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TA KE TI NA

by Derek Gale(more info)

listed in movement, originally published in issue 55 - August 2000

The workshop provides a supportive and non criticizing space in which you can work on all those negative messages you give yourself about not being able to do things. Learning to combat these messages helps you to get in touch with your own rhythms and your own innate abilities.

This has a strong psychological effect which induces a sense of well being and increases self confidence. The TA KE TI NA process is totally non critical and supportive so that making mistakes is encouraged and you are never punished or humiliated for getting it wrong. Nor does getting it wrong disturb other people or destroy the equilibrium of the group.

We are all rhythmical beings; everybody has a heart beat and a pulse and the first thing the doctor does when he examines you is to take your pulse and listen to your heart beat.

In TA KE TI NA the workshop people stand in a circle around a Leader and a Player
In TA KE TI NA the workshop people stand in a circle around a Leader and a Player

Acupuncture, Chinese medicine and Osteopathy listen to many pulses and Rhythms in the body. If our hearts stop beating we die and if our rhythmical functions are disrupted it is a sign of 'dis-ease' in our system. So a new form of therapy which describes itself as therapy for your rhythms must be a good thing for people interested in their health and in ensuring that they reach optimum performance in their daily lives. This form of therapy is TA KE TI NA which is a rhythm workshop in which you practice letting go of your brain's control of your rhythmic abilities and let the brain and body move rhythmically together without your conscious interference. For anyone who enjoys the natural freedom of rhythmic movement, whether in dance, in playing a musical instrument or in their daily lives, this workshop is a must do experience.

The workshop provides a supportive and non criticizing space in which you can work on all those negative messages you give yourself about not being able to do things. Learning to combat these messages helps you to get in touch with your own rhythms and your own innate abilities. This has a strong psychological effect which induces a sense of well being and increases self confidence.

The Surdo is a Brazillian drum on which the heart beat of the group is maintained
The Surdo is a Brazillian drum on which the
heart beat of the group is maintained

The TA KE TI NA process is totally non critical and supportive, so that making mistakes is encouraged and you are never punished or humiliated for getting it wrong. Nor does getting it wrong disturb other people or destroy the equilibrium of the group.

Falling out is encouraged, as a method of learning, so that you have the pleasure of falling back in. If you fall out you are encouraged to enjoy it, not feel guilty and this is the key to how TA KE TI NA works, and explains why it is psychologically healing. Because, in the workshop, adults can receive the unconditional positive support and encouragement that is normally only experienced as a baby.

What happens in the workshop

In TA KE TI NA the workshop people stand in a circle around a Leader and a Surdo Player. The Surdo is a Brazilian drum on which the main rhythmic beat of the group is maintained. The circle is a healing structure. The leader starts by saying some basic syllables which are repeated by the group, and once their rhythm is established the syllables are accompanied by a simple foot movement. Once this is established a hand movement, usually a clap, is introduced and the group takes on the form of a simple dance. At this stage you can use your brain to control the movements, but the idea of the process is to encourage you to let go of your brain and start feeling the rhythm intuitively, just like you did as a child. In order to allow this to happen the leader introduces a series of calls and responses while accompanying himself on a Berimbao, which is a simple percussion instrument also from South America.

Once the voice is introduced you can no longer manage by an act of will and you have to let go and let the rhythm carry you. The leader can vary the complexity of the calls so that the more advanced group members are challenged while at the same time making sure that the weaker members are still supported.

The calls and responses are sung, but they are simple tunes and no ability in singing is needed. The singing and the movements are highly enjoyable and no previous knowledge of singing, rhythm, dance or anything else is presupposed or necessary to enjoy the workshop.

One of the unique things about the workshop is the way in which it caters for people at all levels of experience, from the most advanced to the least knowledgeable, at the same time. The fact is that, as I have already said, there is no sense of criticism for getting it wrong and no one is ever humiliated or made to feel embarrassed. It is very important both in terms of learning TA KE TI NA and more so in terms of learning to feel confident and capable about rhythm and life. The totally accepting environment is therapeutic in itself and all that is expected of you is that you do what you can comfortably achieve.

The rhythm is held and supported by the gentle base boom of the Surdo. If trying to get a particular rhythm proves too much for you or if you feel you are trying too hard with your brain, you are invited to lie down in the middle of the circle and allow the rhythm of the group and the Surdo to beat through you. Often when you feel ready to stand up again and rejoin the circle, people find that what was previously so difficult has become easy.

As I have said, nothing is presumed or expected of you and each time a new movement or sound is introduced it takes the form of an 'offer' which you can take up or not as you please. This is very important as the whole ethos of the workshop is doing less not more and there is no pressure to perform. I have never before been in a workshop where you can do nothing wrong and there is such a level of encouragement.

Most people have a fear of rhythm and even the most accomplished musicians often lack confidence in their rhythmic abilities.

Because of the way TA KE TI NA is structured it works for the accomplished musician or dancer as well as for the rhythmically dyslexic and this is because the rhythms are built up from a simple base until the most accomplished person in the group is challenged while at the same time there is always a simpler underlying rhythm which is there for the less able to occupy themselves with.

Each session starts from this basic point so that while people move on they are not rushed and beginners do not get that feeling that the whole thing has moved on and left them behind.

Our earliest experience of rhythm is in the womb and the workshop even provides opportunities to experience something like the beating of your mother's heart in the womb. The basic Surdo beat is the heart beat of the group and provides a maternal support and I always encourage participants to lie down in the middle of the group at least once and feel the mother's heart beat pulse through them.

The workshop is like an ideal neonatal environment in which participants experience only support which is why I say that for optimal psychological health every one should experience a TA KE TI NA workshop at least once in their lives. Just imagine spending a week end or longer in a workshop where you are never criticized and you can never get it wrong. In TA KE TI NA this is especially vibrant because most people's experience of rhythm is that they are criticized for getting it wrong and humiliated by their mistakes.

The benefits of TA KE TI NA

The reduction of tension and stress that the workshop provides, is health promoting in itself and the fact that it makes you more aware of all the ways you make yourself tense, by being out of touch with your rhythms, completes the picture. It is not a therapy group, although time is allowed for feed back and, as such, Ta ke ti na appeals to men and the groups generally have an even gender balance.

Stress reduction is a common reason for doing TA KE TI NA and many people find that a workshop once or twice a year works wonders in keeping their stress levels under control.

One participant reported that after the workshop he stopped rushing everywhere and rushing at everything and took life at a pace which was far more in synchronization with this own body and of the needs of his life. He said,

"The calm pace at which Mathias and Urs conducted their lives outside the workshop was a lesson to me especially when I saw how they were able to cope with the apparent speed and chaos in the workshop, by slowing down and doing less, while still keeping in time with the rhythm. Their ability to see a single drum beat as being very long taught me to savour the moment."

Another person talked about how lying down in the middle of the group made him feel secure and that he actually felt so secure he fell asleep. When he woke up the rhythms that had previously seemed impossible came to him easily and he recognized that by slowing down and being in touch with himself many problems in his life could be resolved as well.

For him the experience of feeling the womb like atmosphere and the safety in the circle helped him to cope with some of his early deprivation.

TA KE TI NA is basically a rhythm experience, but rhythm in this sense should not be defined too narrowly, because it is also a movement and a voice experience in which physical co-ordination and posture can be improved. Clearly people benefit from being happy and content and in touch with themselves, and TA KE TI NA also helps with health problems which have their roots in poor posture. Feeling confident about your ability to keep time has helped many people to stand up straight in their bodies and in the world.

Improvements in self-confidence are reported by most participants which spill over into all sorts of situations outside the workshop, both personal and professional. People report increased confidence in presentation skills and increased ease in social situations, especially where dancing singing or clapping in time to the music, are part of the event.

It can even be argued that people improve their ability to relate to others as they learn to listen to and appreciate people with rhythms other than their own. Personally I can say that TA KE TI NA has made me a more tolerant person, more able to see the value in others and to enjoy their company and I am confident that that I am seen as a more sympathetic person as a result. This has helped me in both my personal and professional relationships.

When people do a TA KE TI NA workshop they get something out of it they never expected. Musicians and dancers are surprised at the warmth of the experience and discover the music of relationship, while people who are looking for personal growth find themselves surprised at the level of their artistic involvement and improvement.

Further Information

The Next TA KE TI NA events in Britain will be organized by the Gale Centre, Whitakers Way, Loughton, Essex IG10 1SQ, Tel: 020-8508 9344 www.galecent.demon.co.uk and will be a three day workshop on October 13-15 with a Central London Taster Evening on October 12th 2000.

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About Derek Gale

Derek Gale is the director of the Gale Centre for Creative Therapy where he does individual work in Humanistic Psychology and Voice work as well as Voice and Body Workshops and Psychodrama residentials. He promotes TA KE TI NA in Britain and is the author or What is Psychotherapy and What is Psychodrama as well as numerous articles and chapters on psychotherapy. He can be reached on telephone: 020-8508 9344.

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