To Dance…that is the question

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!

5 thoughts on “To Dance…that is the question

  1. I am woefully behind on blog-reading (and writing!) so I just read this. I hope it’s going well so far, Nita. You continually amaze me. XOX

  2. I find myself flitting from one interest to another, then back again, and round and round. I guess I get bored with things easily — or I like a variety of activities. Don’t know.

    Go with what feels right to you — enjoy your class. 🙂

  3. ” On the other side of fear is freedom ”
    My mantra that has helped me overcome so much … Nita , when you dance (sigh )
    magic happens … I wish you JOY !

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