Do you ever feel stuck in your body? Like maybe the aches and pains are causing your body to curl in upon itself or you have a ball of stress sitting in your stomach that just won’t unknot? If so, here’s something that might help:
Moving to music.
There are many ways you can use music to get moving, whether for exercise or for a more expressive movement experience, as I’ve discussed on this blog before. Still, it can be hard to let go of all the inhibitions our culture promotes (“I don’t want to look silly! I can’t dance! I’ve got two left feet!”) and just move. Plus, when you’re dancing in your living room, it’s easy to run out of ideas for how to dance and just give up. (Confession: I dance in my living room. My daughter loves it!)
Enter MUVE. Created by Maggie Kunkel, MUVE is a method that helps you to let go and let the music guide your movements. Using recordings by musicians native to her home state of Hawaii and the Pacific, Maggie and her intergenerational team of Muvers lead spontaneous dancing inspired by the music. The center person, known as the Muse, shows various movements, and the viewers are encouraged to follow these loosely. Each MUVE dance is improvised – even the Muse is making it up on the spot. That means you, the viewer, can follow the Muse or make up your own moves.
Here are some of the pros and cons of this method as I see them:
- The music is beautiful. Even better, MUVE DVDs leave out the verbal instruction, so you can really be inspired by the music itself.
- This method emphasizes moving at your own level. You’re reminded to make movements as big or small as you want, or to make your steps jumpy or not. The emphasis is on making YOUR body feel good, not matching a defined choreography. That’s freeing, I think.
- The leaders demonstrate a great mix or movements large and small, fast and slow. Everyone should be able to find some inspiration for their own dancing.
- The visual images are a bit confusing. The graphics match up with MUVE principals like “enjoy music” and “elaborate.” I think that they’re supposed to provide additional inspiration for your movements, but I thought they were instructions I just didn’t know how to follow.
- The movements may be too vigorous for some. The Mellow MUVE DVD includes tracks for seated movements, but even these might be too much some folks in skilled nursing. If you want to use the MUVE DVDs in your long-term care facility, I would recommend having an activity staff person there to demonstrate or adapt the movements in a way that is safe and accessible for the residents.
Overall, I enjoyed the MUVE DVDs and will likely continue to share them with my daughter as she grows. I loved the freedom to move my body in ways that felt good, without paying attention to how I looked or whether I was doing it “right.”
You can learn more about MUVE here and try it out for yourself with the free Dance Along Video Blog.