|Written by: Eliza Siegler (view bio)||Wednesday, 9 October 2013|
By Eliza Siegler
I have learned from experience that sometimes even one person can step into a situation and provide the care needed that turns everything around. The ripple effect that is created can even transform and contribute to healing the lives of many. In my life, that person will always be Donna Karan.
Her decision to create this amazing Urban Zen Integrative Therapy initiative saved the quality of life of my entire family, and helped to usher us firmly back on a path of sustainable health, well-being and peace. Here is how this program transformed my breast cancer story.Read More...
|Written by: Ali Schechter (view bio)||Saturday, 15 June 2013|
BY ALI SCHECHTER
On June 15, 2013, more than 60 cities will dance in synchrony to celebrate water. Bodies made of water will resonate with the water on our planet, one time zone after another. This event marks the second Global Water Dances performance, a bold and visionary artistic initiative focused on the critical need for safe drinking water. Participation in planning local events for Global Water Dances 2013 (or 2015) is open to anyone who loves to move.
How we relate to our water supply—within and without—directly affects our well being, not only as individuals but in community. Reverence for water reflects a respect for life, a shift that inevitably leads to the preservation of cultures different from our own and embodied interdependence. Through shared movement experiences, Global Water Dances seeks to inspire generations to come to approach our water supply—and each other—with deepened appreciation.
There are already an estimated 5 million deaths per year globally from polluted water. By 2025, over half the world’s population will be facing water-related problems. Global Water Dances (GWD) models how to use participatory art-making to raise consciousness about environmental problems and how to bring people together to work on solving these problems.
But let me back track a bit. Why dance? How does movement relate to environmental change? How can art inspire real world solutions? As Emilie Conrad, somatics pioneer and founder of Continuum Movement, explains in Life On Land, “the fluid inside this biosphere called Earth and the fluids of our bodies are in constant rapport.” She continues, “The ocean… Our blood… The water inside the planet… Spinal fluid… Are all the same. All fluid activities are in resonance. They mutualize and inform each other.” According to Emilie (who has used fluid movement to foster healing in patients with paralysis and polio), this “constant rapport” between the water in our bodies and the water on our planet are “inexorably reciprocal in ways that we have barely discovered.”
In an even more straightforward sense, bodies moving together create momentum, dialogue and cohesion. Global Water Dances acts as a kind of moving petition, embodying the pleas of the planet in refreshing ways that bring dry politics to life. And environmental organizations are catching on. The New York chapter of Global Water Dances was recently approached by a group of activists on Long Island seeking to liberate a fresh water spring. Environmentalists are starting to recognize the power of dance to call attention to important issues through creative and interactive community experiences.
GWD’s community-wide, choreographed events are essentially Movement Choirs. Likely the ancestor of the “flash mob,” the “movement choir” was conceived in Germany by a Hungarian man named Rudolf Laban. These large gatherings of dancing people were ultimately too much for the marching men in uniform, and they put Laban on house arrest. He defected to Paris and then lived in England, where he further developed his theories on movement analysis and notation.
And it was there, in England, that Global Water Dances was born. In 2008, a group of Laban Movement Analysts (LMA) and non-verbal communication experts met at Schumacher College at a conference on Dance and the Environment. Founding members include Karen Bradley, Richard Bell, John Chanik, Gretchen Dunn, Martha Eddy, Ellen Goldman, Marylee Hardenbergh, Antja Kennedy, Tara Stepenburg, Simone Hoever, and Daniela Schlemm.
“By moving together on this special day, says Hardenbergh, currently artistic director of GWD, “we will mobilize to develop and demand solutions to water problems at every level.” She continues, “Global Water Dances will give people a new and unique way to express our deepening concern about the growing world-wide water crisis.”
This year’s GWD performance involves dancers as far and wide as Bogota, Bangladesh and New York City. In addition to a set section of choreography based on Laban principles and performed worldwide by dancers at each event, local choreographers will present site-specific works addressing community relevant water issues.
In New York City, somatic expert Dr. Martha Eddy is exploring global topics like the impact of hydrofracking, plastics, fluoride, and the corporatization of water. Dr. Eddy is also the founder of Moving for Life, a woman-led non-profit organization focusing on cancer recovery through movement. At Hudson River Park, movers will have a chance to experience Dr. Eddy’s Dynamic Embodiment (TM), which accesses the transformative power of water through the fluid rhythms of Body-Mind Centering (R)–blood, lymph, cerebral spinal fluid, and more. She is interested in how we can foster solutions to scarcity and adversity through dance, using movement to appreciate the water systems of our planet.
Like other sites around the world, GWD-NY partners with local artists and activists, offering workshops, classes and participatory performances leading up to the event and afterward. GWD-NY continues to build ties with dance organizations like Ecstatic Dance NYC, and environmental agencies like NYC H20. GWD-NY is also committed to international crosspollination with technology think tanks like www.WaterWheel.net.
To connect with Global Water Dances, visit: www.globalwaterdances.org.
If you are in the greater New York area: www.globalwaterdancesNY.org
Join the movement. Stand, stomp and reach for a world invested in clean, safe water for all.Read More...
|Written by: Urban Zen (view bio)||Tuesday, 11 June 2013|
Last month, the Urban Zen Center hosted a very special evening in the studio loft. An intimate gathering came together for a Fireside Chat to discuss Urban Zen and it’s signature program: the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program.
Although he wasn’t able to attend in person, Dr. David Feinberg, President of UCLA Health and Chief Executive Officer for the UCLA Hospital System, shared his sentiments on the UZIT program in a poignant and thoughtful video message. We are so proud and honored to have partnered with UCLA to continue the momentum propelling the UZIT program to the next level.
We would love for you to take a moment and check out what Dr. David Feinberg’s thoughts on the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program.Read More...
The Urban Zen Foundation creates, connects and collaborates to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preserving cultures and empowering children in mind, body and spirit. Urban Zen designs forums, partners with existing organizations and brings together experts to define solutions and implement action.