We Dance

We’ve made it through another difficult week. I spent the week not sleeping well, working the day job, and reading and listening to multiple points of view on the issues. I also “muted” myself on social media in favor of discovering new-to-me BIPOC dancers and artists and sharing those instead. I’ve linked a few favorites at the end of this blog post.

I didn’t do much dancing. I took Teacher’s online technique class on Wednesday, but I skipped the various dance fitness classes I’ve been taking. I didn’t do any exercise really, aside from walking the dogs. Reality was just weighing too heavy on my shoulders. By the end of the week though, I was feeling the urge to do something creative. To dance, or to write. I was also feeling the urge to clean. A clear space can lead to a clearer mind.

During this pandemic (remember that crisis?), I’ve pulled back a lot on my dance technique and choreo training in favor of conditioning. I questioned my future as a dancer, partly seeing my shift as a lack in discipline and commitment and partly because I didn’t know what the world of dance would look like on the other side. I also lacked the enthusiasm that I saw expressed in others to jump back into competing as soon as possible.

I’ve done more work on expanding my perception and awareness of myself and my reality in the last few months than I’ve ever done in my lifetime. The last couple weeks have been focused on the issue of racism in this country and how I can be part of the positive change I believe can and will happen. Before that, I was grappling once again with the definition of a dancer and how well I fit.

The two merged when I saw this video posted by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Our voices ring loudly through our bodies’ language.

Like so many others, I’ve wondered what I can do that would make a difference in the current struggle. I don’t have any in-depth knowledge of politics or policy-making. I don’t have the wealth to give to those who do have that knowledge or the power to enact actual change. I’m just an amateur ballroom dancer with a blog and a day job.

Our voices ring loudly through our bodies’ language.

That is what I can do. I can dance.

As a dancer,

  • I know how to face my fears and my ego and work past them to become better.
  • I understand that learning something once rarely sticks. I have to keep practicing.
  • I’ve experienced how fixing one little thing can improve the entire dance.
  • I know I am ultimately responsible for my own journey AND I know it is foolish to try to go it alone.
  • I know how richer the experience is when it is shared with others who have mutual love and respect for each other.

Our voices ring loudly through our bodies’ language.

As dancers, we are “always moving, loving, creating, sharing, even with our heavy hearts.” That is our gift that we can share with the rest of the world. Through our dancing, we can show others how to rest but not quit, how to keep moving through the stumbles, and how even the tiniest tweak can make a huge difference.

I think the last part is key. People often resist change because it feels too big and too overwhelming. It’s easier to keep things the same, even if they’re worse. As ballroom dancers, we know how big of an impact a slight adjustment to our foot position or frame can have. When our teachers correct our position, it’s rarely a huge change. Shift this way an inch. That’s all we have to do to start to improve.

Once we’re aware of the difference, it’s a lot easier to catch ourselves when we slip back into old habits. When, not if. How many times has poor Teacher had to remind me to keep my frame up or my core engaged? More times than he’d like to count, I’m sure.

It’s the same idea when it comes to practicing antiracism and creating a better future for everyone. It’s not going to happen overnight. As we (non-POC) become aware of how racism plays a role in our lives and make changes, we’ll fall back into old habits at some point. The important thing is we catch ourselves, have a support system around us to help us stay accountable, and pick that frame back up!

As I wrote on my social media post yesterday, this country is trying to learn some new dance moves. As dancers, we know how hard and intimidating that can be. We also know it can be done with time, patience and practice.

Some of the dancers I’ve discovered over the past week:

Love the use of color in her performance.

I love her expressions! So playful.

I caught these guys on World of Dance. I thought it ended too quickly; I wanted to see more! And honestly? I don’t think it “wasn’t ready for World of Dance.” I think World of Dance isn’t ready for this type of traditional dance that the judges aren’t familiar with and can’t easily compare to anything else. At least they got some exposure, which is a step in a good direction.

These lady tap dancers are fire!! Love their energy and power.

Keep dancing, dancers!


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