Dharma & Tummo

Not unlike the sorting hat for juniors attending Hogwarts, Day one at Axis Connect had us placed us into two groups named Dharma and Tummo. Though we had a number of opportunities to bond as one unit, the Dharma’s and Tummo’s made for smaller groups during masterclasses, allowing us individualized attention and more room to dance. But where do the group names come from? What do they mean and how do they relate to our art?

Dharma is a central concept in Buddhism and Hinduism. Though the word has multiple meanings, for our purposes we focus on it representing "the way things are" or "truth." Dharma gets us closer to truth, bringing inner development, happiness and peace. As artists we seek truth and reveal it. As dancers, we seek our most authentic selves and through movement, choreography, artistry and creativity, we show ourselves “as we are.”

A Tibetan word, Tummo translates to “fierce” or “inner fire.” It is a meditative practice found in Tibetan Buddhism, which produces inner heat, hence the meaning of the word. In practicing Tummo, we take all of the energy we spend worrying and judging ourselves and burn it. Basically, channeling negative thoughts into creating positive ones, changing our energy to something healthy and beneficial for our art. What a better way to expand artistry and welcome in new, creative feelings.

Dharma and Tummo also happen to be the names of two magical Lhasa Apso dogs that became part of the Barton family many years ago. Dharma, the female, is feisty, smart, very funny and currently lives in British Columbia. Tummo, the male, is sensitive, loving, and looks like an Ewok but cuter. He lives and travels with Aszure, and our LA dancers will get to meet him this year. Dharma and Tummo (or D & T as we affectionately call them) have been such an important part of the Barton family, they absolutely needed to be part of Axis in some way. So it was these two cuties who inspired our group names!

In the end, we are one big Axis Connect family and use the meanings of Dharma and Tummo to fuel our creative fire and spend our time together feeling open and receptive.

Here’s to developing positive energy and finding our truth :)