Interview with Beth Rigbybeth | April 1, 2002
Music & Movement Stir the Soul
Beth Rigby Uses Ancient Methods to Achieve Modern Benefits
by Paul M. Howey
Calling on two of the oldest arts known to human civilization, Beth Rigby creates among her students emotions that run the gamut from exhilaration to serenity, sometimes with a few tears and lots of laughter thrown in. In a program she calls Yoga Meets Dance™, Beth shares her passion for music and movement, inspiring others to cast off their inhibitions and open themselves up to the power of the music.
“Music can do so many things,” says Beth. “It can cause you to feel more alive and free. It can calm your fears, it can make you weep. The exhileration one feels after seeing a movie is due, in part, to the soundtrack of the film. Music evokes deep emotion that helps people to feel alive and to rise above the boredom and drudgery of everyday life,” she adds passionately.
The Class Begins~
The people in her class talk nervously among themselves as they wait for the music to begin. A few appear to be self-conscious, probably asking themselves what they’re doing there. Then Beth enters the room and her easy demeanor and quick smile soon begin to put the others at ease. She offers little in the way of introductory comments other than to assure everyone to be themselves and to have a good time. She begins with some gentle yoga and breathing exercises to help them relax and detach from their often-frenzied activities. Then the music starts.
A pulsating primal rhythm fills the air making it nearly impossible not to sway with the beat. A funky, rocking tune soon has the class shedding any remnants of embarrassment. A sense of raw freedom fills the room as bodies and minds are passionately set free with ease and laughter.
“We humans have been doing this for a long, long time,” explains Beth during a lull in the music. She points out that archaeologists recently discovered ancient bone flutes that were used by the Neanderthals more than 43,000 years ago to create melodies. “Just think of it,” she says, “these are people who had to fight incredible odds every day just to survive; yet they found the time and the desire to seek solace in music.”
What is it about music that moves us so? There are many theories. For example, it’s believed that the sounds of a drum connect us to the beating of our own heart. Scientific studies have shown that a slow, steady drumbeat creates a sense of calmness, whereas a louder, more frantic cadence can cause us to feel excited and even frenzied.
Move in Your Own Way~
In Beth’s class, she utilizes all forms of music and myriad rhythms to help her students express themselves through movement and find a sense of raw freedom and cathartic release. She emphasizes that there is no judging of style in Yoga Meets Dance. “However you’re inspired to move is the right way to move, though I do provide a structure to the class, to inspire you to experiment,” she tells her class. Click here for the rest of the article.