The origins of Biodanza date from the early sixties, when the psychologist Chilean Rolando Toro Araneda worked at the mental hospital of the University of Santiago de Chile. In 1965 he began experimenting with the use of dance with patients on a psychiatric ward.
Rumor has it that he noticed changes in his patients as a result of parties given in the hospital. Even Rolando struggles to remeber…
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” and hope in life.
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”. The manifestation of human behaviour, however, had become increasingly dissociated and violent.
I believe love must include a corporal, active dimension. I sometimes felt all the manifestations of ecstasy, eroticism and fraternity, creative energy and vital impetus in my body. I felt the possibility of pure contact with living reality, through movement, fluidity and the transparencies revealed by feelings.
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.
Biodanza became a way to share what was marvellous, together with others.
The conceptual basis of Biodanza came from a reflection on life, a desire to be reborn from our broken gestures and our empty and sterile structure of expression. We could assuredly say they came from a nostalgia of love.“
Rolando Toro extended his research outside clinical applications with groups of healthy individuals, and structured a theoretical model in 1966, a methodology based on the association-movement-music stimulation with the aim of creating specific psychophysical and emotional responses capable of inducing immediate beneficial changes in an individual.
In the following years, he deepened the study of the semantics of music, the higher states of consciousness and mechanisms of biological, physiological and psychological functioning of this human “integrated development environment” which became a certified university course.
In 1970 the was asked to create the first chair of Psychodynamics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. The name Psychodynamics was later changed and thus Biodanza was born.
In 1971 he moved to Buenos Aires, continuing his research, extending in different directions – using the techniques developed, which calls for “Biodanza”, not only with people who are sick, but who generally want to develop their human potential – and arouses interest in Brazil, a country he visits several times and where he moved to Sao Paulo in 1989.
In the meantime, his students and colleagues had brought biodance in Europe in 1984. In 1989, Toro decided to move to Milan, to direct the expansion of the Movement of Biodanza “in Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Great Britain (followed by Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Norway, as well as Australia, South Africa and almost all Latin American countries)
In Britain, Toro founded the Biocentric International Foundation, in order – through the registration and protection of the trademark “Biodanza” – to preserve the integrity of the system and prevent unauthorized use.
Over the last 40 years Biodanza has been developed into a rich therapuetic dance method with around 250 exercises designed to increase human health, conciousness and potential for living full, radiant lives.
Sadly, in August 2010, Rolando Torro died just before he was due to teach in the UK. His legacy lives on…
Today thousands of people dance their lives together all over the world and hundreds of teachers facilitate and continue the growth of the system.
Biodanza has also developed many specialisations, Biodanza with children, with Massage, with Clay, Neo-Shamanism, Aqua-Biodanza and many others.
Roldando’s dream is to have the whole planet dancing!
An invitation to love, rejoice and share all we can be…