There are those among us who are natural dancers; gifted with such gracefulness, it is as if they walk to music. Such individuals have an innate sense of rhythm, always stepping to the beat. They pick up dances, from salsa to hip hop, easily and make even the most intricate dance moves seem effortless.
And then, there are those of us who struggle clumsily, to move to the music, having to count out every step of the cha cha as if our lives depended on it. We take dance lessons and practice constantly to learn simple steps that we are always at risk of forgetting. And, a turn can leave us completely lost.
I come from a family of dancers. My mother was trained in traditional Okinawan dance from a young age and her brother is a master in the arts of the Ryukyu Islands, including dance. Two of my sisters were disco queens, back in the day. Yet, I was not blessed with such genes. I’ve always felt self-conscious dancing even though I’ve taken lessons in ballet, salsa, folk, even improvisational dance.
My sister, Kathy (one of the dancing sisters), fondly recalls watching me at a school dance where everyone was rocking out to some heavy beats while my dance partner and I were center stage, under the spotlight, doing our minimalist cool moves. While she says we looked great, you can imagine why I continue to be self-conscious. Still, whether I do it well or not, I love to dance. I can’t help moving to an upbeat song, particularly if I’m home alone. What is that saying…”dance as if no one is watching…” (Though, I hope that doesn’t include the drunken frat boy dance.)
We are born to move and music awakens us to dance. While we may not all be natural dancers, dancing is natural. After all, babies move to music without ever being taught. Dance is a part of every culture and there are dances for every occasion. Almost every species engages in some form of dance.
Moving through life can be thought of as a dance with twists, and turns, steps forward, to the side, and back, with partners or solo. Our workshop this month is about moving…not just dance, but how we move through the journey of life. Brittany Berman, of our Artist and Healer Network, will lead us in JourneyDance, a personal exploration through movement. And Jason will guide us through life mapping where we note the “moves” in life that we’ve made.
There is an Okinawan dance, usually done at the end of festivities, loosely called “the crazy dance.” Everyone is invited to dance freestyle, joining in a circle, hands twirling above the head, feet shuffling any which way, dancing alone and yet with others. I invite you to come and dance “crazy” with us as we journey through life.
“Moving forward is not the only direction; sometimes one must move sideways or even take a step back.”