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A Corps Perdu by Stephanie Landouer

February 18, 2015

Steph:MalaA Corps Perdu was the title of the first piece I choreographed for my company of the same name, A Corps Perdu Dance Company. Truth is, I didn’t know what A Corps Perdu actually meant.

A literal translation would be: “lost body,” but that wasn’t really quite right. I would try to explain and the closest translation I came to was: “wholeheartedly.” Yet, this wasn’t satisfying to me, either. In the French idiom, A Corps Perdu, there is an idea of necessity and urge, an idea of having no other option.

When I was 18, I learned the hard way that dreams don’t wait. A few months apart, I lost my 20 year old cousin as I knew him, and a very dear 14 year old student. They both had dreams, so big!!! Yann wanted to ride the oceans and be a skipper, and Clémence wanted to dance.

My dream couldn’t wait. My urge to speak my soul, out loud, through my body, couldn’t wait. So, I danced, and danced, and danced, with all of my being. Ten years later, when I built my company, the name, “A Corps Perdu” just made sense – for my angels and for me.

It was only about two years ago that I found it – the perfect word to translate A Corps Perdu: Bhakti. “Devotion” doesn’t work as well, but the Sanskrit word “Bhakti”, that’s what A Corps Perdu really is: the words of poetry that have no choice but to be written; the love at the bottom of your belly that has no choice but to be lived; the songs on your lips that have no choice but to be sung; the dances in your heart that have no choice but to be danced; the dreams under your wings that have no choice but to become real; the voice that has no choice but to be heard; the screaming body that has no choice but to be seen; the jewel inside you that has no choice but to be revealed.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna says:

“Where is Bhakti without the melting of the heart marked by the rise of goose bumps and the flow of tears of joy from the eyes?
Yet, without the intensity of this love how can one’s being become purified?
The one whose words stumble because of this joy, whose heart melts from the tenderness of love, who weeps when feeling separated from me, who every now and then spontaneously laughs in wonder, as the thought of my mysterious marvels, who sings and dances in joy, without inhibition: the one who is joined to me through love purifies the whole world.”

… the one who is joined to me through love purifies the whole world… So what is it, in you, my friends; that allows you to feel this connection? What makes your heart melt and gives you goose bumps? What brings tears of joy from your eyes? What is so intense that living it makes you feel fuller, more alive, purified? Do you have an answer? Then, why don’t you do it more often?!!!

Here are my two personal favorite devotional practices: I love the japa practice, the repetition of a mantra, and I love reading poetry. Now, the word practice itself entails that it is not always easy, so let me give you a couple practical tips on how to make your devotional practice successful.

1, Keep it simple!

If you pick a mantra and the japa practice is newer to you, choose a simple one. My teacher passed one along to me: Aham Prema, which means, “I am Love,” easy, short and beautiful, it is one of my favorites to practice. Sit down in a quiet place and repeat your mantra 108 times.

2. Be consistent.

The repetition and the discipline in your practice are what will bring the magic and miracles. Keep going back every day.

3. Do it first thing in the morning.

The temptation to look at your phone or to turn on the computer after waking up is so big! Leave the distractions aside. Reading a poem or practicing your mantra first thing in the morning is magical. The connection with the divine feels so pure. You’ll still have the entire day to hold your phone in your hand; just resist the temptation a tiny bit longer.

The Bhakti practice maybe one of the most accessible and yet one of the most powerful, because it is all in you! It is all the love at the bottom of your belly that you’re longing to connect with… that you are longing to feel and share – with no boundaries. Pick your practice, dig in deep, and live it out loud.

That’s it! A Corps Perdu!




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