A Dance Movement Exploration 

Maria Sangiorgi

Dance Movement Therapist  Adv. Dip. IDTIA – Australia 

CIDS Dance Therapy Congress, Athens 2012

. . . is Inspired by

  • Traditional Egyptian Dance and all oriental dance forms.
  • The primary source of movement to all of life and the universe : spirals, curves and waves and vibrations
  • Indigenous dance from all over the world
  • The inner movement and shaping of the all body systems; fluid, skeletal, muscular etc., the spiralling DNA
  • Spiritual  Connection – Esoteric Healing – Kundalini – Energy Centres / Chakras – Energy Field
  • Dance Movement Therapy

MY somatic exploration

  • Alexander Technique
  • Body Mind Centring
  • Ideokinisis
  • Authentic Movement
  • Feldenkrais
  • Laban
  • Ritual/Shamanic Dance
  • Butoh
  • Embodied Bellydance®
  • Dance Movement Therapy
  • Continuum Movement

Embodied Bellydance®

Embodied bellydance® (EBD) is a format I have developed from 23 years of teaching Bellydance. It holds the same linage  as SensingFeelingDancing the Chakras, but focuses on teaching dance technique, whilst embracing a therapeutic model which includes woking with the Chakras.

In turn SFD the Charka is influenced by EBD. It uses exercises related to particular body parts that are the home of each Chakra as a part of the warm up 

Raqs sharqi 

Raqs means Dance in Arabic

Sharqi mean East

It follow the same principals of spirals curves and waves. Mimic the double helix of DNA; the spiralling structure of our bones, muscles, connective tissue, blood flow and so on. The spiralling nature of the Universe and the weaving and spinning of the Energy Centres or Chakric Centres of our bodies. 

Raqs Sharqi and the Chakric system both move energy up and down the spine, weaving and spinning around the  central axis called the Sushumna Nadi,.There are also the left and the right channels; the Ida and Pingala Nadis.

 Raqs Baladi

  • Baladi means of the People
  • Raqs Baladi was born on the streets of Cairo around the turn of the 20th century. In its purity it is an improvised dance to improvised music. Baladi  music is akin to American Blues, Spanish Flamenco and Greek Rembetika. 
  • It is commonly danced on the spot

combined systems

raqs Charka

Raqs Baladi, is the physical manifestation of the weaving journey through the Chakras as was mentioned before. 

At first the work was called Raqs Chakra with a focus on Bellydance. Over time the work progressed to a DMT  process that I together with my group of loyal attendees named SensingFeelingDancing the Charkas. (SFD the Chakras)

Photo courtesy of www.ketisharif.com

The Chakras

The 7 main Chakras are energy centres located along the spine, from the tail bone to the top of the head. Also called the Subtle system.

Candace Pert in her book “Molecules of Emotion” (who has work with dance therapist including Dr Levathal) calls the Chakras the minibrain. she says “These minibrains reside in the midline of your body, where there is also an endocrine gland and a major nerve plexus. The seven endocrine glands are fed by their associated chakras. The endocrine glands manufacture hormones and supply them to the bloodstream, where they are carried to the organs and tissues in your body. The seven nerve plexuses, which are also located along your spinal cord, are responsible for transmitting nerve impulses. They are also dense with neuropeptides. 

Neuropeptides have been dubbed the “molecules of emotion” as they are the chemistry associated with our emotions. They do not rely on transmission through the nervous system. If you are experiencing happiness, for example, you will find neuropeptides associated with happiness in your body; if you are sad, there will be ”sad” neuropeptides in your body, and so forth.

Each of the seven areas that contain these structures can be seen as a model of the bodymind. Your endocrine gland represents your body; the neuropeptides your emotions; the nerve plexus correlates with your mind; the subtle energy of the chakra correlates with your spirit.  

If a chakra is damaged it may cause disruption in the function of its associated endocrine gland. And, because the activity of the endocrine glands and nerve plexuses is interrelated and interdependent, if an endocrine gland isn’t functioning properly, it may affect your entire bodymind.”

One must also take care working with the Chakras, Judy Jacka in her book Synthesis of Healing states that, “The Base Chakra houses the Kundalini ‘fire’, which rises up the spine after all the Chakras have become activated and vitalised.  It can be raised prematurely by unwise meditation practices, such as concentrating for long periods on the lower Chakras or through the use of hallucinogenic drugs: if this happens serious health problems can result” 

Base Chakra

Muladhara Charka

Governed by the Adrenal glands, bones and the Spine

Pre-birth – Choosing to be Born

Standing Present Rooted to Earth

Will to Survive

Element – Earth

Colour – Red

The Seat of the Kundalini

Sacral Chakra

Svadhisthana Charka

Governed by the Reproductive Organs

Relationship to other & the world

Childhood – Innocence

Joy – Gay Abandon

Wise use of Food, Sex & Money 

Element Water

Colour Orange

Solar Plexus Chakra

Manipura Charka

Governed by the Panaceas and the digestive system. 

The sweetness in our lives

Desires, wants, needs & greed

I stand in my Power


Element Fire

Colour Yellow

Heart Chakra

Anahata Charka

Governed by the Heart & Thymus gland. 

Unconditional & transpersonal love for self and others


Balance by the solar plexus manifesting wisdom – love

Element Air

Colour Green

Throat Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra

Governed by the thyroid and Para thyroid glands

The seat of communication


Words and the voice of silence

Creative expression

Balanced by the Sacral centre manifesting Creative Intelligence

Element Ether

Colour Blue

Third Eye Chakra

Ajna Charka

Governed by the Pituitary gland

The Conductor of all the energy centres

Synthesis of our Journey

The way in

Inner and outer vision

Mediative state, door to inner peace

Element Light

Colour Indigo

Crown Charka

Sahasrara Chakra

Governed by Pineal Gland

Spiritual home

At one with God/Universe 

Know thy true Purpose

Balanced with the Base manifesting as Spiritual Will

Element Thought

Colour Violet / White

Sahasrara Chakra

Governed by Pineal Gland

Spiritual home

At one with God/Universe 

Know thy true Purpose

Balanced with the Base manifesting as Spiritual Will

Element Thought

Colour Violet / White

Eighth charka

The Etheric Soul Centre around 12 cm above the crown. Returning home to the source. 

The total of the souls journey. 

Connecting the past, present and future. 


the chakras

Sensing our way through the Chakras, we acknowledge our deep & potentially transforming feelings 

feeling where that takes us now today through Movement & dance

dancing the expression of what we feel & Sense

Sensing our truth in the feeling

feeling the need to dance


Sensing feelindancing

Five part session  in the tradition of Dr Marcia Levanthal IDTIA training.

Warm up:  Sit in a circle; Setting intention through Diamond Meditation*.  Guided meditation & visualisation through the charkas with emphasis on the featured chakra, attuning to the physical, emotional and spiritual selves

Release: Moving into the featured chakra using Embodied Bellydance® framework

*Diamond Meditation, is based on the use of Triangles of light in Esoteric Healing. In this work it is used to connect members of the group to a common goal and to a global matrix of other being working with the same intention. THE GOOD OF ALL. 

Theme: Dancing the featured chakra, facilitated through music and questions and statements given by me that are answered with dance, drawing and writing. 

Centring: Grounding and bringing consciousness back to the present and the group. Dancing as a group. Finding a conclusion through dance, drawing and writing. 

Closure: back to the circle. Sharing a movement Sitting sharing experience of dance, drawing, writing.  Closing meditation. 

*Diamond Meditation, is based on the use of Triangles of light in Esoteric Healing. In this work it is used to connect members of the group to a common goal and to a global matrix of other being working with the same intention. THE GOOD OF ALL. 

My personal exploration

This experience proved to be more than I expected for a number of reasons, one is that it allowed me to really participate in my own work and  to consolidate the years I had spent facilitating this for others.

Dancing the Charkas also involved preparing a loop for music that went for 1/2 an hour for each dance. As I want through the process of looping together the music, I was visualising the potential of each track. I really enjoyed that I was putting together this music for me and no one else. Although now that it is done it is ready to be shared with others.

I would close the door to my movement room and enter  the dance and as the dance entered me, the rest of my life melted away. 

There was only me, no responsibility for other. I danced with the intention, the gift that each Chakra gave me. Always coming back to the whole.  My overall experience was that it did not matter what state I was in when I entered the dance, tired, angry, happy and so on, I came out each time  feeling uplifted and revitalised. The dance bought up many things, sadness, negative emotions, insights etc. I danced them to another level. As I danced the drawings began to appear in my mind.  I began to draw as soon as the music stopped, I did not always finish them there and then so the dance continued. 

Breathing into the Bones into the legs into the earth.

A dance of the spine undulating close to the ground to the sound of earth ancient sounds of the Didgeridoo. 

Grounding: Feeling weight strongly with all the weight on one leg then the other. 

Dancing with percussive instruments

A dance of the feet  and legs pounding the ground, make a statement to heavy rhythmic drums.

Moving through space with purpose. The feet know where to go

Breathing into the fluid system, into the pelvis.

Legs supporting the pelvis, together creating circles and figure 8 movements. Music rhythmic and fluid. 

Dancing the fluid feeling of water as it moves in, around and through the pelvic bown.  Music sensual and slow.

Dancing the fast rhythmic movement of the legs as they shake from the ground up shaking the water of the pelvic bowl. Releasing the organs in in the Pelvic area

Leaping hoping skipping.

Music fluid, fun, sensual, sexy. 

Breathing into Belly the Navel 

Breathing into the organs of the belly. 

Moving from the organs

Emotional music. 

Opening an closing from the navel/belly Moving in all directions from the navel, lying down, standing up. horizontally vertically. 

Determined music with personality

Dancing the  the “I” the vertical self sagital self.

Dancing the warm of the sun in your belly. 

Breathing deeply into the Lungs

Feeling the palms of the hands. 

Open arms open hands lifting to the heavens supported by the lungs, radiating out from the Heart and back again.

Light airy music.  Music that pulls at your heart strings, that make you cry. Music that is uplifting that files you with joy. 

Dancing with  Veils. Dancing with out stretched arms. Feeling like a tree with branches and leaves blowing in the wind.  

Feeling the heart open and vulnerable

Sounding Chanting with no music, allowing the sound to become movement. 

circling the throat and the shoulders. Dancing the face the mouth the ears the nose

music that has vocals, music that makes you sing. music that inspires you creative senses and also connects your throat to the pelvis. 

introducing smells and things to taste. 

drawing, writing, making, creating to your dance

Eyes closed breathing and looking into the music. Introspective music looking into your centres 

Through your inner vision conducting the your body parts 

Following your intuition.

Dancing blinded folded.

Allowing the whole body to relax release and enter a trance like state and abandon one self to the music. Music repetitive and spiritually up lifting

Turning and Spinning, Sufi dance. 

Connecting to the whole self. seeing visions, aspirations, dreams, allowing them to move you. 

Finding the centre axis the centre of self. Breathing the whole, keep coming back to the whole.

Moving the connection between Earth and heaven

Music angelic, mystical, spiritual. 

Dancing the impressions that come into your mind/thoughts. 

The Solar Plexus Dance

The following is description of a short experiential that I facilitation at the Dance Movement Therapy Conference in 2007.

The Solar Plexus Charka being the“I” charka and the feeling centre,  also hold part of the beginning. 

Before we are bones (base Charka) before we touch the earth, we are Navel/Belly.

From the Navel we are attached to our mother In Utero via the Umbilical Cord.

I used principals of Embodied Bellydance® and inspired by Body Mind Centrings – “Navel Radiation”  Everything begins with or move through the navel. Navel as a primary source of movement that sends waves of energy undulates through and from the navel, radiating in all directions. 

Opening and closing like a flower. 

The Navel is the Driver

“Spine-navel” – behind the navel in front of the spine

All facilitated by the BREATH

Feel the support of the floor

Validating bones, soften and release them.

Guided visualisation to connect each Charka to the Solar Plexus charka

Breathing in the Navel rises to the ceiling , breathing out the navel falls to the floor

An effective way to engage to whole physical and mental body quickly

Be a ballon full of water.  As you breath in the water fills the whole ballon. As you breath out you deflate, empty.

Imagine that the ballon is being rolled by another;

Feel the water tipping from one side to the other from one end to the other.

coming back to the breath and the Navel

The Breath

Creating  a deep connection to expanding and contracting, with the belly/navel as the centre or the motor that drives the movement.

Include limbs, head and tail.  

What do I want, what do I need

The music changed. The predominant theme was expanding and contracting, opening and closing to feel the support of the Solar Plexus.  

I can feel it in my Gut

As the music became more rhythmic and trance like, and got faster and faster, so did the dance.  

The process ended with time for the movers to consolidate by drawing and writing, finishing in a feedback circle, where I asked each person to share their process using three words. 

What participants from weekly sessions  had to say about SFD the Chakras

Taking this journey through my body, and my soul/my self, connected me as a whole and drew my attention to parts of me I had neglected/abused/over-indulged, the colours; the music; the drawing all pulled this together in the ONE that is ME –

Judith Kavermann  Implementation Co-ordinator VP

My experience of dancing the Chakras allowed me to integrate a traumatic event that had occurred in my life and helped me find connection and healing within my body, mind and spirit. 

 I remember the safe and sacred space that was created to allow me to explore the Charkas though movement and creativity. I loved the freedom of expression. I was humbled by the support I found in the other women of the group. It opened my heart, mind and body to new possibilities. I really enjoyed the experience and it has inspired me greatly, the dancing and you Maria have played a large role in who I am today and what I aspire to be as a therapist. 

Sarah Crisp – Transpersonal art therapy student

 It was beautiful.  I loved the way you harmonised the colours of the props with the relevant chakra colour, and provided music and  activities that were totally appropriate to the function of that chakra.  It felt as though it pulled  energy from all over my body to be channelled to and through that chakra, so that I got a much clearer sense of the feeling and function of the chakra. 

Helena McCallum Psychologist

We were all deeply connected in joyful self expression. it has been a profoundly unforgettable experience.  

Naomi Martin, Massage Therapist, Mother

It was my life blood when working through difficult times, a profound way to communicate with my soul and a wondorous healing practice in a beautifully held and supported environment. 

Andrea ,(Participated in the dance for 5 years, accident trauma victim )

“I was able to connect with so many deep and joyous parts of myself, dance is such a liberating form to immerse yourself in, and for this I’m always grateful to Maria for opening up a space where I could feel free to explore my soul without fear.” 

Jessica – poet and mother of two


Taking into consideration what Candace Pert’s research has found about  neuropeptides – “Molecules of Emotion”,  we need to understand the Chakras as an intrinsic part of the healing mechanism. They are not an abstract notion but something real and concrete. Then there is no better way than the creative arts especially movement and dance to give the neuropeptides the good time feeling they need to help us to be. By using the personality of each of the Chakras give us a beautiful palet of expressions for movement and dance to assist in the transformation and change that movement and dance gives. 


Candace B. Pert PhD, Molecules of Emotion, The Science behind Mind-Body Medicine. Scribner, 1997

Judy Jacka, p. 58, Synthesis in Healing, 2003.

Didgeridoo music is deep and earthy 

The circular breathy drone of the Didgeridoo helps to connect to gravity.

Go slow

“What do I want, What do I need”