20th season in East Lansing!
20th season in East Lansing!
The story of an individual life and how it affects the individual.
The whole person's story.
We approach the arts from a holistic view and foundation. Meaning a view that implies all the parts (individual stories) are interconnected and meaningful to the whole. We keep the whole person in mind when working with them in the performing and healing arts. By doing so, we can better teach our students (performing arts) and better help our clients (healing arts) to heal and grow.
Each person has a unique story. Only over time can we come to be familiar with or begin to know a person's story. That is why our best work is generally with the individuals we work with over years and years. Their story is vitally important to our work together. If we get to know their individual story, we can better help them succeed.
Especially when there are blocks or obstacles in the student or client, by considering the person's full story, we can be more sensitive, more compassionate, and more effective in assisting a breakthrough toward growth and confidence.
Today, in late summer 2023, all people are still coping with the shock and trauma of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, masking, and the dramatic shifts in economics and culture. Although many people do not consciously know they are processing these changes. When we remember how much all of us changed during these past few years, we can have a bigger picture outlook that brings more possibilities for learning and growth.
Students today are often filled with anxiety. Our young students, especially from Okemos & East Lansing, were forced to cope with school shootings, school lockdowns, armed police in their schools, dangerous threats, and of course the active shooter trauma that MSU and our community endured. It may seem like time has passed, but deep in our psyches we are all still effected by these events. To know this, and to keep this in the front of our minds when working with students and clients, is a big help in facilitating a holistic view of the struggles people go through. Which brings compassion and a deeper search for effective strategies for working through issues.
Beyond these circumstances, students are often facing divorces of their parents, coping with parental custody issues, bullying situations online and in school, illnesses and deaths of loved ones, and a struggle academically while trying to make up ground from lost educational opportunities due to the pandemic. When we know about these stories, we can be better as teachers, directors, and healing practitioners.
Performing arts training is fun. But it also brings individual challenges and obstacles. Our performing instrument is ourselves. To tune our instrument is to tune ourselves. Of course, at the younger ages this goes on without student awareness and without directness from the teacher. Meaning the young five to ten or twelve years olds do the classwork without the aspect of introspective self-reflection. Yet the development of their arts work inevitably affects their personhood and their emotional, psychological, and spiritual inner lives. If we can bring each student greater confidence, it is a wonderful success.
The teens and young adults often face these challenges with a more direct self-reflection in order to move past the obstacles and grow. Knowing our students’ stories allows us to better discern if we should address issues as they come up, and which way to better address them, or, if we should best leave the issues alone and work around them. Some students simply aren't ready to face certain issues and it is best to wait until students are clearly ready and able to deal with themselves in an introspective manner. We aim to maintain clarity between the two.
As we get to know our students and clients, we can assist their development by helping them with positive mental toughness, brain gym exercises for whole brain health, being fully present so they feel (and are) heard and taken in by a caring teacher or practitioner, among other ways to bring our students and clients to feeling good, confident, and excited about life.
Often times a simple hug is best. Some kids love to have hugs, while others are not comfortable with hugs. Both are respected. Both are honored and made to feel good about themselves.
The holistic view reminds us of what is most important about our work, the person. The holistic view reminds us that often the work must remain stagnant until the student is ready to push forward. And that is okay. To push forward to force a student to learn is a mistake. The student learns in their own time. The teacher must be okay with whatever pace is natural for the student. While we like fast growth and like to see our students expand and become better performers, we know we must not force it, but we must nurture it slowly and surely.
In our healing arts work, the holistic approach means we aim to integrate the whole person into the specific issue we are working with. If a client wants to work to heal or improve a specific aspect of themselves, that aspect is seen in relation to the whole person. All the roles we play as individuals are considered. Often, we are very empowered in one role we play and totally un-empowered in other roles. Integrating all our roles and efforts are key to wholeness.
Being authentic is a success. Being and feeling authentic is such a wonderful experience. It innately brings a feeling of confidence and truth. Assisting our clients to discover and live in authenticity is powerful. All of us prefer truth to falsehood, yet we often need some help distinguishing between the two. All our work is client-driven, meaning the client leads the way and we follow and help where we can. We do not push our clients any more than we push our students. We go at the individual's pace.
By using positive techniques that empower our clients we can observe the growth and development. In this same process we are changed too. To witness and experience a client’s growth and empowerment, we are affected by the vibratory resonance that accompanies the encounter. It is thrilling for the client as well as us. The holistic approach allows us to feel confident that the client is being honored in their beautiful fullness and not seen as broken parts.
Holistic Arts approaches the individual and the art as an interconnected whole. The art and the person must be true and transparent to complete the bond. A fuller life of pleasure, happiness, and meaning comes from the accomplishment and achievements of the specific work.
Joy infuses our studios and our class environments. Each day we are happy and excited to see our students and clients. Our studio community is vibrant and respectful, and we are all uplifted by our interactions. How lucky are we all?
Radiating love and light,
Mark & Celina Ruhala
At Ruhala Center, we believe that the performing arts have the power to transform lives and enrich communities.
We take a holistic approach to performing arts education, incorporating technique, creativity, and self-expression.
Our students have the opportunity to showcase their talents through a variety of performances, from showcases to full-scale productions.