The Open Floor Movement Cycle is a useful intellectual and embodied map of how physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy moves through time and space. The Movement Cycle shows how, with awareness, we can support this cycling of energy to become a rich, meaningful, and creative learning experience.
The four phases of our movement meditation spiral are continuous and never-ending. Teachers offer a combination of structured exercises, verbal guidance, open periods of dance, and supportive music to encourage students through the various phases of the cycle.
The 4 Phases of the Movement Cycle
1. OPEN ATTENTION
At the start of the Cycle we learn to track both inner and outer awareness. We cultivate open attention to the 4 Dimensions of Embodiment, of our humanness (physical, emotional, mind, soul). We embrace any Relational Hungers we might be feeling (for solitude, connection, belonging, and spirit). In this phase of the cycle we allow our attention to travel inside and out without direction, allowing ourselves to notice and include anything that’s true in the moment: a longing, a jittery sensation, an ache, repetitive thoughts, and fantasies of the future. So much life arrives with us when we start to practice. It is so nourishing to open our attention and notice.
To enter is to deliberately go towards a particular sensation, emotion, thought or image. Consciously entering what is moving through us, guides us to focus our attention in a particular direction, to walk through a doorway with curiosity, intention, and willingness to investigate.
This is where we broaden, deepen, expand and play with what is most compelling to us. New possibilities grow, expand, release, dissolve, or randomly change. In the exploration phase of the cycle, this randomness is encouraged as precursor for creativity and connection.
Settling comes in many forms and textures. Sometimes it is a release of what has been built up in the exploration phase, or perhaps the active change of breath from sympathetic to parasympathetic. It might involve contact with another mover, or a reconnecting with the group body, or naming the experience we just had while dancing. It may be a slowing down, or sitting and stilling. Settling is a form of digestion, integration, and re-organization.
Settling helps re-map the nervous system, allowing new embodied and relational pathways to be encoded. Once settled, we return to Open Attention – a return to “How Now?” as we end our session or move into another cycle.
In time, movers learn to listen for their own inner movement cycles and use that awareness to explore and enjoy deepening their dance experiences in open practice sessions. Off the dance floor, movers start to notice their own personal movement cycles in any given day, mood, conversation, task, or moment of life.