A dance newsletter came into my inbox this afternoon, and at the end there was a poll about dance names. I answered the questionnaire, which asked how you got your dance name (given by a teacher, a name reference, made it up, etc). I checked the box next to “I dance under my own name.” I dance under my own name because dance
wasn’t isn’t about what I do, it’s about who I was am. I used to be am most honestly myself when I’m dancing, and have often said that if you want to know who I am, you must watch me dance.
Which is why I don’t have a dance name.
Which made me think again about why I don’t dance lately.
If I can’t dance anymore, is it because I no longer know who I am? Has the dance truly left me?
I just don’t accept that something that has been at the heart and soul of who I am could totally disappear from me like that. I think back to last winter and spring and the feelings of devastation and grief and loss-of-self that accompanied the depression. I think back to what was happening in my life leading up to that. I see how I could have tangled the dance up in my mind and began to associate it with fear and anxiety.
On the positive side, I also know that my creative spirit did not die…it simply shifted places and has been expressing itself in other ways. That’s how I know the dance isn’t dead. It didn’t die, it’s quilting!
But I hate it that depression has created this dead space inside of me where joy used to reside. I want that hole to go away forever! I want joy back. I want to dance again. Not to teach (not right away)…just to dance. Just for myself, because I don’t feel complete without it, even though it causes me anxiety and fear right now.
And so I have decided to do something about it.
I’m going to give myself a shot of immersion therapy.
The other day an offer to take an on-line dance class with Nadira Jamal arrived in my in-box. Instead of deleting without opening as I have been doing with all dance-related stuff, I read it. then, on a total impulse, I signed up for it.
I am putting dance into my path where I will stumble upon it everyday when the next lesson arrives in my inbox, with no expectations other than that I will read each exercise and be open to trying.
Instead of being a teacher, I will be a student.
I have no expectations of myself on a professional level …instead, I give myself permission to relax and let it happen. And if it scares me, I will breathe deeply, set it aside and look at it again the next day.
The course is about improvisation and the American Cabaret multi-part show style. Yes, this is stuff I’m familiar with, but it’s also an area that I always wanted a good refresher in. Am Cab, with its Turkish influence, requires an exuberance of spirit that is big and bold and unrestrained in a flamboyant way that Egyptian Classical is not. So it’s a form of bellydance that doesn’t come naturally to me – that’s largely unexplored by me. This is good. This is how I hope to reconnect with my dancing body.
As a dance geek, I know that, above all else, there is never anything that cannot be built onto, added into, enriched, re-sized, refreshed, re-examined or re-learned. When one stops learning and seeking knowledge from others, one ceases to grow.
Wish me well – cheers to growth, health and continued recovery!