art & yoga blog

art & yoga :: off like a prom dress

A number of sketches have been pasted to the wall of a tunnel that leads from street to subway in Manhattan. I love this one especially (cell phone snap). It gently nags me to write down my thoughts about the connections between art and yoga.

The connections between dance and yoga are seemingly more obvious than other forms of art, given that both are movement oriented, and there are many dancers in the yoga world. I know nothing about dance (or opera or theater or any of the performance arts, really) but I’ve always gone out of my way to see it. Not knowing is where my bliss comes. I’m not tempted to analyze or judge. I’m simply absorbed by the beauty of moving bodies in front of me. This absorption in the moment is yoga, and it is also art. It’s also, I imagine, where the performers need to be to pull off a powerful show. No more thought. Only the execution of what’s been learned and internalized.

I was talking about dance titles recently, which brings to mind one of my favorites: Off Like a Prom Dress (which reminds me of a fantastic Aussie saying, “a gownless evening strap.”) Friend and yoga teacher, Jessica Dixon Majka, was in this performance last month (choreography by Kara Tatelbaum) at Dance New Amsterdam.

“Off Like a Prom Dress” (2010) excerpt from Kara Tatelbaum on Vimeo.

While the physical practice of yoga might be easier for dancers, the relationship between body and mind might not be. Because dancers are trained to use their bodies as instruments, learning to be with the body rather than guide it can be difficult. Depending on training, a dancer might be inspired to move through the asanas easily, without connecting, in a way someone entirely unaware of his body might not. In this way, learning a different relationship of mind, breath, and body can be transformative. I wonder what effects this has when taken back into dance.