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Rolando Toro Araneda

Founder of Biodanza

"Biodanza began inconspicuously in my life. Then it gradually gained momentum, aroused people's interest, brought about surprising changes in some of the participants, and above all, it created a sense of rebirth and hope in life."

"Each person's life is an act of creation at every moment and thus borders on the extraordinary. Love itself is a creative expression of one's personality."​

 

Rolando Toro Araneda

Coming from a family of educators, Toro himself has been teaching for years in schools in various places in Chile. He discovers that in many schools there is no connection between the students and the subject matter offered. Toro's didactic vision focused on new forms of learning based on direct life experience. But the special value of Toro's method was affectivity and the enjoyment of learning and life as an impulse. Here he already touched on the source of intrinsic motivation: enjoying and learning from a human connection about a theme that warms you up.

 

This did not exclude disciplines of an intellectual nature. It was a matter of integrating intelligence with affectivity (respecting oneself and others and working together). This methodology will later lead to what we find in Biodanza as "vivencial or biocentric method" and from which he will develop the concept of Affective Intelligence.

He also paid attention of developing the creative abilities of his students and he always looked for opportunities to give all the innate talents of children and young people the space to develop.

The step to psychology followed logically from this. At the end of the 1960s, a time when a wind of innovation is blowing in the service of the humanization of psychiatry, and in the many activities related to his research, he has the opportunity to offer different therapeutic systems to patients. This is how he conducted his first experiments with music, dance, painting, drawing and contact.

Based on the positive effects that were observed, he lays the first foundations of his system by carefully documenting his observations. Thus, he created the opportunity to apply it in different clinical settings and to groups considered "normal" (such as his students). The whole of exercises, music and application principles is called "Psychodanza". He will later change this to “Biodanza” and will develop it into a coherent system, based on different areas of science, on the basis of continuous research and in collaboration with various collaborators.

We can therefore say that Biodanza finds its source in Toro's trajectory as a teacher, psychologist and researcher, in an existence marked by challenges, rich encounters and, above all, a human adventure of exceptional intensity.

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Manifesto

We are the memory of the world.

All we have to do is remember...

which vibrates in the heart of our cells.

The fruits of summer, the luxuriance of love,

the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes,

the touch, the courage to create,

the embrace,

that of the meeting and that of the farewell.

The salt of the sea on our skin,

the music of life,

the dance of life.

The ancestral memory

of the absolute possibility of love.

Rolando Toro Araneda

His life

​Rolando Toro Araneda is the founder of Biodanza. He was born in Concéption, Chile, on April 19, 1924.
 

After a career as a teacher in Chile between 1944 and 1957, he studied psychology and was affiliated with several universities. Among other things, he conducted research on the expression of the unconscious and different states of consciousness.

 

Between 1966 and 1973 he developed the Biodanza system, which is now world-wide.


The 1973 coup ended his activities in Chile and he was forced to leave his country. In 1974 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina (within the Argentine Cancer League), where he applied the Biodanza system to mastectomy patients. He is appointed Emeritus Professor at the Inter-American Open University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 1979, Rolando Toro moved to Brazil where he founded a private institute of Biodanza and laid the foundations for the expansion of the system throughout Latin America. In addition, he works with psychiatric patients in hospitals and with women who have undergone a mastectomy after a breast cancer episode.

In 1989 he settled in Italy to make Biodanza known in Europe from there.

 

In 1998, he returns to Santiago de Chile, from where he leads the Biodanza movement and manages the training of the schools and the application of the methodology.

In 2006 he was named Doctor Honoris Causa of the Federal University of Paraíba (Brazil). In 2008 he was appointed emeritus professor by the Metropolitan University of Peru.

 

Rolando was also a painter and poet and published collections of poetry and psychotherapeutic essays, mainly in Spanish. In his own words, he was a poet in his deepest intimacy. One of his definitions for Biodanza is: 'the poetry of human encounter'.

Until the end of his life he contributed to the research of what he calls 'a new pedagogy of the art of living'. He wrote a letter to the Biodanza facilitators shortly before his death.

 

Rolando died on January 16, 2010 in Santiago de Chile.

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"The ultimate goal of Biodanza is to raise the level of ethical awareness, the source of which is the intelligence of the heart."

 Rolando Toro Araneda

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Being someone

It's about time I got around to being someone.

It's time for the tiger, the child, the bee, to appear within me,

the moment comes to be a river, flowing waters,

committed to the destination.

It was about time, after the Age of Triumph, after

the dikes dry with sorrow, after

the fear of being left behind,

I have arrived at the time of the jasmines.

It's about the hour that I come to be somebody,

so anonymous, so light,

like the stalks of bamboo.

Rolando Toro Araneda, from the poetry collection "deUnique Noot"

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