I am part of a monthly discussion group, inspired by Scilla Elworthy, called Rising Women Rising World. It is open to both men and women. We explore how to develop more of the feminine in the world, as a balance to the masculine, especially its shadow side, which has prevailed for so long. (Or you may prefer yin and yang).
At our last meeting one of our group who is a professional dancer, described the process of creating a dance. Her description seemed so relevant to how we think about complex systems, especially how we feel about, recognise, work with, as well as create them, that I reproduce her words here, as close to verbatim as my memory allowed.
Dancers cooperate to produce a dance piece.
The only way to produce a good dance performance is with cooperation. But the other important factors are to really know yourself first and what you are capable of, and to be at peace with yourself, so that you can honestly communicate your capability to the other dancers, aware that understating or exaggerating might lead to injury.
Then, with a blend of negotiation, the direction of the choreographer, flexibility, team work, understanding all the strengths and weaknesses in the participants, and connection between all the dancers, the performance is born.
For the process to work, the choreographer needs to give tasks that are within reach of the dancers. In finding their individual way to explore the task, each dancer will be making a creative contribution to which any other dancer, aware of the other’s capability, may respond and carry forward.
There is a flux of information, rooted in knowledge and experience, in which each person’s character and personality is important to the task. Years of self-discipline and self-motivation contribute to the beauty of the finished performance.
This description and its elements, also brought to mind David Bohm’s description from On Dialogue:
From time to time, the tribe (a North American Indian tribe) gathered in a circle. They just talked and talked and talked, apparently to no purpose. They made no decisions. There was no leader. And everybody could participate.
There may have been wise men or wise women who were listened to a bit more – the older ones – but everybody could talk.
The meeting went on, until it finally seemed to stop for no reason at all and the group dispersed. Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do, because they understood each other so well. Then they could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things.
And finally, TS Eliot:
…Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.