Transformative Moments

A Dancer's View

Catalyst Dance blog series offering the dancer's view into the research and development of "A Port in the Storm" premiering July 2nd, 2015 at The Aberthau Mansion/ West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada

Transformative Moments

By Rachel Helten

It is my purpose to dance- to viscerally express my spirit, connect to the world aroundme and tap into the abundance of love that is all around.  I am grateful to be a dancer with Catalyst Dance- with inspiring peers and a fearless director.  Desirée’s process not only focuses on strengthening our physical vessel but also finding balance of mind and spirit.

In her Dancing the Wild method she draws from meditation, yoga, conditioning, discussion, improvisation and contemporary technique to catalyze personal transformation and artistic excellence.  Catalyst offers an environment that is motivating, challenging and highly nurturing for the creative spirit.

 Catalyst dancer Rachel Helten at Pacific Spirit Park Vancouver photographed by Brenda Kent

Catalyst dancer Rachel Helten at Pacific Spirit Park Vancouver photographed by Brenda Kent

In Catalyst we are encouraged to delve into deeper layers of consciousness.  A lot of resistance can arise including that inner critic who tells me I’m not good enough.   There is at times an internal battle in me that blocks me from having the courage to express vulnerability. Let me tell you it takes a great deal of bravery to reveal yourself to others. At times, I lose this tenacity, forgetting my self-worth and disassociating from the present.  Art practice is a place to be with our shadow side and when in a supportive, healthy setting like Desirée provides, I feel I have an opportunity to regain balance.

One day in rehearsal we were asked to meditate and touch into our shadow side.  This is the side of ourselves that when not addressed can wreak havoc in our lives.  After moving inwards we were asked to embody the essence of the experience through movement. This was intense and cathartic and by the end of the process I felt lighter, like a weight had been lifted.  I realized that opening to both my light and darkness, required forgiveness and acceptance. I feel this transcendence deepens our empathy and understanding of the world around us and allows our love to radiate freely.

Another transformative moment I will always remember was our first performance this spring in LINK, A Community Dance Series at the Roundhouse Performance Centre. The performances preceding and following our piece (a structured improvisation, Tribe) were nothing less than awe-inspiring. The show had dancers of all ages and abilities- from the elderly and the disabled to moms and tots. The movers were bravely expressing themselves despite obstacles. The energy was powerful. Over one-hundred community dancers were coming together for the pure love of movement.  Coming from a professional training program I was humbled to witness such purity.  Their courage inspired me to transcend my fear and boldly pursue my purpose.

Click here to watch Rachel's video biography.

Rachel Helten is a fourth year dance major at Simon Fraser University, an interdisciplinary performer, choreographer and a dancer with Catalyst Dance.

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