Moving Archetypes

 Dance Contemplation

  • My mind and my inner worlds are filled with joy.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2019
  • It was a life changing experience for me.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2018
  • What you shared with us through word, image and movement was/is a unique melding of cross-cultural theory, practical skill, and personal experience – all presented with passion...
    — Anonymous, Australia 2018
  • My experience of Moving Archetypes was like exploring a hidden cave of delights. Through Padma’s generous sharing of her dance artistry, I uncovered new insights about my own creativity and, with her generous encouragement and patience, I had fun experimenting and tapping into the source of my dance and story. Needless to say, I look forward to more!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2017
  • I found the after affects of the class quite powerful. For the first time in ages I felt that emotions weren't annoying, useless interruptions to the frenetic pace of life and its incessant demands, but empowering, emboldening and useful to experience the fullness of life. You create a judgement free space which is feels both enriching and serene. Thank you!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2017
  • Padma has an amazing gift of helping you to find what you need, she steps back and guides you to find yourself and helps you to focus when you get stuck. She offers a supportive, safe space to enable you to fully immerse yourself in this work. Padma has a deep knowledge of archetypes and shares her knowledge freely.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2016
  • What I loved about the dancing was that I now have shapes or postures that embody certain aspects of the archetype that I want in my life. I can practice those poses when I need a reminder, and I found that I can also imagine the pose and feel it in my body for that added boost when I need it!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2016
  • My story is very different to the stories of the archetypes, but the emotions are the same. And I could express myself with the archetype’s story, without telling my own story. This started a process of personal healing. She (Padma) taught me how to let negativity go and embrace all that is positive.
    — Anonymous, Netherlands 2006
  • My classes made me confident and happy with myself. I started to like myself for the first time in my life...It has helped bringing me back to life...Through the classes I have peeled off the accumulated layers and every day am a new person.
    — Anonymous, India 2008
  • The movement process made me go deep into myself. Whether I was searching my body or mind I was not sure. But expressing what I felt was a liberation.
    — Anonymous, India 2008
  • ...she (Padma) has surprised me by being completely in tune with my own thought process. ...deeply educative and empowering...Padma’s long years of experience...has gifted her with a rare insight and intelligence in working with dance.
    — Anonymous, India 2008

Moving Archetypes draws on traditional Indian dance based contemplation practices to facilitate spaces of reflection and insight.

Archetypes are characters from myths and legends that represent complex emotions and stories. Moving Archetypes uses archetypes largely from Indian and Buddhist philosophies and sometimes from other classical philosophies. Connecting with them can help us understand that who we are and our life experiences are part of larger stories and patterns. We learn to use our body and mind to engage with the chosen archetype through dance set to music from all over the world, guided improvisation and reflection. The dance style combines specific techniques from Indian and western dance and includes:

  • dance theatre styles from India which have traditionally been used to embody archetypes for dance contemplation

  • Laban Movement Analysis based movement from contemporary western dance

  • guided simple movement improvisation

Connecting with powerful archetypes through dance contemplation can help us ‘get out of our heads’ and allow for experiencing feelings as spaces of reflection and insight.

No previous experience of dance or knowledge of archetypes is necessary.


Upcoming Classes and Events

Introduction to Indian philosophy- a practice approach
from 45.00

Starting Wednesday 15 May (fortnightly 4 classes only) 6-7 pm.

Venue: Currie Crescent Community Centre, Kingston

By donation for those who are enrolled in other Moving Archetypes courses. $60 (full) and $45 (concession) for others.
A series of 4 fortnightly talks on the foundational aspects of Indian philosophy from an Agama or practice perspective. The talks will introduce seminal practice dimensions of Indian philosophy and reflect on how these are valuable to our times. There will be time for reflections and questions during the talk.

Karana- dance meditation classes
from 100.00

Starting Wednesday 8 May 2019. Fortnightly for 5 weeks only. 6-7 pm

Venue: Currie Crescent Community Centre, Kingston

By donation for those already enrolled in other Moving Archetypes courses. $125 (full) and $100 (concession) for others.

For those who are looking for a deep immersion into the contemplative heart of Indian dance, Karanas offer a rich and profound practice. Karanas are the 108 dance constellations that are attributed to Siva, the archetypal deity of Indian dance. They are enumerated in the ancient text on dance, Natya Sastra, and are mysterious combinations that contain feeling and dance and take us into realms beyond words.

No previous experience of dance required.

Rasa classical Indian dance
from 140.00

Starting week of week of 13 May 2019 (8 weeks)

Free intro workshops Tuesday 7 (6-7 pm) and Saturday 11 May (9.30 am-10.30 am).

Venue: Currie Crescent Community Centre, 11 Currie Crescent, Kingston.

Rasa classes are a fun, accessible and contemporary approach to classical Indian dance theatre. Term 2 2019 will teach choreography of the joyous dance of Siva, the Ananda Tandavam.

No previous experience of dance required.

Kaivalya: celebrating aloneness through dance contemplation
from 140.00

Starting week of week of 13 May 2019 (8 weeks). Classes on Tuesdays or Saturdays.

Free intro workshops Tuesday 7 May (7-8 pm) and Saturday 11 May (10.30 am-11.30 am).

Venue: Currie Crescent Community Centre, 11 Currie Crescent, Kingston

Are you ready for Rudra?

‘Kaivalya’ in Indian philosophy is the deliberate acceptance of the state of aloneness and solitude by acknowledging the falling away of attachments in life. Through doing this, it forges a path inwards, towards ‘akhanda bodham’ (limitless consciousness) of that in us which is already complete. The archetype of Kaivalya is Rudra, the formless manifestation of Siva.

No previous experience of dance required.


About Padma

Padma Menon has over 30 years of international experience as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and facilitator. She has performed in hundreds of venues all over the world and created numerous contemporary and traditional Indian dance productions for high profile festivals and venues internationally.

Padma enjoyed a successful career in India performing professionally as a soloist since the age of nine. In her early twenties she founded one of Australia’s first professional multicultural dance companies and established a national and international reputation for cross-cultural work. She has worked in Europe in the renowned Korzo Production House as house choreographer and her work has been showcased in international festivals such as Cadance and the Holland Dance Festival. The centre she founded in India in 2006 was part of the arts activism movement in India, working closely with human rights and social justice organisations to raise awareness of issues such as women’s rights.

Padma is an exponent of the Indian dance theatre style Kuchipudi which she studied from masters in the traditional lineage. She has also studied Bharatha Natyam and Mohini Attam styles of Indian classical dance. Padma also holds post graduate qualifications in Choreography specialising in Laban Movement Analysis from the Netherlands. She has also studied contemporary western dance, yoga and the Indian martial art form of Kalaripayattu.



+ What is dance contemplation?

Dance contemplation is an approach that uses dance as a way of reflection. Padma’s approach draws on the ancient Indian practice of Rasa where dance is used to facilitate a space for self-reflection and insight.

+ What does a typical class look like?

The main difference between dance contemplation and a regular dance class is where the focus is directed. Rather than focus on choreography and learning movement, dance contemplation invites participants to respond to the dance with a focus on feelings evoked by the archetypes. Drawing from Rasa practice, this approach is directed towards bringing awareness to our embodied experiences without mental narratives.

The structure of learning uses the contemplation framework from Indian philosophy which is:

  • learning the material (sravanam)
  • contemplating the material (mananam) through guided dance responses
  • Nidhidhyasanam (expanding through guided dance improvisation to gain insights)

Every class has a basic structure which is:

Purvaranga: Making the space sacred

Dhyana: Preparing the body (warm-up with opening ritual)

Immersion: Learning the archetype physicality

Retelling: Finding your relationship to the archetype

Mastery: The take-away for daily practice

Reflection and questions

+ What will I get out of these classes?

Through the classes you:

  • can connect with larger states of being that can expand your sense of a limited individual experience;
  • find a place for movement practice that is empowering and integrating; and
  • enjoy getting to know powerful archetypes from some of the oldest philosophical traditions of the world.

+ Why does Moving Archetypes use dance and movement?

Moving Archetypes uses dance because dance is the language of our bodies. Recent neuroscience research (please see Judith Hanna’s Dancing to learn: the brain’s cognition, emotion, and movement) affirms that dance functions in our brains as a language. But dance is more than simple verbal language because it can express complex feelings and emotions in symbolic and metaphorical ways. When compared to spoken language, dance is poetry.

Indian dance theatre traditions are sophisticated and powerful symbolic languages when accessed through contemplative practices. They offer a transformative practice that embraces feelings as its domain. Many contemplative practices struggle with the domain of emotions, often suggesting withdrawal or denial of them. The Rasa practice in dance is a way of ‘meditating’ through feeling.

+ Do I need to know dance to participate in the classes?

No. Padma will introduce you to bridging movement sections and also guide and facilitate more open, creative explorations of the archetype through movement. The classes are designed to encourage a non-judgemental approach to our self, our movement and to others.

+ Are the classes same as creative, self-expression dance?

No. Dance contemplation is not designed for a cathartic process where through self-expression you ‘purge’ your emotions. The aim of contemplation in the dance contemplation tradition is to expand from a sense of individuality towards a more connected experience of life and feelings. The archetypes provide powerful and empowering frameworks that can facilitate this process.


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