Embodying the dynamics of the five elements: A practice dialogue between Body-Mind Centering® and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy

Sargent-Wishart, Kim
November 2012
Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices;2012, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p125
Academic Journal
This article presents a contemplative dance/movement research practice, based in the somatic approach of Body-Mind Centering® (BMCSM), exploring the dynamics of the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) according to Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. This research practice is a component of the author's current doctoral study in performance, which includes a dialogue between Tibetan Buddhist perspectives on the dynamics of the body's formation, and the BMC approach to embodied embryology. The article briefly outlines the significance of embryology as a field of study within BMC and Tibetan Buddhism, and introduces the Buddhist pedagogical model of the three prajnas as a framework for experiential research. It describes a research methodology in which dance/movement practice, and the direct kinaesthetic experience of dance/movement practitioners, is the site of investigation, suggesting movement research as a method of both bringing theory into physical practice and generating theory from that practice. The final section details the studio research practice itself, including an introduction to the dynamics of the five elements, examples of how these were investigated in movement research, and excerpts from participants' reflective writing.


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