The Atelier du Geste Rythmé by France Schott-Billmann is dedicated to the transmission of Expression Primitive and to the training of animators and/or therapists who wish to use this kind of artistic mediation.
France Schott-Billmann is the director; Eric Julien, defender of the Indian case, introduce her in the following terms: “Psychoanalyst and dance therapist, France Schott-Billmann is above all a passionate. She has been exploring archaic rhythms for years, in order to give back their place to the cycles and the rhythms which constitute the living beings. A joyful and effective path toward the transformation of the self”.
France Schott-Billmann, Training manager.
France Schott-Billmann presents her path as the result of a transversal lecture of dance under multiple perspectives: anthropological, historic, artistic and psychological.
I am fond of the root-peoples who store a thousand-years old knowledge which must be urgently taken in consideration and must be re-actualized in our societies. We need them, that is we need the Other. Their rich knowledge of the laws regulating the relationships among men, between them and their environment (the nature, the ancestral knowledge), can help our modern societies to reinvent a way of living together and to find a new balance with the living beings. The invention of a sort of eco-modernity seems to be a crucial challenge nowadays. Dance represents an original answer to the challenges of our times, since it allows, through the rhythm, to reinsert man in the cycles of nature. The feeling of participation within the dancing group helps us to understand that man is part of an interdependent whole; if he cuts the ancestral bonds to the living beings and the Earth, he becomes a wandering being who has lost the meaning of his own existence. The art of dance, as it is conceived by the root-peoples, is a gestural code linked to a music code. It is based on the reciprocity of the exchanges with the Other, the human beings or the Earth itself.
4. Psychological perspective
“Dancing allows to reconnect ourselves to a distant and primitive past, to a bodily memory that everyone brings within and that music can update.” (Coda Magazine, May 2001). Tribal dances make live again this primordial experience through the dancing group, that like a big motherly body leads, rocks and swings the dancer's body. Dance, that brings the memory of a civilizing message that crossed the history of the human beings, is atemporal, ancient and modern at the same time. With a striking continuity, dance has been telling the same story from thousand years: the story of the fundamental joy of the human being for his belonging to a human community. Isolation is the negation of what has been shaping man through epochs.
The artists have brought us to understand that our identity (thus our future) needs to reintroduce the life principles of the root-peoples in our societies, to recreate an ethic of openness to the Other (that is the one of psychoanalysis, the Other from the inside, the hidden and unconscious to whom we can access only if we deconstruct one by one the imaginary characters we have created).
The therapeutic function is inscribed in this movement of deconstruction-reconstruction of the primitivism that is bonded, according to France Schott-Billmann, to the poetic processes or primary processes described by Freud. Nevertheless, differently from psychoanalysis, “dance is a therapy without a couch, the more democratic and accessible among all the others! Everybody can have benefit very quickly from it... To feel pleasure without hurting ourselves, to set free without the de-structuration of ourselves typical of alcohol and drogues...” (interview to France Schott-Billmann, Paris Match n° 2892 21 - 27 October 2004).
“Dance has certainly some virtues: it sets free, it unifies and creates bridges between what is dissimilar. A step more and dance heals. That's why dance therapy is in fashion in hospitals. Practised since the fifties, it uses the movement to release tensions, to channel and reorient the impulses. It brings peace, it appeases aggressive behaviours and reassures psychotic and phobic people” (France-Soir 28th of November 2001).
Dance gives meaning because it is a metaphor of the human condition. It allows the dancer to symbolically revisit the founder law that has led from the bodily structures of hominization to humanization. It opens to a “gay science” as Nietzsche conceived it, “something of totally other, let's say of health, of future, of growth, of power, of life”, a medic knowledge that can be at the service of a “global health of a population, of an epoch, of a race, of human kind” (“The Gay Science”, Nietzsche) (France Schott-Billmann “Danser pour lire le symbole des plus hautes choses”, Hors-Série Le Nouvel Observateur Nietzsche, Sept. - Oct. 2002).
To sum up, we can say that dance, transmitting in the meantime pleasure and rule, is certainly a structuring art that strengthens the construction of the identity; therefore it is a therapy extremely effective.