A Season for Drama Queens, Dancing Queens and Passionarity

After a year of dancing together, I am honored to have been appointed Dancing Queen by Tobba13 students. The same week I come across a documentary where mezzo-soprano Joyce di Donato is exploring the concept of Drama Queen. Her journey starts in Venice, where accessorized in black shades, red scarf, lips carefully contoured, she is crossing the lagoon in a motor boat. She is standing upright, her posture is regal and her head is high. She is an incarnation of the Baroque. This is what I call 5-star posture and next semester I am going to teach it in my brand-new course Business Ballet: Advanced Presentation Skills. There is even a course code already: ENG8PO011:1. So by now I should believe that the course really exists. If yet only tentatively as a distant and hazy dream. But one thing is already for certain, we are definitely going to exercise to Baroque Drama Queen music, opening the chest and arms into all directions. Embracing the transparent space with a grace and style never witnessed before on Campus.

This has indeed been a year of great drama. Many dreams have materialized after working for two decades in total obscurity. At times all the positive attention towards my work with kinesthetic learning methods feels quite overwhelming and I keep asking myself whether talking so much about it will eventually lead to the banalization of my work.  The benefit of operating in the margins is that one can be completely uncompromising. I fear that coming into the lime light might result in more talking than doing. As I have stated in previous posts, to me creativity is an everyday practice, not meaningless jargon in meeting rooms. My classroom doors are open to anybody wishing to learn more about my method, but please do not ask me to explain myself in an email or a traditional lecture. Finally, after this eventful year the title Dancing English Teacher seems a bit narrow, yet Dancing Queen might be too excessive, over the top baroque– trop de Drama Queen, n’est-ce pas?  So I will stick to the original even if I seem to have moved further away from pure English teaching over this past year.

In the midst of the Dancing Queen and Drama Queen reflections I have lately come across a third wonderful term: Passionarity. This is a concept introduced to me by my formidable Russian friends Pavel and Ludmila, true practicing passionaries from Saint Petersburg! This is how they explained its meaning to me: “This term by Lev Gumilev means a person full of passion which prevents him or her from leading ordinary life. These people differ from others being charged with passion and inspiration of changing something.”  Yes, I am happy to fully embrace this term! Moreover, I feel very honored and grateful being associated with “passionarity”. And I recognize some of these traits in myself: I am easily inspired and foolish and stubborn enough to believe that I can contribute to a positive change by challenging myself over and over again into taking considerable risks. Notably, ethnographer and historian Lev Gumilev defined this psychological characteristic as being opposite to the instinct of self-preservation! I also have a particular liking for the word Passion as related to music and works by Bach. Passion always involves an element of suffering, passion is definitely not a comfortable state of mind.

Finally, the end of a long semester is a season for Drama Queens. There is room for excessive emotions, for tears and for joy! For speeches and for contemplative silence.

A toast to passionarity!

A toast to passionarity!

In a couple of weeks I will be off for Venice, following in the footsteps of Joyce di Donato.  Meanwhile, thank you all for an eventful and dramatic year and there is yet more drama to come…And please don’t forget to sign in for the Business Ballet course next autumn!

About Pia Kiviaho-Kallio

Dancing English Teacher holds an MA in English Philology and is a certified dance teacher. She takes interest in introducing dance and movement improvisation into vocational business studies. Dance is a shortcut to embodiment, kinesthetic awareness and efficient team work. Thus, business students benefit from dance and movement studies.
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