the Art Of Veilwork

The Veil
The Veil
When you dance with the veil you have a mysterious partner- one with its own moves. A veil is an article of clothing or cloth hanging that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. It is especially associated with women and sacred objects. One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space. The actual sociocultural, psychological, and sociosexual functions of veils have not been studied extensively but most likely include the maintenance of social distance and the communication of social status and cultural identity. | Photo: Meredith Zelman Narissi | Veil, Dance, Mystery, Diaphanous, Unknown,

Flowing beauty

The art of the veil has changed. There was a time when a dancer would come on stage fully veiled: face half covered, head covered, body covered; with only the eyes, hands, and feet visible. Now there may be many cultural connotations with this image. Yet if you "look" at it purely as an image, it speaks of mystery. Curiosity, intrigue, and secrets abound. If you can ignore modesty, oppression, and hiding for the moment, veils can also serve as portals of wonder and a metaphor of hidden truth. It is easy to think of veils as a cover, more surprisingly as portals of insight, or thresholds. They hold imagination; the "make-believe" where you see truth in another form. You are persuaded then to see not only with the eyes, but with the soul. As you look into the veil, as well as looking into what is being revealed, layers of understanding emerge. It has been said that what is not seen by the eye is most true.

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.- Helen Keller

Do the veils beckon us to feel with the heart and not be fooled by the eye? When dancing with the veil a dancer can illuminate wonder. No one will be moved by mere tricks, or fading flashes of color. Too much manipulation appears contrived. When you dance with the veil you have a mysterious partner- one with its own moves.

Try throwing a veil up in the air. It will never land in the same way twice. You will never dance the same way twice. The spontaneity and unexpected intersection of the unknown and known, is what intrigues. Let the veil flow, give it it's "head," as you would a galloping horse. Then see where the movement leads you.

Dance with the veil so you do more than control it. You learn to intuit the unexpected. If you do this , the audience will enjoin in the surprise of the hidden mysteries, the nameless elements of life. As a dancer allows the veil to expose and hide alternatively, the beauty underneath, represents more than just physical beauty. The almost unbearable beauty revealed by unveiling offers a glimpse of the beauty of the soul.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller, born June 27, 1880, Tuscumbia, AL, died June 1, 1968, Easton, CT, was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. | Helen Keller, Blind, Deaf, Author, Political Activist, Lecturer,

You are playing with the unknown, and known forces; and you choose to dance with them. This is what captures our awe and joy. The next time you pick up a gentle diaphanous veil, allow the mystery of yielding to pervade your psyche. What would it be like to have such lightness of being? How does it feel like to go with the flow? What can you learn about yourself and the dance as you work with the veil? Unlike a magic trick, a cosmic kind of miraculous can appear. The veil shows you how creativity can pass through you effortlessly, just as it does for the veil. Explore being pliant and receptive. This along with practice, study, and dance discipline, will offer you exquisite freedom.

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Updated Jan 14, 2018 6:23 AM EST | More details


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