There are certain activities that don't leave room in the brain
for the "monkey mind's" chatter. This chatter goes on constantly and
keeps us from focusing and reacting in a pure way to our environment. Dancing,
drumming, sex, chanting, and sports are great ways of quieting the monkey mind
without passive meditation. These activities also give the extra bonus of boosting
our spirits. When one learns to improvise dance, the feeling is indescribable.
The secret to learning is to give your body a repertoire of movements to draw
from; then find the music that inspires you. The goal is to allow your body to
react, without thought, to the music. This is a pure thing. This is a joyous thing.
This is an important life lesson. When the music hits you, you don't have time
to consult your ego and ask it, "shall I pose with one arm up and do a little
shimmy?" You let the music toss you around. Here are some important points
to remember when you are striving to learn to improvise...
Always warm up. (Everyone without exception dances, plays sports, drums, and has
sex better when they have warmed up!)
Practice even your basic exercises with music on.
Search the planet till you find music that makes you move.
Try to express emotion in your dance. Facing your audience with a frozen smile
is not going to get you there.
Learn what you can from every dancer. Limiting yourself to one teacher will stick
you with her style. Find your own style by experiencing every possible dance form.
Carla has just finished work on an instructional CD Rom that teaches zil technique. Information on that project can be found here. She has also recently launched a site entitled "Ecstatic Dance" which teaches improvisation.