Sheila K. Collins Website



December 2011 

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I'm back to one of my favorite themes this month, after discovering three amazing resources that have stretched and deepened my way of thinking about the topic. Dance looks simple, but, according to an article in Psychology Today, it's a radical act, taking us beyond the values of modern western culture.

And, if you want to really understand something complex, take the words out and use dance to explain it. I hope you enjoy these amazing ways that dance is being used to help us better understand the world around us and ourselves.

And accept my good wishes for a happy, healthy, dancing 2012! 

Sheila Collins 




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Let It Be A Dance 

I'm done shopping and wrapping and shipping gifts for this year.  And I don't have anything on my wish list that I would like to receive. It's not that I'm one of those people who has everything. It's that what I want to give and get isn't a "thing."


The research on happiness confirms what most of us past a certain age already know, it's relationships and experiences that bring happiness. And I'm fairly sure that putting the two together is an unbeatable combination. What is priceless to me now are the memories of several holiday family ski trips to New Mexico, where we stayed in a house so special it had its own name, "Toad Hall."

ScopeI smile just thinking about another December when we drove from Cancun to ancient ruins nearby, seven of us family members squashed into a 15 year old broken down Valarie. And yes, we sang the song, "Valarie, oh, oh, oh, oh." 


I'm glad I knew this early, about the importance of experiences and relationships to a person's happiness. It seems I've always known it, but reading the article, To Dance is a Radical Act, by Kimerer LaMothe in a recent Psychology Today told me what I can credit for this wisdom.  


"Dance challenges the values that fund modern western culture," according to Kimerer. Since I've been dancing since I was three years old, I didn't get totally caught in the mind over body value. "When you dance, you know we are not minds in containers called bodies. We are bodies. And movements are what enable us to think and feel and act" - in other words to experience.  


"You can have your experience, even it you can't fully articulate it." This InterPlay principle gets at the truth that many of our most cherished or profound experiences cannot be communicated in words.  Against the value of the primacy of words in western culture, Rimerer describes dance as radical because dancing "implies that there are forms of knowing that cannot be mediated to us in words, which give words their meaning." 


Taking this a step further, a dancer friend, Cynthia Winton-Henry, sent me a TEDxBrussels presentation by scientist John Bohannon.   


Bohannon uses a dance company to help him describe the interactions of lasers, photons, atoms, and super fluids. "If you are trying to give someone the big picture of a complex idea, the fewer words you use the better - in fact the ideal would be to use no words at all. " This belief has caused him to establish a contest, Dance Your PHD that looks to award the best dance interpretation of scientific doctoral work.  


On this occasion of the ending of one year and the beginning of another, we can begin again to have more of the happiness that comes from relationships and fully embodied experiences. I wish this for you and for myself.  As Rimerer says it, "Dance for the span of the universe that you are... to play with the movement that is making us." And have a happy, healthy, dancing 2012.  


Sheila K. Collins 2011


InterPlay Performance Jam
InterPlay Pittsburgh and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater present:

InterPlay Performance Jam

Sunday January 15
4 - 5:30 pm
Dance Alloy Studios
5530 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh PA. 15206
(one building from Negley next to Babyland)
Adults - $15, Students/Seniors - $10

Join Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players and our special out of town guests, Ginny Going, Tom Henderson and Soyinka Rahim for an artfully playful Sunday afternoon.

First, you will learn InterPlay forms that are fun to perform and artful to watch. Then, sit back and savor your experience as a Witness, supporting the performers with the spirit of Affirmation.

Or, let your bodyspirit pull you up to:
~ tell, move, or sing a story
~ make something up on the spot
~ join in someone else's offering
~ or call for an InterPlay form for the joy of it!

People of all ages and physical abilities and challenges are welcome. No experience needed; just a willingness to explore and have FUN! You can't do it wrong! If you play a musical instrument, bring it along - you just might feel like playing it.

Questions? Call 817 706-4967



Tom Henderson and Ginny Going are community artists, teachers, performers, and organizational consultants. They co-direct Off the Deep End Ensemble, an InterPlay-based performance group in Raleigh N. C. and lead InterPlay events across the country.  Tom is a Ph.D. organic chemist and Ginny is an ordained minister with business management experience. They have four grown daughters and three grandsons and are both "recovering serious people."  




Sheila K. Collins, PhD 
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