I morph freely when I dance in canyons. My body becomes calm and receptive, sometimes shapeless. In such states, I can dance from emptiness, and feel better. Letting go of stagnant history, I can change in the flowing present, heal and re-gather form. I think of this mode of being present to nature as "canyon consciousness." In touch with canyons, consciously undertaken dance can expand into a state of gratitude, inviting arms to reach out spontaneously from the heart. Dancing in canyons can release pain and worry – drifting and lingering in the valley depths. Healing, I believe, is a daily, always renewing, occurrence. It isn't a permanent one-time event. Attentiveness to valleys and alluvial plains is a moral imperative. We need to be past ignoring nature, wasting water and forests. Appreciative attention to the environment can enhance quality of life. This is my commitment, and the reason I take students in my somatics program in Utah to dance in Snow Canyon, to Zion and the red cliffs above Saint George. The key word here is attention. I can ignore environmental exploitation, or partner with nature in a transformational dance. Attention is not all that is needed, but is a good beginning.
Fraleigh, S. (2019)., Canyon consciousness, in K. Bond (ed.), Dance and the quality of life, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 23-44.
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