By Joan Dexter Blackmer
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Extra info for Acrobats of the Gods: Dance and Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 39)
Primitive dancers become possessed and perform superhuman feats in a state of ecstasy, their nascent egos totally eclipsed. A dancer whose training makes the body a partially conscious instrument, to some extent under the aegis of the ego, is still reaching for a piece of that ecstasynot consciously, perhaps, but nonetheless, as she or he strives for perfect line, elevation, control, rhythm, design, expression, the goal is to embody an archetypal image for others. Alas, this goal is all too often contaminated with the concupiscent ego's lust for fame.
Each class is a physical meditation. One ballet teacher crosses herself before starting each class, and everyone finishes with a reverence; first a bow to her own ballet master's photograph and then a bow to the crucifix in the opposite corner of the studio. These can be called "nothing but" gestures, yet often both student and teacher feel a numinous surge at the ritual. Another teacher I knew used to make a special point of sending her students out of the studio and then asking them to return, consciously, sensing the difference between the busy hallway outside and the quiet studio space.
And if you block it, it will never exist. The world will not have it. Martha Graham. Sport puts an exceptional valuation on the body, and this tendency is emphasized still further in modern dancing. The fascination of the psyche brings about a new self- appraisal, a reassessment of our fundamental human nature. We can hardly be surprised if this leads to a rediscovery of the body after its long subjugation to the spiritwe are even tempted to speak of the body's revenge upon the spirit. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
Acrobats of the Gods: Dance and Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 39) by Joan Dexter Blackmer