Michel Raji

A dancer and choreographer with a classical and contemporary background…

In 1985 he founded his own way of dance and expression, which he calls “Chorésophie”- a path that takes one  from the physical to the metaphysical.

“The breath of life enchanted my birth

I danced before dancing

Happy in my soul, my soul happy in life

I have entered into ‘choresophy’

‘Choreosophy’ is my way

And I am its voice.”

~ Michel Raji

“In the heart of the infinite intimacy of one’s own body,is the choresopher, the Dancing Being , the Dancer of wisdom, born to the non ending of time, whose breaths, giving themselves to that which dances inside . What she/he dances becomes meaningful and present in presence at the same time.

The desire to move another way, to dance beyond ourselves, establishes the gesture of a Choresophy that he/ she can sculpt and act under five essential dimensions : the body, the breathe, space, time and energy. This is a Sensorium of non ending creation, a link between the moments of the present, a crossing that carries us to the unknown, the unexpected, between the immanent and the transcendent.

“In the complex chemistry that develops between breath and dance, breathing and gesture , the point is not to identify with the outcome, but to rely on what the result gives us to live through. Its texture to identify the loom and the frame, the thread of our own feelings.”

~ Michel Raji

As a child, Raji lived in Morroco, having both parents part of Sufi lineages. His grandmother form the mother side was a Sufi Healer from the Derqawiyya tradition and she initiated him as a baby and as a child who was meant to be a lineage holder for them. In this cultural context, Raj used to dance as a normal practice in daily life and in ceremonies of his family. Later he came in France and he trained in sport as a teenager and then as a contemporary, classical and jazz dancer since he was 16 years old. He trained in School of Irène Chevalier in city of Rennes in France. Then in Belgium, the Mudra dance school of Maurice Bejart in Bruxelles, from 1974 to 1975. He left the school because of his intuition of his different  vision of dance.

After he trained in the École supérieure d’études chorégraphiques (ESEC) in Paris from 1975-1976. He won the competition for character dance in Concours des Scènes françaises of Châtillon. In 1976 he becomes soloist in the company Laurette Fouquet who is inspired by his natural body work in a contemporary expression. Raji is also percussionist and that has always been present on this path as a dancer. Then his career is a non stop flow of performances, ( Michel Caserta, Armand Lemal and TRIO JAUK  etc.. ) and solos as Raji is invited by companies in France. In 1979 he creates his own company Amphidanse. After meeting Isabelle Lefevre in 1980 he starts to work in the city of Toulouse. There he works together with her the professional company Wasla Danse. Since then, Raji has been teaching and dancing in theaters, public places, as a soloist. From 1982 his dance is completely turned towards a Dancing Path of Wisdom and starts his work as a “Choresopher”.

Raji has been dancing all his life since he was a child and has been a professional dancer since 1976.

In 1982 Raji is asked to dance in memory of a poet that had committed suicide at the age of 30. On the 10th of November 1982 RAJI dances in memory of Jean Benassar on the demand of his heart friend and poet Serge Pey. Raji remebers the occasion: ” It was the birthday of Jean Benassar’s death. His father and his mother were present. For the first time I danced on music from the Mevlavis of Syria, with ritual objects to ritualise my dance and work with them. This was not about entertainment. I worked on the Tibetan Book of the Death and the Egyptian Book of the Death, the journey of Isis seeking Osiris. From there I heard the calling for a dance to enter in the mystical body. I could not avoid it. I was paying honor the a dead person. To dance our dead body, that is to make the dance live and make the body be born again. … it was a journey of the sun through the night, a journey of the moon. From there I started to work on the breathe.”

“Death is like a prayer touched by the silence”, Raji said and he entered the timelessness of his dance. He found an hourglass which lasts 2 hours and a half. Raji had to enter a solitary process as nobody could listen or understand the journey he was entering. He would reverse the  hourglass and enter in his body. He adopted  the mummy posture, laying down. The breath, the rhythm of the breathe came out of him, and the breathe made his body slowly stand up to the verticality between sky and earth. Raji ended up whirling, as a dancer, not as a religious act, but as a natural arising of his own being though the experience of a deep awareness of his dance. To make his body stand up , his breathe and awareness enters the skeleton and works with the pneuma of inside and outside the body. This means that all the dance, all the speech and the mind, just as the breathe, are not only expiration or only inspiration but both in the re-spiral of the central Nadi. So his body started to dance using the deep muscles as the peripheral muscles could relax and the sense of “gravity” is diminished.

Raji needed to understand and to make sure he was not loosing his sanity, so he started to study deeply and to read about metaphysics, philosophy, psychology and mysticism. Therefore, the Choresophy was created in a solitary and very deep process.

Raji is not formally a Dharma Practitioner. He has gone through many experiences that as he described and as one can perceive from his behaviour in daily life are similar to Mahamudra. The work on Choresophy and on the breathe through the central canal at some point “opened his skull”, as he says. From that point on he had no more desire or needs and entered into a very peaceful state that is the space from where his work with art and teachings unfold.

Raji started to be strongly involved with the concept of Wisdom Dakinis as he met Yumma Mudra and they worked together on “Samaya”- a dance ritual in homage of the Dakinis. But it seems he has always been guided and protected by the Wisdom Dakinis even though he did not use that word.

In his dance Raji joins all the principles of duality which are therefore unified into one single instant of timelessness dance.

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