I kicked off the last day of 2022 with my regular Saturday morning Zumba class. All of my new friends here have come from that studio, which makes it a special place for me. Like my ballroom studio in California, it feels like a home away from home. A place where I can go and let my dance freak flag fly without fear of judgment or rejection. The final Zumba class of 2022 was no exception. I left with a tired body and a full heart.
If you live anywhere on the northern half of the East Coast, then you heard about Winter Storm Kenan, a nor’easter turned “bomb cyclone”, pub crawling its way up the coast Friday through Saturday night. We’ll talk about that in a minute. First, I want to share that after I posted last week about my dance journey currently not including a whole lot of dancing, I got to dance for 2.5 hours on Monday!
Since moving here, I’ve been able to connect with a few other dancers who, like myself, want to continue challenging themselves technically and creatively in their dancing. Monday was our first meetup where we played around with choreography for an hour before my 90-minute ballet class. By the end of the evening, my body was tired and sore, and my soul was happy. We’re aiming to continue our Monday dance sessions, weather permitting.
My latest blog post is live on Medium, challenging the popular belief that hard work equals pain and suffering. Frankly, I’d rather laugh through the unavoidable mistakes that happen along my dance journey than cry!
It feels wrong to dance right now. When there are people out there Who think it’s ok or funny or cool To storm our nation’s Capital, To break windows and doors While people on the other side wonder If this would be the day they died.
It feels wrong to dance On the graves of literally thousands of people Who die daily from a virus that could have been, Should have been, Controlled months ago.
It feels wrong to dance When respect for ourselves, Our neighbors, Our country Has been reduced to a sad, tattered rag Flapping in the wind.
It feels wrong to dance On the surface of a planet that has done everything it can To support and nurture us, And that we have only deceived and decimated.
Who are we to dance? When so many can’t walk Or run Or sleep Without being targeted.
Who are we to dance? When so many can’t leave their homes, And so many others don’t have homes to leave.
Who are we to feel that joy that comes When movement meets music And creates magic?
It feels so wrong to dance right now, To float across the floor to a beautiful melody When there is so much chaos, darkness and ugliness in the world.
Maybe that’s the point.
Maybe dance is the antidote to this poison, A light in the darkness.
When you dance, you can’t scream hateful rhetoric. You can’t throw rocks or blame. You can’t break windows or bones. Your anger is channeled And transformed into calm.
When we’re calm, we can hear each other. When we’re calm, we can help each other.
So even though it feels wrong to dance, Perhaps we must.
Perhaps we must dance Because we need its magic. That magic that happens when chaotic emotion is transformed Into powerful rhythm.
Perhaps we must dance To reintroduce order and flow And beauty and peace Back into the world.
Perhaps we must dance to save ourselves And to save each other.
So dance, my dear dancers. But do it with purpose. Dance here, now, so your light can shine. Dance to listen. Dance to understand. Dance to empower and inspire good in this world. Dance with trust, reason, and compassion. Dance for others And dance for yourself.
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams; — World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems.
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.
Officially two weeks in with this new “stay at home” reality (technically it’s been about a week and a half by order of the state but I started earlier). Week 1 was stressful and surreal, like “crap, is this really happening?” Week 2 was more contemplative. Yes, this is happening and it could be happening for a long while.
It’s been interesting to see how the dance community has reacted to their entire industry essentially being put out of work until further notice. Some reacted quickly to shift their services online and minimize disruption of their business. Some have shifted to giving away their services and asking for donations to keep them afloat. Others are simply showing up online frequently with inspirational messages and short dance demonstrations to encourage people to keep moving. The common thread is no one is ready to give up.
Happy holidays, dancers! I was gifted a poinsettia today, so that means I have officially started decorating the apartment for Christmas. Between getting sick immediately after Thanksgiving and a packed schedule, I just haven’t had much time to clean and break out the holiday decor. I’m sure Santa will understand if the poinsettia is as far as I get.
I know some of you have been busy too with end-of-the-year competitions including Ohio Star Ball, South Open Dancesport and Holiday Dance Classic. It dawned on me after my last lesson that it’s only two months until my first competition goal of 2020 (California Open). I had a brief “oh shit” moment as the doubts all popped up like prairie dogs in my brain. It still feels like I have so much work to do!
That work isn’t what I wanted to write about today though. Recent experiences have reminded me how important it is to just tap into your creativity and play.
In the last two weeks, I’ve had two back-to-back conferences (two days and three days) plus a one-on-one meetup about business, I’ve been interviewed twice about the books and journals I’ve published, and I consulted on interviews with other dancers. And I still managed to feed myself and my dogs and get to the day job on time. For an introvert like me, it was a LOT! While I’m grateful for all of these opportunities, I’m also grateful to be able to stay home for most of the weekend and do quieter things like write this blog post and go to the studio tomorrow for solo practice.