The Language of Movement: Introduction

Monday 14/12/2020

In the new year, I will be publishing a series of posts about the language of movement, with features on the works of creative dance educator Barbara Mettler, and of yoga teacher Vanda Scaravelli (1908-1999), also the works of:

filmmaker Dario Argento,

psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk (and his contemporaries), and

poet Sarah Westcott (whose 2016 book Slant Light and, forthcoming book Bloom can be bought directly from Pavilion Poetry at Liverpool University Press )

As an overweight (big foodie, clinically depressive, music mag junkie) teen, finding ways to slim through gentle controlled movement (I couldn’t have bounced around the netball court) felt like discovering the holy grail.

I worshipped Judy Alter, author of Stretch and Strengthen, and evangelized about her methods, which taught me to walk! I had “walked” for some time, but had learned (to my own detriment) to sit down for more than half the day, and to drag my feet. Simple practices and principles of rehabilitative stretching and strengthening allowed me to recover the ability to run (comfortably), and to dance. 

I’m certainly not athletic, nor a dancer, or a yogi (in any lofty sense), but maintaining or gaining freedom of movement, as a necessity for self expression, and as a way towards feeling free, has (for many years) felt fundamental to my existence.

Barbara Mettler worked on the principle that dance is a basic human need. She referred to dance as the language of movement, the universal language, and the primary art form. In these posts, I’ll explore the meanings behind the movement, as well as the ways we write about movement, and I’ll share some of my own creative writing on this theme.

Published by Kay Keenan

Kay Keenan writes poetry and fiction, and her story "Shoes and Trews and Shell Dust" was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction prize, and published in their anthology "with one eye on the cows". She works as a holistic therapist in the country of Cumbria.

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