The Dance of the Golden
Dancing Turns You On, Go Dance! Every time you dance, it is
your first dance! Unbind your body, unfetter your will,
release your soul. In this spirited moment feel as if you
are rejuvenated by the refreshing embrace of a gentle ocean
breeze; hear the sound of the big band proclaiming the feast
of the present. Brave cosmic drums are heartbeating and magic
flutes inhaling the wind, breathing out songs of continuity.
The trumpet is calling: Come along, all and every one; behold
the now, the only fragment of life you and I have. Let us
dance, each making his or her own dance, capturing the subtle
rhythms of life, smiling, rejoicing, and praising the goodness
of day. Shake loose our individual "character armor"
that has shackled us for so long; shake it loose, let it break,
let it shatter.
Heavenly tunes are dancing all around, permit them to come
through. Let them revive parts of the body and soul gone numb
and dry. Music's magical power will soon take command and
effortlessly you are dancing gaily, softly gliding around
and around, merrily hopping up and down like the sprightly
happy child that is in you, or like that certain transient
butterfly that one beautiful day held your attention and earned
your lavish praise. To self-appreciation to egocentricity,
wave goodbye-not au revior, nor auf wiedersehen. Instead:
Don't come back. Now under the sky of Universe you are not
dancing alone; you are dancing the circle, the music, and
the dance. In a memorable rhapsody of that kind, a dervish
once exclaimed, "this is not my body, this is the temple
of God". You see, for the mortal human body it is most
immortal to dance and import into your world an air of elegant
by Moneim A Fadali,
M.D. from his book "Coping and Beyond."
& Company, publisher.
segment introduces you to a dance from the island of Bali, a lush
island in a group of thirteen thousand islands, strung in an arc
between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, that comprise the Indonesian
archipelago. Indonesian writer Mochtar calls his country "The
Land Under the Rainbow" as it is a colorful profusion of
cultures, customs, dialects, religions, and geographical features.
Bali, a predominately Hindu culture, is a pear-shaped garden of
beauty floating on an emerald sea; it is known as the Garden of
the Gods and is renowned for the richness of its artisans, crafts
persons, musicians and dancers.
interest in the dances of many cultures has been a rich experience.
In the photograph above I am performing the very poingnant Dance
of The Golden Deer. This dance originated in Bali and is usually
performed by an odd number of seven- to nine-year-old girls. I
loved this dance so much that I insisted on cramming myself into
this delicate and brilliantly arrayed costume and dedicating long
hours to learning the movements.
dance tells a story that has its roots in Hindu tradition but,
as is typical of the Balinese, has a twist that is unique to the
storytelling customs of this culture. The original story comes
from the ancient sacred text of the Ramayana. In this historic
epic, Sita, the wife of the great king Rama, is lured away from
her home and kidnapped by the evil demon Rawana. The lure that
attracted Sita was a beautiful golden deer which led Sita deeper
and deeper into the forest until the demon could safely snatch
her. Like many Hindu stories, the end is curiously convoluted.
Rama rescues Sita with the help of Hanuman the monkey king but
the ending is not as happy as we in the west would prefer. The
typical Balinesian twist is that the story has become so mutated
that now the Golden Deer, which was originally a device of evil,
has become a thing of beauty; it is now a positive icon in contemporary
enactments with no shadows or negative sides.
so many stories in Bali, the villain is the hero, the hero may
be the villain, or the two archetypes may coexist in the same
character. It is so joyously confused and complex that I feel
like I am in real life!
I love dearly about Indonesian sacred dance is the profound concept
of the dancer becoming the God/Goddess she/he is dancing. This
concept is found in many traditions of sacred dance among disparate
cultures such as the Voudun of Africa that was brought, via slave
trade, to the West Indies.
performing the Dance of The Golden Deer, I experienced the lucid
and deeply moving sensation of no longer being myself. I hear
the music and the surroundings shift suddenly. I am dancing yet
not dancing; I am being danced. I am transported beyond my surroundings
while entering into a realm of hyperawareness of that place and
all that is within the space.
try to envelope myself with the experience that this dance brings
to these Balinese youngsters, who learn it at such a young age,
and to understand how the ritualistic setting and cultural story
of it impacts on their life and on those who witness this dance.
There is that level that one can touch in all dance modalities
that is healing and, perhaps, a deeper level at which all dance
gift given to me by the young performers in Bali was akin to a
lamplight that warmed my heart and resonated so very deeply with
the nine-year-old dancer in me who is always ready to soar into
the ecstasy of the movement. Here the waves in the ocean or flocks
of flying birds seem to move in synchronicity with my breath and
motion. In such a state I once danced, barefooted, on hot concrete
and never felt pain until blistering on the soles of my feet,
a short time later, echoed my discomfort. Normally when dancing
under conditions that might cause harm I suffer no ill effect.
I would like to explain this state with more understanding as
I believe it to be real. Many who have observed me dance at times
like this have noted this transformation. For me, the joy of the
dance is to go beyond thought and still my mind. I dance this
dance of the Golden Deer; I frolic in the forest with my friends;
I stretch my hooves; I lap sweet water from a tropical stream;
I nibble on ferns; I step out of the mists looking so exotic and
beautiful that one cannot help but follow me into unknown lands.
Come dance with me, wildly and joyfully!
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