Last weekend I danced…
I danced in the company of women and I danced in a place I adore.
I danced all alone and I danced with others, feeling supported in a way I’ll remember.
I learnt and appreciated more the stories that we all carry in our veins and in the blood that dances in them: of our ancestors and of what it is to be a woman.
I find the dance* floor to be a healing place and here are my 9 reasons why.
(This is my latest post).
*Please note that I am talking about a specific kind of dancing called 5 Rhythms. There are classes all around London and if you are reading this from overseas, or around the U.K. and would like to look for a class, please do Google as they’re are classes and workshops all over the place, though If you are up for traveling to a good one…
Here’s a #throwingthenetopen recommendation!
For me, the containment of the dance is part of the magic of the whole thing: once we feel safe; we feel more relaxed to get on and dance. So if you are UK based or up for travel, check out Julie’s classes and workshops here, she also leads workshops with her husband David.
If you’re know you like small groups, then do a bit of research and get in touch with those leading evenings, or workshops and ask them about class size, as it will make a difference to your experience whether there are a lot of folk dancing, or smaller groups. There are also mixed classes, or for men only and women only. It might take a while to find what works for you and it’s always interesting to pay attention to what feels right as we change, and so different things can feel right at different times in our lives, so don’t expect to find the exact right fit straight away. But if you feel curious: keep searching!
So here goes, #throwingthenetopen on the 9 reasons why dancing can touch us in ways that surprise:
- The dance floor makes immediate what can be otherwise pushed down and hidden…
What I love and appreciate about the 5 Rhythms practice is that it brings forward what I need to engage with, particularly when dancing with others. Because yeah sure I can bop about by myself, but it is in dancing with another that I come face to face with all the peculiarities that make up me: my awkwardnesses and shynesses, my longings and fears, isolations and sadnesses, distractions and demands and well everything really.
Yes I get the splendid isolation of getting on with your practice, but sometimes that’s just another ideal getting in the way. Because often it’s in relationship to others that we learn to thrive and release. Dancing brings me into relationship; sweet, sound and simple.
Here on the dance floor a grump passes when dancing with a partner and sadness flows when acknowledged and shared by the group.
And so the kaleidoscopic reality of being human unfolds and here we are a shimmering and a glittering in the noon day sun. The moon, a luminous reality we bask in, reminded of a world long gone.
2. The dance floor reminds me to go slow…
If I get over excited and started gazolloping about all over the place I get an asthma attack. Because of this I am learning, at the pace of a particularly slow schloop to go slower and be more mindful of my body and my breath and take pauses, pit stops, hey even seek those rests right out. To sit on the sidelines for a bit and connect to my breath, to feel a wall or lie down on the floor, feel my feet, my body, to come back to the moment rather then be swept away, this is the work of the dance.
3. You can cry on the dance floor…
Crying is healing. To have a place then where I can experience the freedom of tears that are seen and held as they were on this workshop last weekend, instead of pushing them down and telling them I’ll feel them later – at a more appropriate time – or even following that impulse to go off and cry in a room alone, where I cannot be seen or heard; that is a hard impulse to deny for sure. But if I, if we, can allow ourselves the luxury of feeling and dancing through pain, that is a gift supreme.
When it looked like my ex and I would be splitting, I went to a 5 Rhythms dance near where we lived and I danced. Half way through dancing, tears starting falling down my face. It was the first time I had cried on a dance floor, but to dance with the tears and explore what was there with motion and give space to those feelings of loss and sadness felt precious. Often talking gets in the way when we loose things; movement can help us in extraordinary ways.
4. The dance reveals…
Us humans experience events that can be tumultuous and scary, but still we go on (please check out song below), exploring and enquiring and giving and receiving and I think on the dance floor some of that courage is honoured. That we all have secrets and hurts and longings but that on the dance floor we can dance our own private homage to them where in the absence of words, connections are made that speak of worlds far larger then our own. This is a sacred place for us all.
5. The dance reminds us of what is important…
We loose much as a culture that we do not make more of an effort to bring together our rainbow generations, in the name of healing together and learning from one another. That the young miss out on the lessons, wisdom and path of the elder generation and that the elder generation miss out on enjoying the innocence and confidence of the younger generation. On the dance floor, this opportunity is made real. Here we can dance with babes just born – or yet to be born! Girls becoming women and women becoming grand-mothers, young men becoming men and fathers and grand-fathers and all the other myriad relationships and milestones we go through. The dance floor is not exclusive.
6. On the dance floor we can explore our sensuality and our playfulness…
…and we can explore feet thumpin’, legs pumpin’, cell dissolvin’, skin sweatin’ joy. And that is a gift indeed.
7. The dance floor is a moveable feast…
I have enjoyed dance floors on the edge of cliffs overlooking the ocean, in churches, valleys, town halls, beaches, tents, around fires, in sitting rooms and atop beds.
And yet still life ploughs on and there days slip into months and I feel the absence of dance in my body and my life. I need reminding. This is what last weekend was for me: a reminder.
So that earlier in the week, I turned to Eve and said lets dance. And we did and she found an old CD that was there all along, the music as exquisite as can be. A CD in fact that the friend who took me to my first 5 Rhythms class made for me. That feels sweet to write that.
“More dancing mama,” Eve would call out, twirling and swirling and leaping around the room every time this craggy ol’body crawled onto the bed for some time out, feeling pooped and wanting to lie down.
And I was reminded of something that Julie said, quoting something her teacher had said to her:
“The kind of tiredness you have is not the kind that can be healed by going to sleep. Even if you went to sleep for a 100 years you won’t be cured. The only cure for this tiredness is to STAY AWAKE!”
So here’s to the dance and here’s to #throwingthenetopen and including in our lives whatever it is that keeps us awake.
The fire in our hearts kept stoked.
And now over to you: what’s healing for you? Is it dancing? A place? A song?
If you feel to, I’d love to read your comments below.
Have a cool weekend everyone,