Many of the movement practices we participate in have obvious practical links to our evolutionary heritage.
The practice of parkour is possible because our ancestors’ survival was rooted in being able to locomote over and through complex terrain. Team sports and the martial arts are a result of our need to move with and against other human beings.
But where does dance fit in our evolution? It is a cultural constant, meaning that no matter where you go on the planet, if you can find people, you will find some sort of dance or music.
So it’s wildly important to our species, but where does it come from and what purpose has it served us throughout time?
We invited our very good friend Simon Thakur back on the podcast today to talk about aliveness in movement, and his insights about dance and the role it’s played in the history of humanity are incredibly fascinating.
In short, Simon says that before humans developed the ability to communicate verbally, we had to tell our stories through movement.
Our ability to mimic the movement of animals, and convey the shapes of rocks, trees and weather with our bodies not only aided our survival, it helped us to connect to and educate our fellow humans. It also paved the way for deeper levels of personal expression and emotional sophistication.
If you think about how much information you can receive by just looking at someone’s posture, the way they gesture and the nuances in their facial expressions, it’s easy to see how this ancient form of communication is still hardwired within us.
It goes a step further however, because by simply conveying our emotions through body language, we are able to spread those emotions and feelings to the people around us.
If we stand tall and confident, with a happy expression, the people who see us are more likely to feel confident and happy, and they will treat us in a way that reflects their relationship towards those emotions. The same applies for when we look unsteady or downtrodden.
This circles back to the idea that movement is about far more than just fitness/aesthetics. The deeper our connection to movement is, the more we are able to understand the emotions and expressions of those around us, and the more we can express ourselves to the world.
The more attuned and emotionally sophisticated we are, the stronger our connection to each other will be, which will increase our likelihood of living a life full of meaning and purpose.
If you really enjoyed listening to Simon, you can find his past episodes below.
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