Columbia, SC Edition
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Azul Conscious Movement Dance: The Express Train to Awakening

Every human possesses an innate style of individual expression that manifests through body language, movement and gestures. When set to rhythm or music, these natural, flowing expressions and movements combine to create a spontaneous sequence, or “dance,” that transmits, receives and releases energy and emotion, promoting freedom, power and awareness. Although today we may only associate dance with entertainment, fitness or stress reduction, it has been utilized for centuries to create a sense of belonging and is an integral part of ceremonies and festivals. In 2013, a new mode of dance, Azul Conscious Movement, was created as an active meditation practice, similar to yoga, that honors the personal transformation and journey of one’s soul.

    Azul Conscious Movement is a personal invitation to explore the creative and spiritual power of dance through alignment with nature, heart and source. Anne Marie Cockrell has created a sacred living space (a sanctuary, if you will) on Sunday mornings, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Azul Dance Church, in the Skyline Room at the Tapp’s Arts Center, in Columbia. This month’s session is on Sunday, April 21. Participants will sweat, laugh and cry together while leaving all expectations at the door.   

    While not a “religion,” each Azul session embraces a positive spiritual message to heighten awareness, release past blocks, stimulate inner healing and intelligence, and deepen enlightenment. It is recognized as a psycho-spiritual approach based on the realization that in this lifetime our greatest work is to heal the wounded parts of our being and discover and uncover our unique individual gifts to reach full potential. Conscious awakening for many people is predicated on breaking free of self-limiting paradigms or foundational beliefs that no longer serve a purpose. Time spent in conscious movement allows gentle release of these stumbling blocks or distractions, leading to clarity, joy and truth.

    Each session emanates a family or community feel, and students are encouraged to move in the way that seems most natural and necessary. The journey to discover unbridled truth with no cultural, social, age or racial boundaries—exposing only real and raw emotion—is awaiting. Judgment or criticism is not tolerated; the atmosphere is a healthy, safe and loving environment devoid of fear, awkwardness or embarrassment. No movement is ever “wrong,” as exploration of identity, gifts, desire and compassion are encouraged. Experience is not required. Those with physical challenges are welcome to participate alongside seasoned dancers. ALL are welcome! Although Cockrell guides participants with words and cues to provide a deeper experience, the movements are improvisational, effortless and smooth. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended, and shoes are not required.

    Cockrell has a degree in movement studies and dance therapy from the Naropa Institute and is a certified Azul Conscious Movement teacher. She previously held the Sunday Morning Dance at a local studio that was home to the Columbia Conscious Dance Tribe. Dance is a healing art, and it is Cockrell’s passion to create a community that supports personal transformation.

Cost: $10-$20 (tickets are on a sliding scale).Location: Tapp’s Arts Center, 1644 Main St., Columbia. For more information, call 803-771-6661, or visit TappsArtsCenter.com or RolfingColumbia.com.

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