Biodanza, meaning to dance with life, is a fusion of music, movement and emotion. It is a scientifically proven system of personal development aimed at raising your ability to communicate from the Heart, to improve the quality of your relationships and your sense of well being and happiness.
"Have you ever danced until you flew? Danced so hard, so fast, so freely that you reach a level of overwhelming, ecstatic joy? If you haven’t you should – it can change your life." Mike Aldridge, Ecstasy through Dance, Namaste, Vol 9, January/February 2001.
For details of classes, please see News
In young dancers and adults, regulation of growth hormones supports beneficial corporal and bone health
An opportunity to discover what everyone is talking about! New weekly Biodanza classes. As seen on BBC 2, 'Making Slough Happy', with rave reviews. If you enjoy music, dancing, meeting interesting people and having fun, you'll love Biodanza! We use an eclectic and vibrant mix of Uplifting Latin music, Tribal drums, Soothing Classical,Hip Swaying Soul, Pulsating and Synchronising Music from around the World to move and groove you! Thank God it's Friday! Release the stress of the week. Enjoy the weekend more. Come alone or bring friends. Bring a friend for FREE! (First timers to Biodanza only). Singles welcome. No steps to learn! If you have 'two left feet' even better, this will help you adjust and to begin to love dancing again!
Here is a small clip on You Tube of Biodanza at a huge festival I taught in Holland.
Simple and direct
It works by opening people’s sense of joy, self esteem and self confidence. It’s simple, direct and immediate. Ten minutes into a class, most people have already connected with their sense of inner joy – a joy similar to that of a two year old – confident, strong and from the heart. Biodanza works with this joy and with regular classes, this grows and strengthens.
This sense of joy and self confidence carries over into people’s daily lives. Over time, people find that life becomes more joyful. People start reaching for what feeds them in life and begin to change those things that are less positive.
Who can benefit?
All types of people of all ages can benefit. Single, married, stressed executives etc. Companies have found that it assists in team building. Everyone can benefit from the direct communication from the heart that is the essence of Biodanza.
The benefits of a Biodanza class are that you will leave feeling happy, relaxed and in communication with people again. There is also a major biochemical and neurological rebalancing happening in the body – all towards a sense of well-being. For many people, these changes progressively lead towards profound changes in their lives.
What you do with these benefits is, of course, up to you and your current life situation. But generally people find their stress levels reduce, their communication improves and their relationships just get better.
"Sure you're stressed, who isn’t? A Biodanza class might be just what you need to bring some fun back into the mix. The Verdict: Totally rocks! Many systems relieve stress but few leave you feeling this blissfully happy. There’s also a sense of being open to whatever life brings you, and less stuck in your ways." Stress Busters 10, FHM, April 2004
Stress is essentially when life starts to get on top of you. This can be work, finance, love, home life, or any number of life pressures we all experience. Biodanza gives you a space to come back into yourself and re-balance again.
Research studies by Dr Marcus Stueck of the University of Leipzig, (Germany) have shown that a series of ten regular classes of Biodanza created marked improvements in a number of measurable stress related indicators - various psychological (regulation of emotion, health, personal psychology), physiological (skin response, blood pressure) and immunological variables.
Stueck said: "Initial results from the experimental-control-group study in Argentina and Germany
reveal significant changes in psychological health and personality variables after 3 months.
After a further 3 months without Biodanza, the effect could be seen to have stabilized.
It could be shown that regular, long-term participation in Biodanza had positive effects."
Improving Communication magazine
"I arrived home in the late afternoon, strangely lamb like, in a very laid back state.
Not once did I snap at my children or husband (something I usually do at least three times
between 6.00pm and 8.00pm)..."
Marianne Holtman, The move we’re talking about, Shape March 2001.
A happy person is more tolerant, more understanding and more able to listen to others. It is simply amazing how a class of two hours of guaranteed happiness per week can improve how you communicate with those close to you. And yes, we really do we need it every week!
Regular Biodanza classes help people become more open, confident and self assured. It essentially increases that non-quantifiable quality – personal presence.
"I was intensely shy and easily embarrassed. Biodanza was a huge challenge but I stuck with it. Every week, I became more and more outgoing. My life has changed in so, so many ways."
Your ability to communicate determines your relative success and happiness in life. It affects your progress at work, your ability to socialise, your level of domestic happiness and how you are perceived socially.
Over 70% of communication is non-verbal. And these are the most important skills. People read your body language before you even speak! Biodanza is one of the few places where non-verbal communication skills are practised and improved weekly.
"Our relationship came back to life through Biodanza. It was like falling in love again!"
"I became more outgoing through regular classes. I was shy. That is now gone! I now have a partner. And that part of my life is now working for me!"
"I needed to get over a divorce. Biodanza helped me regain my confidence. I really needed it!"
Biodanza is a space dedicated to reconnecting couples with their love for themselves and each other. Biodanza has much to offer couples, those seeking to establish a couple or those recovering from the negative effect of a break-up.
Where there are specific problems within a married couple, it is recommended that partners undertake professional counselling in conjunction with Biodanza. If in doubt, speak to your facilitator.
About the founder
Rolando Toro Araneda is the founder and creator of Biodanza now practiced throughout Europe, South America, South Africa and Japan. He has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with Biodanza over the last forty years.
Born in Concepcion, Chile, 19th April 1924, he has followed many careers including school teacher, medical doctor, psychiatrist, medical researcher, poet, artist, African art collector and anthropologist. All have, in various ways, contributed to the development of Biodanza – his life's work.
He has held many academic posts including Chair of Psychology of Expression at the Institute of Aesthetics of the Catholic University of Santiago, Chile.
He has published books of poetry and psychotherapy and has had exhibitions of his paintings in Brazil, Italy and France. He has lived in many countries including Argentina, Brazil and Italy. Since 1998 he has returned to his native country of Chile.
His Motivation to Create Biodanza
On the origins and emergence of Biodanza, he writes:
"Biodanza has emerged discreetly in my life. It has gathered strength slowly, awakening people’s interest, causing surprising changes in some participants, and above all creating a feeling of "epiphany" (manifestation of God) and hope in life.
"Biodanza arose in my personal experience and soon I discovered that its structure could be based in the life sciences and most particularly in biology.
"I believe that there were many forces manifested within me to finally create this coming together of art, science and love.
"I was shaken by paradoxical, sometimes marvellous and sometimes terrifying experiences.
"The Second World War showed that humanity could reach inconceivable levels of perversity. Events such as the holocaust of millions of people under fascism and the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki revealed how far the degradation of the human race could go. The crisis of western culture was obvious - the global vision of human beings as "ill from civilisation."
"On the other hand, I have lived experiences of ecstasy, in a mysterious and marvellous world. I have had children. I have made contact with the first ecological groups.
"Faced with the abyss created by human contradictions, I felt a desire to conquer paradise, a shared paradise. I could not conceive of a solitary evolution. I wanted to find the source of original love.
"Everyone, for centuries, had heard about "love for our fellow man" as the purest truth of Christianity. The manifestation of human behaviour, however, had become increasingly dissociated and violent.
"Music was the universal language, the only thing everyone could understand in the Tower of Babel of the world.
"Dance was the ideal form capable of integrating body and soul. The dance experience offered all participants happiness, tenderness and strength.
"I also wanted to communicate this experience to a large number of people. From both these experiences and sensations, my desire to form small groups of people to dance, sing and meet within the music arose.
"So Biodanza became a way to share what was marvellous, together with others."
"Have you ever danced until you flew? Danced so hard, so fast, so freely that you reach a level
of overwhelming, ecstatic joy? If you haven't you should – it can change your life."
Mike Aldridge, Ecstasy through Dance, Namaste, Vol 9, January/February 2001.
"So how did I feel at the end of it all? Strangely cheerful and wholly invigorated.
You will too."
Peter Wagenaar, Shake the Blues Away, Pathways to Health, August 1998.
"Move your body to the new dance therapy that could boost your immune system, not to mention
your love life!... You leave feeling energetic and proud, maybe even a little bit sexy.
Well, all that undulating has to unlock something, doesn"t it?"
Dance the heart-ache away, Cosmopolitan 1997.
"I"m feeling wonderfully relaxed and uplifted… I feel good and strangely optimistic about
everything… Many of the classmates head off to dinner together… (I am) feeling an amazing
bond with these people… Biodanza is like that, helping you to make connections."
Geoff Dalglish, Grab a Partner, Mens Health December 2000
"Sure you're stressed, who isn't? A Biodanza class might be just what you need to bring some
fun back into the mix. …. The Verdict: Totally rocks! Many systems relieve stress but few
leave you feeling this blissfully happy. There's also a sense of being open to whatever life
brings you, and less stuck in your ways."
Stress Busters 10, FHM, April 2004.
"Can two and a half hours really make a difference to how you feel about your body?
My experience is it can. I sashayed over to my car, a big grin inside and out, feeling
as if I had shifted and shaken loose something critical and controlling within. I realised
how seldom I listen to my body"s wisdom and how often I override its needs and pleasures.
If I am to learn to truly love myself, what better place to start than with my body?"
Rosemary Miller, Movement into life, Odyssey, October 1996.
"I arrived home in the late afternoon, also strangely lamb like, in a very laid back state.
Not once did I snap at my children or husband (something I usually do at least three times
between 6.00pm and 8.00pm) and by 8.30pm I"d fallen into a deep sleep. My dreams took me to
Buenos Aires where I proudly swivelled my hips, tossed my head and kissed the mirror."
Marianne Holtman, The move we"re talking about, Shape March 2001.
"By the end of the class people are glowing and ready to take on the world. In fact some of
them go out to dinner together and continue to share their new found zest for life."
Penny Brewer, Dance like nobody is watching, Odyssey, August 2004
"Music itself teaches you to move. For example, if you play earth music with drums, your feet
just want to move."
Carolina Churba-Doyle, O the Oprah magazine South Africa, January 2005
"What if the path to an organisation"s well being did not involve arduous teambuilding
exercises, long winded meetings or harrowing negotiations but something as simple and
pleasurable as dancing?"
Christo van Staden, Let's Dance, Sunday Times 13th April 2003
"Two kids, ten years of marriage and who was I? I got ME back!"
"It ignited my passion for life. It led to incredible joy over the last four years."
"It opened places in my heart that had been closed tight. I fell in love with life again."
"The most empowering process I have done in twenty years of personal work."
"Thank you for the most magical and fruitful journey of my life, brought to me by you, through the gift of Biodanza! It has added vitality, joy, creativity and a sense of my own sensuality and affectivity – coupled with unique moments of transcendence!"
"The weekend was totally magical and for me it was a win-win! Loved every aspect he brought with such insight, sensitivity and humour." HG
"Thanks so very much for a most wonderful weekend, which was not only interesting but inspiring. I found the lectures easy to understand and valuable to my life, and I came away from this weekend filled with a tenderness and love." DdeM
"Just to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the weekend, it was truly wonderful and I feel as if I have experienced real life changing moments…. we shared moments of great power, intimacy and tenderness as we watched each one unfold and blossom!! For me personally it was a moment of the greatest aliveness I have ever experienced being fully alive in every fibre of my being, so thank you again!!!" CleR
"The weekend was wonderful and so informative. I understood Biodanza's application in the world in a completely new way." GV
"To investigate Biodanza is like investigating a treasure deep in the ocean or to watch an infinite universe full of incredible beautiful miracles." Dr. M Stueck
Biodanza is used extensively by some psychologists in South America for its deeply therapeutic value. It speeds up therapy. It takes you out of “talk, talk”, puts you into the body and you cannot avoid how you actually feel. It puts you into direct social contact with people on a weekly basis. And the objective is to raise you into a state of happiness and excitement about life.
There are specific clinical groups that may be contra-indicated, or requiring specific / special needs. For further details, contact me.
Psychological Evaluation of Biodanza
Studies by Dr Marcus Stueck, of the Institute for Applied Psychology at the University of Leipzig.
"Biodanza, a form of intervention intended to further health and well-being, originated in South America by Rolando Toro and encourages self-expression and self-management through music, dance and interaction. Since 1998, we have been investigating the influence of a 10-session Biodanza program on 150 subjects on various psychological (regulation of emotion, health, personal psychology), physiological (skin response, blood pressure) and immunological (immunglobulin A) variables.
"Initial results from the experimental-control-group study in Argentina and Germany reveal significant changes in psychological health and personality variables after 3 Months (Post 1). After a further 3 months without Biodanza, the effect could be seen to have stabilized. It could be shown that regular, long-term participation in Biodanza had positive effects on the experience and behaviour of the subjects." Dr Stueck
Dr Marcus Stueck is an award winning researcher at the world famous Institute of Applied Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany. In 1995, whilst on a scientific expedition studying the behaviour and physiological reactions of high altitude mountaineers in the Andes, he came across Biodanza. Since then, he has devoted much of his professional life to the empirical study of Biodanza and its behavioural and physiological effects on participants. In the process, he has also trained as a Biodanza Facilitator.
Published Research Papers
Stück, M., Villegas, A., Schröder, H., Sack, U., Terren R.; Toro V.; & Toro R. (2004). Biodanza as Mirrored in the sciences: Research concerning the psychological, physiological and immunological effects of Biodanza. Zeitschrift "Moving on. Dance Therapy Association of Australia" DTAA Quarterly 2004, Vol.3, No 2
Stück, M.; Villegas, A.; Schröder, H.; Sack, U.; Terren R.; Toro V.; Toro R. (2004). Biodanza as Mirrored in the sciences: Research concerning the psychological, physiological and immunological effects of Biodanza. Arts in Psychotherapy, Vol.31, No 3
Stück, M. (2004) Bewältigung psychischer Fehlbelastungen in der Schule: Intervention mit Tanzelementen für Lehrer: „Lerne, das Leben zu tanzen“ (Biodanza). Schulpsychologischer Tag Sachsen, Abstrakt-Band
Stück, M.; Sack,U.; Villegas,A.; Terren,R.; Toro V. (2004) Psycho-neuro-immunological effects of a new psychological Interventionmethod BIODANZA. 28th International Congress of Psychology (Weltkongress Peking/China, ICP2004). Abstrakt-Band.
Stück,M.; Schröder,H.; Villegas,A.; Terren,R.; Toro V. (2004) Psychological effect-evaluation of a new psychological Interventionmethod BIODANZA. 28th International Congress of Psychology (Weltkongress Peking/China, ICP2004). Abstrakt-Band.
Sack, U., K. Meier, K. Bauer, M. Stueck: Psycho-immunological evaluation of stress prevention by Biodanza. 3rd Leipzig Research Festival for Life Sciences, 10. Dezember 2004. Zwickau: Verlag Leipzig: Universität Leipzig (2004), 98
Frequently asked questions
What should I wear to class?
You should wear something loose like a tracksuit bottom and tee shirt. Classes are normally bare foot.
I can't dance!
No problem – any one who can move can do Biodanza. The exercises are based on simple movements. If you have a specific disability or illness, phone the facilitator and s/he can advise.
Do you have to learn steps? I have had difficulty learning to Jive.
There are no steps to learn. For the duration of the class we emphasise coming away from the intellect (which is what soceity is heavily immersed in, with the resulting devastating results-and feeling,) re-connecting with our body.
What is Biodanza like or similar to?
The closest parallel is a free movement and expression workshop that are commonly available to students enrolled in professional acting or dance schools.
Will I have to talk?
No. There is no talking once the class has started.
Is Biodanza a religion?
No. Biodanza is based on biology and is a profession in complementary health, with research (see research section) to confirm it's positive effects.
Is Biodanza based on scientific principles?
Yes. Biodanza is essentially the "science of a party". See the section on research.
Like most great discoveries, it was discovered by accident. Rolando Toro Araneda held a party in a psychiatric ward. He noticed he could not tell the difference between the patients and the staff. Everyone was happy and having a very good time.
This simple, basic observation led him to spend forty years exploring how music, simple movements and a “party atmosphere” could generate well-being and health in every category of human being.
The result has been a theoretical and empirically based method which has categorically helped hundreds of thousands of people reach higher states of well-being and self confidence.
See the section on Research for further details of documented evidence of Biodanza's empirically proven benefits.
For more information Contact Altair
With grateful thanks to Carolina Churba-Doyle (C)