word "Shadow" goes along with a natural movement of pulling back, an avoidance or simply a dismissive gesture, "that's not for me...". There are many symbols for the shadow, the cellar, pandoras box, the dark etc. In this part of ourselves what we call the shadow, lies an enormous resource for transformation, potential for expression and life energy. "What Carl Jung called the Shadow is those lesser known and often frightening qualities, feelings and viewpoints, which we carry within, which may be denied, split off or frozen. They require tremendous energy to repress, energy which can have a profoundly transformative effect, when experienced, differentiated, and integrated."(1) In the work we do with Holistic Dance, we cannot avoid the shadow, actually we don't want to avoid it. The moment we enter an internal world of feelings, movements and expression, we listen, we wait, we move from within to exactly do that: to connect a part of ourselves to the unknown, aka the shadow. Once we do, the personal and collective material that is stored within this mysterious place, can be seen and experienced, it is transformed to become light(er) and is no longer in the shadow. I am still so amazed by this seemingly unspectacular and yet so spectacular process. "Dance Therapist and Jungian Analyist (and Authentic Movement Pioneer) Joan Chodorow speaks of the importance of what she calls the "Unholy Trinity " - The Body, The Shadow and the Feminine, which have been repressed for millennia.Carl Jung considered the integration of this trinity to be the task of our times....\" (2) If we look at the world today, from our personal lives out into larger communities and global events, it is all about bringing light into the darkness. It's not about blaming or judging the perpetrators or "the System" anymore, but about looking boldly at the truth of the matter, not hiding behind a facade of politeness anymore, giving space to what is, letting the pain be seen and held, every little step of the way. May it be the uncovering of the abuse of the ballet students at the Vienna State Opera Ballet, the journalists and psychotherapist that have helped abuse victims recover from the sexual and spiritual abuse of the Catholic Church or the children demonstrating in the FridaysforFuture Movement, its time.I have pondered this so many times: how can dance make a difference? It can, by re-inhabiting the Body, we can use our daily movement practice to reconnect.
(1) + (2)