Liberating Your Dance
The first time I did this kind of dance I felt awkward, self conscious and worried about what other people were doing and thinking. I nearly didn’t return a second time.
I have learned, over the last twenty years of dancing and teaching, that the way to a full, free and liberating dance experience, can be summed up in three golden pieces of advice:
- Give attention to your breath
- Move with to how you are
- Prioritise pleasure
Give attention to your breath
When we bring our attention back to our breath we bring ourselves right into this present moment. When we notice how we breathe, through our nose or mouth, how the breath comes in to our chest or belly, the quality of the inhale and exhale, we make it our meditation. We then find we can drop our self-consciousness, reistances and stories, letting the past and future remain where we are and can just breathe into each moment.
Move with how you are
During the attempt to bring attention to your breath, notice how you are, it might be obvious or subtle. The next step is to find the dance of how you are, give the feeling to your movement, to dance with the texture or flavour of you. In this way we get to have our feeling, rather than it having us, whatever feeling it is, it’ll change, a bit like the weather. The irony is that so many of us avoid really immersing ourselves in our feelings, we fear it won’t help or we worry we’ll get stuck there.
The paradox is, if we really let ourselves have the dance of however we are, it can be really enjoyable. Not only when we’re dancing our glorious joyous open hearted dances, but also our dances of fear or irritation or sadness. When we give ourselves our attention, space and time, it can be deeply satisfying and nourishing. Don’t undervalue pleasure, it’s not hedonistic or self indulgent but it’s honouring the inherent wisdom of our bodies. The number one relationship to make priority is the one with yourself, building it on trust, kindness, respect and compassion. How this translates on the dancefloor is to really practice listening generously to your whole self. Turning a generous ear to how you are and having a willingness to practice self compassion over and over again. Then, if we’re lucky, that can ripple out into our relationships with others, bringing that open hearted kindness with us to them, and to the world around us.
Next time you come to dance, I invite you to take these three nuggets. I’d love to hear how they, or anything else, work for you.