Memories from the 33rd World Congress on Dance Research!

Striking a dance pose in front of
the Temple of Zeus
One of my focuses during the 2012 holiday season was a fundraiser to send a very special dance teacher - Morri-Lynn Buchanan - to Greece for the 33rd World Congress on Dance Research.  When she came back I was floored by the impact she had on others.  As many dance therapists were not even dancers, what she offered them in her seminars was an intimate knowledge of both movement and how it affected those she worked with.

The seeds of her knowledge are now planted in countries all over the world.  When it comes to real change for real people, this is often how it is accomplished.  One step at a time. I can only say how privileged I feel to have been a part of this in my own small way. I also want to encourage everyone to keep your eyes open and listen to your intuition.  There are so many ways to make a difference and the reward is so high.  Without further ado, here is a re-cap of her journey.

To read my article on this amazing teacher click HERE and for a few videos of her students click HERE.

by guest writer - Morri-Lynn Buchanan, dance teacher extraordinaire.

Dear Friends and Family!

Everybody has been asking ... well, how was it? My answer is to throw my hands up in the air and wave them and shout, "LIFE CHANGING!" It has taken me this long to be able to even try and put into words how much this trip meant to me, what I have come home with and how grateful I am to everybody who made it possible for me to go. THANKS to everybody - you all know who you are - who believed that this was something I was meant to do. Everything from donations to rides to cheers of support.

At the Acropolis

A day at the Ocean
The conference could have been held in someone's garage and still been life changing, but Greece was breath taking. At night there was no neon, just golden lights shining on white buildings and stone, giving it this soft glowing richness of history and culture. Sleeping only 4 hours a day EVERY DAY gave me so much time to reflect on everything, soak in the city and the conference and remember how lucky and blessed I am. Greece was incredible. The conference unforgettable.

View From the Hotel
My first class was about energy radiating from your belly button! HAHAHAHA! Well that was the beginning of wonderful energy for me. I had so much energy radiating off my body from all the classes I took I was positively nuclear. At one point one day, I had to leave the room because my hair was standing up straight. I was so buzzed, I figure it must be better then any drugs could ever be. Many lectures made me laugh and cry and smile and relate. The delegates were incredible. Their love for what they do, their positive energy, their support and their expertise cannot even be described in words. The biggest challenge for most of the people I met was to get their point across in the time allotted. I found that interesting since dance runs on time limits. I just adhered to them from the start, so I wasn't stressed like so many others. I think Mona (my Canadian counterpart) felt the same way.

Love this group photo with several amazing people!

My first contribution was my lecture. You all would be proud of me. I dressed up, I came prepared and I taught the world that Dance IS Therapeutic. No words describe..... Maria rushed up after I finished the lecture portion sobbing on my shoulder telling me how amazing the speech was. I whispered, "not done yet, the video is still loading". She laughed and sat down behind me. When I reached the portion of my speech that included the personal stories of so many people that have touched me over the years. I was thinking that I wished I had 20 more minutes to include so many more of you! I tried to touch on many different stories that I felt showed the therapeutic benefits of dance for student, teacher and audience. I worked hard not to cry because all of you have meant so much to me and I knew I needed to tell the world that. The video was well delivered and edited by my daughter, Fiona. Many of you were represented. It came to an end and the entire room was crying buckets. People were grasping my hands and thanking me. People were hugging me. Dr. Raftis ( the president of CID) , with tears in his eyes said, " Canada, what am I to do about you? You have all my delegates in tears!" Mona couldn't have been more proud. So many people said how inspired they were. The room cried and I cried while our dancers danced and showed the world that dance is therapeutic.

My second contribution was much different. A dance class that didn't make people feel good all over. Instead I chose to teach the people what it feels like to be autistic and we took a journey through the 7 senses of autism. They were unable to do the simple combination while exploring all those feelings. They kept trying to return to their comfort place which was a circle and I'd push them out of that. They struggled, they learned, they laughed, they explored, they connected to their senses and took the journey. Some cried a little. So many told me afterwards that what I had done was perfect. I took them somewhere they had never been and gave them insight to something very important because most of them worked with "autism" in their dance therapy classes. I developed this class at home with the advanced girls and their input was priceless. The class was what it was because of their help and I have all of them to thank. One young girl at the dinner that night told me that she met up with her boyfriend and couldn't stop talking about my class. She showed him the "hand trick" (Carmen's idea) and he was totally blown away by what I had done and he wasn't even there.

With a couple of the GREAT volunteers
Hugs shared as we all said goodbye.

Let me tell you about just some of the amazing delegates I had the honour of spending time with. These were just a select few of so many. Words can't go deep enough to describe their contribution to the conference or to me personally ----

Seda from Turkey. She does what I do. She believes in inclusiveness. Her class and lecture were touching and well delivered despite many technical difficulties.  Not her fault - just a result of OLD equipment. She would softly say, "That's okay, we can do this, we'll just do it in a different way..." And she would find ways to make it all work very calmly. I wrote in my journal, "Special, soft, compassionate, giving, young... how exciting!"

Federica from Check her out. BEAUTIFUL inside and out. A lovely flower in her hair that caught my attention as I always wear something in mine.  We had that in common when we met. I cried through her entire video presentation - Dance Therapy for WORLD PEACE! This girl is moving mountains.

Maria from Mexico. I heard hear "laughing" big voice from the back of the room and felt this huge energy step up to the podium. SURPRISE! I had met her before on the street walking opposite directions. I was staring at her because there was something amazing about her aura. A stranger to me, I said, " I love your coat", which I did, but it was more then the coat. She replied , "Thank-you" and said to me later , "I thought to myself , that woman must be an artist". She is working with women in Mexico, using her form of therapeutic dance and using her passion and energy to create something so special. She cried through everything I presented and did. She called me "Millie" pronounced it "Mee-lee" and told me I was a millennium woman worth a million. I felt the same about her.

Richard. He cried for the people who he worked with, who gave their permission to him to discover the benefits of dance therapy for people with dementia.

Father and daughter team Agnes and Pierre Dru from Martinique. Their singing and dancing was magic and all I can say is if I took their class every day I wouldn't have to sleep ever again till the day I died!

The older idea what her name was, who just stopped in the middle of the hotel lobby, raised her hand and I raised mine in this "high five" of energy exchange that had no words and needed none. She stood up at the final address and thanked everybody responsible for the success of this congress and basically spoke for all of us with eloquence, love and intellect.

Adrianna. A physiotherapist with a soft spoken passion for her life's work. She wants to share it with the world.

Mona from 5678-Showtime represented Canada proudly and stepped out of the box to show the world how passionate about dance we Canadians are. I appreciate and respect all her love and support to the whole trip.

202 people registered for the conference. 31 countries from 5 continents were represented. 146 presentations, 45 research reports, 41 lectures, 42 classes, 10 video projections, 8 exhibitions, 11 university professors from 6 countries were on the scientific committee plus 28 CID volunteers. I lost count of the number of people who said my lecture and class where the best. Since I know how amazing the lectures and classes I went to were, I was stunned at the response. I am proud to be Canadian and proud to say I represented all of you the best way I knew how.

Much love and thank-you......