Unconference, the word piqued my curiosity for a while now.
I checked it up on the internet only to find that the idea has gained tremendous momentum across the globe.
The idea of un-structuring the ingrained structure seemed interesting to say the least, in creating spaces and possibilities to honour the learning.
Suffice to say recently, when I came across an Unconference event in the local newspaper I decided I must make a visit.
The venue of this Unconference was the well known Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts in Pune. I reached just in time for the proceedings to untold.
A customary registration ensued and I was greeted by a few volunteers with a relaxed warm and welcoming attitude. Clearly, the Unconference had started right there.
The word Conference kind of stiffens people up. There is a formal attitude, a thick air of competition to perform at their very best. There are fees and strict rules to adhere to. There are super busy organisers scurrying through and tension is writ large on their faces and their bodies as well are stressed out with expectations of the outcome of the event. Suited men and women whizz through looking super important. And yes there would be a Chief Guest of honour and a coterie of important people who need VIP handling… Adherence to their whims and fancies and most importantly their speeches which may or may not be of interest to any. But all must endure as to get up and leave is an offence to the speaker.
On the contrary here there was a prevalent free-spirited feeling in the first place that all were in it together. The sense of community always takes time to build so I stood in that room with a small group of people waiting for the (informal introductory practice,) the opening circle.
The Opening Circle :
Someone from the group had taken an initiative to design a pretty pattern made of flowers in the centre of the space and light a lamp there.
A few introductory rounds later which turned out to be icebreakers with a few games to let loose and get into the flow.
There was a board set up with a mention of few rooms and a time slot to boot. The participants were encouraged to choose to attend or conduct workshops or just wander around and network.
A few people got up to mention their workshops and claim their slot. On a moment’s impulse although I was not exactly in the right attire for a dance workshop I simply decided to go with the flow and offered a Dance connection workshop by me.
Encouraged by a decent number of participants I let the moment take the lead. As I began teaching I witnessed the flow of the energy in the exchange.
I spoke about the dance, hold, frame and positioning and started introducing them to partner dancing and some basic steps. Bit by bit people shed inhibitions as they were getting tuned into the moves.
The moment strangers began to hold hands and face one another… for many, there was harmony to be found in the mirror imaging. For after all the lead and follow were simply an extension of each other dancing as one unit.
The energy in the room turned up a notch with the Achy Breaky Heart country cha sounds of Billy Ray Cyrus for company.
All started sensing the tuning with their partners at that moment. And an all-new dance impression in the expressions birthed itself in their hearts.
After the dance workshop I asked what they felt in that moment and here is what they shared immediately…
The Give and Take
Truly to immerse yourself in that which you love all you have to do is to take a step … for your own good as much as for the others.
Essentially the whole experience was to me simply about honouring life energy in all its uniqueness of expression.
Great experience being a part of this interesting initiative!