Maintaining Community Together: A Shared Experience

Hello Collective Movers,

Community
Image by Wharton Esherick

Warmer weather is knocking at the door, but not quite completely ready to come in. At least the clocks will spring forward this Sunday, and those longer days are upon us. Anticipating all those changes seems like a good inspiration to check in with what’s been on the mind of the AMC community.

Lately, we have had a significant amount of feedback about what participants bring into the dance space that has an effect on the whole experience. At our recent Dance Leadership Circle meeting, we decided to start sharing the feelings and issues being addressed to us through the newsletter, being aware that we are, basically, a non-conversational space and already have basic guidelines we share at the start of each experience.

There is a lot here and I already feel grateful for any attention you already give to the collective.

Scents and Fragrances have a significant impact on all who are dancing.

Because we are in a space breathing together, these items can have a pretty major effect on certain health issues and the experience of all.

Touching and interacting with others without permission.

We are dancing, we get caught up in the experience, and hopefully, lose a little of the feeling of separation and individuality that our secular society praises but can leave many of us without the deeper connections that bring us a sense of community. That same society has also left many of us exposed to situations that have taken our permissions away. A community of trust seeks to restore every participant’s permissiveness. Please, always get permission; maybe think of it as a gift.

Loud vocalizing during the experience.

We all bring our own experience, expectations, and reactions. Some people are falling into the music or delving deeper into their bodies, taking what many consider sacred time. Because we are always at the work of boundaries, safety, and the challenges of sharing space, being aware of anything we do that impacts everyone’s experience can be a guide away from the needs of the self towards a feeling of wholeness that community can represent.

Talking during warm-up.

Many people use this time to begin the process of embodiment. We are fortunate to have a lobby at both of our venues with space for conversation and greeting. Sometimes we don’t see people until we are in the space, so a quiet greeting is natural. Beginning to consider others’ experiences, heading into the lobby when there is an acknowledgement that you want more than just a brief greeting together may help to support the experiences of all.

Toning in place of the silence at the end of the dance.

There is pretty evident proof that many enjoy this experience, and there are some who do not. Once again, this is more about bringing what others are experiencing, or hope to experience, into our own consciousness. Maybe there is a way to keep the toning soft, or maybe some things are just spontaneous—although spontaneity would not include it happening every time.

Feedback

As a reminder, we have a feedback book in the lobby at our events and an email address, . We are always open to hearing directly from you at either of our event spaces or, you know, when we cross paths around town.

Creating, sustaining, and maintaining community together, especially in such large numbers, will always be a challenge. First steps, and sometimes, second and third steps, are about keeping the way others are moving in our awareness. We don’t need to make judgments, only adjust ourselves to the rhythms and the melodies and find our way to stay with the dance.

Thank you all for the sometimes challenging work of holding this very unique community,

Steven Jones
Events Coordinator