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About Soul

Part II 

We should perhaps observe the Zen saying “If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him!” very carefully, but not literally. This saying simply is a metaphor for;

“Zen meditators seek to be free from all emotion, thoughts, concepts, etc. The Buddha itself is but a “concept”. Thus, if you “see” the Buddha, make sure to get rid of him. Do not get attached to him. He’s no different than a ghost; both are construct of your mind.”

So has “soul” become the “holy ghost” of our dance culture?

“The English terms “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are synonyms: one derives from the Old English ‘gast‘ and the other from the Latin loanword ‘spiritus‘. Like pneuma, they both refer to the breath, to its animating power, and to the soul.”

The spirit and breath of our dance culture are misunderstood. 

If someone tells you he can teach you, soul, don’t believe it, run the other way. You will forever be chasing that Holy Ghost because it has now become a concept. When you truly feel it or see it, you get goose bumps. That is a truth based on personal experience. 

First and foremost, soul should never be forced. To watch a dancer that is authentic and true to his expression is more soulful to me than him or her adding an extra layer of something that is altered to fit into what other’s concepts of soul are. There are dancers naturally blessed with that gift. And there are many slowly integrating the knowledge passed on, but it takes decades. Many come close yet are never able to integrate fully this third entity: This is one reason I feel one cannot lack something he never understood or possessed in the first place. Therefore, we shall not judge. We should be proud that our history has irrevocably transformed other cultures and our world to love it as much as we do. That said, we should keep the stories alive by sharing them without any agendas or expectations. This dance will evolve with or without us. 

If one wants to understand how to have more “soul” in his or her dance, one cannot possibly only focus on learning soul dance steps. Always ask, what is the story? Even if you learn all of it and you have never experienced it in its truest form, in its most natural environment, it will always remain the Holy Ghost.

I would rather watch dancers being true to who they are because that is the highest universal principle. The triggered emotions will surely show others what is true or not. Are you hiding your turmoil, are you nervous, are you happy, are you confident. When I see in your dance the invisible parts of your emotional state, then you begin to make “soul” visible just like the writer transcending feelings with pen and paper to make words into meaningful poetry.

It has always been about conversations. As a dancer who loves to write, every time I venture into the world of literature, the only way I can convince a writer with an inborn talent that I have potential is to write as myself completely. Why would I even attempt to use words that don’t reflect my real self? Storytelling and dancing are the same things. No one will believe you if you are borrowing the souls of others and distorting their words.

So the key is in the listening and the sharing. The conversations. First, who you are, is more important than who you are trying to become. Design your map and stop believing that to achieve a result you need to study the person you “believe” has “soul.” I am not saying to not learn from them, if they are good teachers, they will nudge you in the right direction, but don’t believe everything they say. And don’t “believe” everything you read here. What do you know to be true to you?

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