Welcome to Slow Dancing with Art
Hi, I’m Stephen Holtzman, the founder of Slow Dancing with Art. The intent of my work is to enhance people’s view when being with art.
Viewing art is often accompanied by valuable education and information about the art. Many people try to see as many objects as possible and learn as much as they can. This effort can be exhausting. The practice I am presenting serves to enhance the work and experience of museum docents and visitors.
When we hear music we love, our focus changes. Viewing a beautiful sunset, many will take a slow deep breath. The same will happen upon seeing an inspiring piece of art.
With music and viewing nature it is not necessary to engage the intellect to feel beauty. Acquiring techniques to enhance the intuitive, we deepen our body sense and become more present. We respond spontaneously from a calm place of mindfulness.
Artists dwell on details of design and technique. If we really slow down and observe we may experience the nuanced detail of the design, penetrate the surface impression of the work of art and perceive its subtle nature and substance.
It takes enormous time and effort to create art. All this effort deserves the extended and persistent gaze of more than a moment’s glance. How better can we give artists the respect they deserve than by slowing down.
I have constructed a series of exercises that build skills in relaxing the mind and body to increase our ability to approach art in a contemplative way. As one’s subtle response to the visual stimulus grows we join with the art in an intimate and personal experience. We merge with art and become one.
1. The Soft Gaze
We practice slowing the breath in order to relax the mind and body; we enter a state of centered renewal. We let go of worldly concerns and loosen the grip of what is past and future and become more aware of what is happening in the moment. Open with a stress free attitude, we can now be with art with a less judging, critical mind.
2. Touch Without Touch
We learn to develop a child’s instinctive and playful way to be with sculpture. We practice enhancing sensitivity in our hands to feel the energy that is always around us and can be felt with training. This proprioceptive awareness allows us to experience sculpture in a way that quiets the analytical brain. We open ourselves to being present and feel the reflection of the artist’s creativity.
3. Being Moved
We start to move our bodies very slowly, subtlety and express the deep, nuanced somatic way we experience art. We amplify our awareness, we improvise what we sense. This frees us to feel more spontaneously about what we see. It is a deep experience of feeling beauty with few or no words, like when we are moved by music. It has been said that when one really experiences Chinese painting, one hears it as music. Can we then move to this music?