Bruno Setola deed deze herfst mee aan de cursus van Impro Dance. Hierna ontving ik van hem deze geïnspireerde blog over zijn ervaring van de lessen. Het geeft wat mij betreft een goed beeld van de persoonlijke thema’s die je in de dans tegen kunt komen. En wat vond ik het als docent een cadeau om in heldere woorden zijn impressie van de cursus te lezen. Met Bruno’s toestemming deel ik de blog hier, het is in het Engels geschreven.

What I learned from Impro Dance

The other day I went to my weekly Impro Dance class, by Ilse van Haastrecht. It focuses on listening to your body and being in touch with your surroundings as the starting point for curiosity and expression. Anytime, simple constraints or rules can be introduced by Ilse that introduce a fresh challenge without the need for too much thinking.

If I have a lot of energy I can be very playful and expressive, yet this autumn I am very low on energy and this evening I decided to keep things elementary. When I entered the space, the words on my mind were: “Let it Go”. Let go of the idea that I always can (or should) feel full of energy. Accept the disheartening effect that continuous rain, cold and darkness have on me. Stop trying to motivate myself at the cost of even more energy. And with that, my always-busy mind simply shut down.

Ilse’s approach to teaching can be called “nudging”. More than talking a lot and giving a lot of instructions and corrections, she gives us a simple ‘task’ and then invites us to explore possibilities by occasionally saying things like: “what are you curious about? See where it leads you” and “which body part wants to move? Observe what it is that you are trying to do and then go along with it”.

To my surprise, simply following these nudges, within a very short time I was suddenly bursting with energy. I had no idea where that surplus of power had come from but it was quite literally overpowering me. Just letting the body seek out ways to move and play, made me feel like I was expanding into the space. I just let it happen and went for an amazing ride in my own body. In the end I did not feel exhausted, I felt amazed and deeply in touch with myself. I had not expected this to happen at all.

After class I talked with Ilse about the words to describe this wonderful combo: Let it go – Let it come. In Dutch the words “loslaten” and “loskomen” come to mind. And in fact “loskomen” translates into words that may even better describe my experience of that evening: to become available, liberated, relaxed, unstuck, opened up, expanded. By providing a shared play space and sparse nudges, without any expectations or judgement, Ilse has allowed for this experience and I am very grateful for that.

I think the lesson learned from this applies to more than just dance: when we have lots of energy, play and expression usually come easily. Yet the opposite is also true: when we play and express ourselves without plan or expectations, energy comes naturally.

About Bruno:

Bruno Setola researches and practices everything to do with play. With his company Playspace, he uses insights from play and games to invent new ways to better work, live and learn together. As much as Bruno likes redesigning complex organisational processes, Bruno also likes to improvise, dance, and play with his son Alexander.

a drawing by Bruno