I am nature: terpsichorean associations
In Chinese philosophy, body and mind are inseparable thanks to qi, or life force. Qi is the two facets of the physical and the metaphysical. Body and mind are different manifestations of qi.
Everything in our universe consists of qi and therefore humans are not that different from the world around us. The movement practice that I call qi-dance springs from this acknowledgement. Qi-dance is a mindful movement which follows the body’s natural lines and the rhythms and patterns of the surrounding environment. Thus, qi-dance follows the flow of internal and external energies.
In order to perceive nature, and, more importantly, to communicate with nature on the energetic level, we need to be familiar with the energetic anatomy and movements of our bodies. Primarily, qi-dance develops attentiveness and awareness on the spiritual and corporeal levels by delving into the secrets of the ancient Eastern practices of movement (such as qigong and Taiji). Only by knowing and understanding our own energetic being can we try to interact with nature’s energies. Then it can be more than just a dance with trees, rivers, stones, and plants. Then we might be able to dance trees, rivers, stones, and plants. But why not also permeate them, blend into them?
These experimental and spontaneous movement sessions occur in nature, rather than in a dance studio. Instead of a prepared dance routine, there’s a choreographic mapping of the environment, or a focus on a thorough awareness of a single natural object, or a mergence with the weather conditions, etc. This kind of eco-somatic experience can give us a mystical sense of participation. Qi-dance is therapeutic – it offers the body and mind new opportunities to familiarise themselves with the constant changes within us, and the world.
At Biotoopia, I will perform a session of location-specific qi-dance, and showcase videos in collaboration with Mattias Veermets.
Karina Laurits has studied Swedish philology and theatre theory at the University of Tartu. Her doctoral studies were cut short by health issues, which however spurred her on to exploring Chinese medicine and Eastern practices. Karina has studied Chinese medicine in Estonia and Thailand – she teaches Chinese therapeutic exercises, or qigong, helps people through qi-therapies and teaches courses on Chinese medicine in the Confucius Institute at Tallinn University. Karina releases her creative impulses in Eastern movement practices, which have inspired her to create a spontaneous and improvisational dance style she calls qi-dance.