The Matrix of Dance

Dance is an experience defined by certain tasks and expressed in a mental form. Dance is a quality that consists of either rest (if the body is in a static state) or motion (if the body is in a dynamic state). Dance is characterized by externally expressed positions and movements, it cannot be examined as a random or spontaneous position or movement because it is strictly directed at a certain mental work. It is always holistic, and in its entirety, it is based on a certain matrix.

When examining and studying dance, we must start with its tasks, or else we might get lost in the sensual and emotional characteristics that have reduced the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Thracian dance to the concept of Bacchanalia, where the dance has already departed from its task and has begun to serve the dancer. This is how the content-richness of the dance has been replaced by the reaction to the dance. In this context dance can even hardly be examined as an art.

Devoid of its task, dance gets deprived of its ritual aspect, of its rigorous mental construction or the reason why it is being rendered. Devoid of its task, the dance cannot help to perfect the mind, and if the mind is not perfected, this whole activity cannot be experienced properly. Dance is the science of rhythm. So when I speak of its ritual aspect, I’m referring to a specific algorhythm of understanding, which has been used in certain historical periods. However the most significant difference here is the one related to the mental work, i.e. to the kind of knowledge contained in the dance – movement or rest.

Everything characterized and determined by rhythm was considered part of the concept of dance – poetry, music and movement. Every culture and every place brought in its own rhythm. Initially its tone was harmonized with that of the place of residence, and later it turned into egregore pressure.

When we examine ancient drawings depicting dancers we can see that the initial type of dance was rather static. Its task was to accumulate energy or help the dancer become one with the energy, therefore there were certain geometrical laws that were used for the construction of these positions. We can eventually state that this is how five thousand years ago people conceptualized what we today call ‘dance’. The Egyptian hieroglyph used to designate dance was used to refer to the knot, the energy cohesion that had to occur within Man.

The positions or formulas described above could be accumulated. Therefore, dance was made up of formulas consecutively combined one after the other. Each of these consecutive combinations expressed a certain level of pressure.

Dance was initially seen as a female system of movement. Man when in motion represented a completely different format. In any case initially dance was linked to women and the idea of accumulating energy. This process was sacred and was never meant to be a spectacle.

The spectacular aspect appeared with the invention of theater when dance began to fulfill a public task instead of the private and internal one. From this point onwards the development process of dance came out of control, since dance began to express the reactions of the masses to life, their behavior, it became a self-expression of the dancer. Thus fundamental knowledge was replaced by spontaneous expression. This happened mainly under the influence of the impoverished layers of the population, a typical example here is flamenco.

This very process was later called Bacchanalia – here not only people’s movements were disordered but also their behavior. If we examine dance itself, it was broken down into separate episodes that began to depend on people’s state, therefore the act of dance was already out of control.

What is curious here is that this episodic kind of dance became dominant in society because it required no special knowledge or preparation, and above all – no controlling skills. Dance became a set of random elements of movement, it started to inculcate the idea of spontaneity taking away the idea that initially lied in the foundation of the system of movements, which had its own matrix.

The attempt to ban these types of dances – both in Egypt and in Greece – was unsuccessful and dance as a form of entertainment became part of the life of society. Then after the decline of the ancient cultures that dance became part of the human desire and no longer expressed man’s real essence and his special purpose as it did in the times of the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Zapotec. Thus the times when all movements, which we today call ‘dance’, were aimed at tuning oneself to certain states and links, represented by certain forces or gods, were gone.

Dance has always represented a mythological idea or rather a certain mythological essence. It is an element of the development of a certain community linked either to its ideas, the respective place, or certain tasks, this is why dance must represent above all space and not the dancer. Dance is always a link therefore it requires that the dancer has a certain status – that of a priest, a medium, a totem, etc. And in this link we should always be able to find a trace of the effort. It might be linked to a certain part of the body, a certain position or contemplation.

In general it would be better if we define the original nature of dance as a spiritual service. This service was subdivided into different categories, related to different problems or one might even say tonalities, each of which represented a certain force or god (Osiris, Hathor, Isis, etc). The Egyptians had 13 such tonalities. Therefore, we can talk of 13 types of dances.

In fact, this is true of every culture: the number of tonalities determines the number of dances in the culture. This is the main matrix. In this case, each key has its geometric pattern, and this is what we call the matrix of dance. This very matrix in fact brings about the idea of ​​harmonics, which served as the basis of the development of all ancient peoples.

These harmonics, an idea which has by the way brought about a doctrine such as Orphism, are important for the understanding of dance from the perspective of the matrix, where one must not only hear the rhythm, but also express it. To this end one needs to understand the scheme and be able to operate with it. At the same time the support of rhythm in women and in men is different, as Woman is a matrix structure, and Man is an oriented one. This difference is important, because the inability to maintain the rhythm inside has in fact encouraged men to use special stimulating beverages that reduce the frequency of their body.

The inability to control the process gradually made dance uncontrollable so it became just a frolic (like the Greek koribantium and gormos). The loss of support in dance deprived it of any form of development or, more correctly, profoundness. Therefore if you do not understand the support of rhythm, you can not understand movement, let alone how to use your hands, and feet, and the various changes in your body (down to the facial expressions.)

When we speak of the matrix of dance, we need to understand its depth. In this respect we should not distinguish between religious, social, entertainment, etc. kinds of dances, since what we are referring to here is the foundation, or depth of dance, based on the ability to store energy in the body and mind so as to express the necessary pressure that marks the dance as an act. Or throws it into the bounds of the concept of frolic.


13 october 2012

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