Indian-Australian choreographer Ashley Lobo, who is also the founder and artistic director of Danceworx Academy and Navdhara Theatre, says that for dancers, dance is the workout and their gym and naturally, their fitness companion.
The noted choreographer speaks to IANSlife on achieving mental and physical health through dance. Excerpts:
Dancing comes naturally to everyone from a baby to an adult. How does it spark mental and physical joy?
Yes, that is true, dancing is a natural movement and because it connects the mind and body it sparks mental and physical joy. You don’t need to be the perfect dancer, you have to just want to move your body. Close yourself to everything else, play the music you like and sway away. Dance helps you liberate yourself and it is what makes you feel happy. Today the world has come to a standstill, we are all in shock and dance can help keep the calm and balance our bodies and minds. Dance, for yourself, dance because it is the most natural thing for us to do.
Being a dancer yourself, your thoughts ln dance being a fitness companion as well?
When you exercise, be it dance or any other form, you become flexible and that is the first step in staying healthy. Dance also builds strength and stamina which are other requirements to keep fit and healthy. Also, do not forget, dance helps you ease out socially and sociability is quite another way of staying in the groove. For dancers, dance is the workout and their gym and naturally their fitness companion.
Dancing is the best cardio workout. Do you agree?
Cardio has been designed to increase your heart rate and sweat you out – what one does in dance is a form of cardio like aerobics was a craze years ago. Dance helps keeps the muscles moving and the heart is ultimately a muscular organ so inevitably dance helps it stay conditioned. Dance also gives the body strength training – which is important to keep your heart healthy. Not to forget that dance gives the body flexibility which is a way to keep your movement smooth and comfortable. And most importantly, dancing is also fun and a happy person means a happy heart.
Speaking about your technique Prana Paint, how is it an exercise in spirituality and holistic health?
Prana Paint is a technique that involves a unique sensitizing approach through yoga, breath, connectivity and touch. Prana is a Sanskrit word for life force or energy. The key in this technique is to listen to the body rather than tell it and, to allow rather than to create. It involves various experiential exercises from floor to skin to air that are used to get the person closer to accepting themselves fully and activate the prana flow.
In our world today, we need to look at things that matter more closely than chase things which are not meant to be. Prana Paint helps you to adopt a more expansive approach to listen to yourself – which is your body and mind and calms you to do what is best.