- What is Open Floor?
- Find an Open Floor
- Learn to Teach
- About Us
Christian is on the Therapy in Motion Teacher Training Track. We asked him a few questions about his experience of the training so far.
I came to dance late in life. Although I consider myself a born dancer, I kept my dream of dancing secret for a long time. When I finally found the courage to step onto the dance floor, I was 40. Isn't it crazy to begin to dance at such a venerable age? Movement has been my medicine. I was sure that I was too awkward and dyslexic to be able to move with grace and lightness. The discovery of the 5Rhythms® finally broke down my prejudice. Working with many seasoned teachers proved to me that to dance you don't need to be athletic, you just need to be connected to your body. I remember I was like a wooden stick on the dance floor at the beginning.
I worked hard for several years and I have been rewarded for my perseverance. Month after month, the discipline of my practice gave me the opportunity to gain in suppleness. I was proud to be able to let my body express itself through movement. Dancing has helped me to make room inside and to integrate and fully embody all the work I have done over years of therapy. After ten years of passionate practice, I felt it was high time to give back what I have learned and received from my teachers. I have made a wish to teach movement for all these reasons. I want others to profit from my experience and gather the same fruits I got for myself in my practice.
It all began in 2012 when I met Andrea Juhan in Paris. At this time, as a Gestalt therapist I was looking to combine all the healing resources I had come across in my work: therapy, movement, meditation, and artistic work. It struck me that Andrea was the living proof that it is possible to put all of this into one practice! My dream could come true!
As a result, when Andrea, Kathy, Lori and Vic founded Open Floor, I did not hesitate. The fact that there is a "therapist track" in the training, especially designed for people like me, who are looking to integrate movement into their own work, was a great motivator. It was crucial for me to be recognised as a therapist and to include my existing professional and personal skills - what makes me unique.
Lori and Kathy’s Art in Motion workshops which combine visual arts, writing and theatre with movement also strongly appealed to me.
Some time ago, I was looking to buy a house in the countryside. A home isn’t just 4 walls, it is also the space between those walls. It feels like I had a beautiful house: built on solid foundations, with quality materials - all the skills I have developed over the years - and now with Open Floor, I can fill that space and make it into a home!
The first one that comes to mind is the core value : "Move and Include". We all suffer from lack of friendship and compassion towards ourselves. We're so used to dealing with rough and tough inner critics, judges and perfectionists that never leave us alone. After years of therapy, I still wanted to get rid of some parts of me, the parts which I blamed as the source of all the problems in my life. Open Floor has helped me to deal with them. The shift happened when I understood that my desire to make these parts disappear was adding agression to agression. The practice helped me to be curious, more indulgent, and welcoming… To include and accept all the parts of me: not only the negative parts, but the creative, unconventional aspects of me too. The training has greatly influenced the way I work as a therapist: how I welcome my clients, mirror them, support them.
Another very important principle for me is "Make it visible". After years of talking therapy, I had become the king of introspection. Looking back to my “Ground Floor Lab'" I remember I was puzzled when the teachers introduced transparency as the main value. It took me a while to be willing to show myself more, to risk expressing my masculine power alongside my feminine vulnerability both on the dance floor with my peers, and as a teacher with my clients.
Now I know that if I'm clear, I can wear different hats : teacher, therapist, dancer... The real risk is not to fail, it is to be more authentic. Teaching is not another mask, it is showing myself as I am. What else could we teach? What else could be more therapeutic?
The only way to change the world is to make it move! The challenge is to be my authentic self and step into my rightful in the world. If I want to make the world move, I have to walk the talk: to move myself to get closer to “me”, to be more aware of who I am, to keep myself open and curious and compassionate with myself. Change begins with me. This might sound very egoistic and my experience shows me that there is no other way to teach other human beings.
I like to teach a variety of audiences. However, most of my dancers are people I support in my therapy practice. Most of them have danced for the very first time in their life with me. I like it when they allow their inner dancer to show up. It is like a birth. I offer workshops and sessions especially designed for them. So far, I have run workshops and retreats specifically for men. The world of personal development seems closed to men and very few come to open classes. My aim is to show them that dancing is not only for women. Men also have a body. Why wouldn’t they use it? Opening spaces just for men has been an enriching (and sometimes surprising) experience. When there is no seduction on the dance floor men can feel a bit awkward and tend to get bored more easily: like knights without a princess to rescue. But when they eventually manage to go further, the atmosphere changes radically on the dance floor... They give space to their own tender energy and become more creative, softer and more tender in their movement... as if they finally realise that they lack nothing, that they are complete as they are, meaning that "men are women like others" (Groucho Marx)!