Paintings and drawings by Madhuri; “Dancing is perhaps the most direct and total way to be alive.”
How incredibly lucky we were, to live with a Master who understood that dance is one of the basic human functions; one of the basic languages of our species. That dancing is perhaps the most direct and total way to be alive. I had had a few years’ dance training as a teen, and when I went into Sannyas I joyfully let the training go and just danced – like all of us – swooping, gliding, twirling, eyes closed, arms raised in hallelujah at this present, oh-so-living moment. Daily we danced! Dynamic, Kundalini, Music Group, before Discourse, at discos, in festivals – we danced as easily as we walked.
When I finally went out into the world at age 53, I fully expected to have a dancing life – what other sort was there? But instead I found grim, worried people in cars and houses, isolated, trying to get things done. Dancing, if it was done at all, was only for parties, once in a long while. I found this terrible!
In a relationship with a beautiful, quiet man, I dragged him to Ballroom classes and Country-Western dance halls, where he gamely tried to bring a sort of mathematical calculation to the thing. I took classes in Line Dancing, Tango – but it wasn’t enough. So I’d put on music and dance at home, when my man was at work – I’d be running up and down the hallways, arms in the air, head thrown back, astonishing the cat.
I was also at that time rediscovering a joy in drawing and painting, which in the communes I’d been too busy to do. Drawing is a very personal thing, and I’d been consumed in commune life… I’m no artist, have no idea what I’m doing, so I just threw myself into it instinctually, like dancing. I’d eat a piece of chocolate, put on music, and set to with paints and paper and dancing, all more or less at once. It was a way to bring the great swooping movements in me out and express them.
Much later, in England, I’d go to 5Rhythms classes and also occasionally teach at festivals at Osho Leela, where dancing is a big part of daily life. There, in an art class, I drew the funky chicken pictures, after seeing a young communard doing this wonderful playful step during a morning gathering.
Now, at 70, I have a very dodgy knee – and have to be very careful what I do with it – but the dance is still as alive in me as ever – just not expressed outwardly as much. This is a regret!
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