During RecrearMagnify 2016 in Colombia, we were graced with the presence of Elissa Marshall, an awe-inspiring dancer, yogi and all around great person (see what she is up to on Instagram!). For the last five years, Elissa has worked at El Colegio del Cuerpo (Cartagena de Indias, Colombia), a community space created for youth to approach the expressive and artistic dimension of the human body, through Contemporary Dance. Elissa was tasked with facilitating our intercultural group of social innovators through a 3-day personal development course. People were either excited or down-right terrified about having to dance – even asking themselves ‘what does this have to do with the conference I signed myself up for?’. So we were pleasantly surprised when one exercise after another challenged us to connect to one another in entirely unexpected ways. One of these exercises is what we dubbed ‘balloon mirroring’.
We reused the exercise months later in a course on Participatory Action Research. We were surprised to see how beautifully people interpreted the meaning of that exercise for them. It was about coming into harmony with others, they said. It was about deep listening –the kind that goes beyond words.