FreedomDance Istanbul is happy to give 4 Sunday-afternoon ecstatic dance and movement sessions during August and September at Dancentrum.

All these sessions will bring us close to qualities of performance without being about performing as such. The sessions will all run from 5 to 7pm and will probably all end a little after 7pm. The studio will be open from 4:30pm so if you like you are welcome to arrive early to relax or warm-up. We will try to start on time at 5pm. The sessions cost 40TL each, and are drop-in sessions. If you can come to all of them, great – they will each be different with different musics and complement each other – if you can’t come to all of them, that’s fine too.

The classes are open to all, experienced movers or not at all experienced. We improvise a lot, working informally with movement principles and images, there will be no formal choreographic work. It’s your dance, your exploration. There is no stereotype, mould or model. No right or wrong way. We encourage you to discover your movement in the moment. And encourage bringing together meditation and movement, even when movement is at its most ecstatic. And the music will be extraordinary…

Sunday, August 7th
Moving with Meaning. A class devoted to giving our dance meaning. How to imbue our movement with meaningfulness. My wish with this class is to encourage personal (and group) exploration. We all, I think, desire to live more meaningfully (whatever that might mean – something that’s up to each of us to determine – meaningfulness happens because we make whatever we’re doing meaningful). Giving our movement meaning can help us explore meaningfulness more generally. The class will also involve notions of presence, embodiment and conscious movement, and, I hope, we will move with inner strength and body-knowledge.

Sunday, September 4th
Moving with Presence. Presence is a nebulous concept. Impossible to pin down; you see someone moving, dancing, just entering a room, or being on stage, and your eye is caught and fascinated. What might be the elements which make for this numinous quality? My list includes: energy flowing outwards from the person to the watcher, relishing of detail, playfulness, vitality, communication, openness, individuality, mindfulness… So we will play with these qualities, also spending some time actively witnessing as well as being witnessed.

Sunday, September 11th
Moving with Beauty. Beauty might be regarded as a cultural construct to do with a certain kind of femininity which is not necessarily about sexiness, more about conformity to cultural aesthetics. We won’t be working with that notion of beauty, rather I wish us to work with inner beauty, with poise and delicacy. With radiance and a kind of non-egotistical self-confidence. We are what we are, and the self-respect and self-belief which can come with just being who we are, with no pretension at all, and the quality with which we move, can bring us to beauty.

Sunday, September 25th
Moving with Pleasure. There’s a whole school of performative work where pleasure and joy are at the core of bring a captivating performer. And it’s often least evident in professional dance where dancers can look like someone’s been shouting at them not to smile, or show any emotion in their faces. Such a pity! A class where we will focus on the pleasure of dance, on what might be the perfect music for an eclectic dance party. We’ll dance to a great range of joyful music from all over the world – Turkey included. Music to wipe away the blues, music for letting our hair down, music to celebrate our love of dance. And as there’s something subversive about pleasure, we’ll indulge ourselves as well. The pleasure which comes from letting go and being free.

Place: Dancentrum
Kısmet İş Merkezi, Harbiye Çayırı sokak No:3 Kat:4, Elmadağ, Taksim
(it’s a slow 10 minutes walk from Taksim, shortly after the Elysium & Ibis Styles hotels)