Friday, May 13, 2011

I've Always Been a Dancer

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be in Girl Scouts. I also wanted to take dance lessons and piano lessons.

I had to choose one.

It was such a hard decision. I desperately wanted to fit in with the girls at school—that’s why I wanted to be in Girl Scouts. I also felt a natural inclination to dance: I vaguely remember a show I was part of in kindergarten and I absolutely loved the dancing.

But, we already had a piano at home that I had spent time tinkering on, so I felt the most connected to piano and ultimately, I chose piano lessons.

I didn’t stop dancing. But, over time, dancing became a strictly social activity for me. I only danced if I went to a club or other social gathering where dancing was part of the event. Even then, I was very conscious of how I moved, aware that people watched me, so I made sure to never make a “stupid” move. I always knew I had a sense of rhythm, but I heavily judged my own dancing because I’d never had any training (so how could I possibly "do it right" or "be any good"?). 

I slowly became more sedentary and turned to other things (like making jewelry) as my primary form of expression. The weight piled on, and then it was so much effort to dance that I rarely felt like doing it. I would break a sweat after dancing for only a couple of minutes, and it just didn’t feel very good.

Through the deep and wide journey I’ve been walking over the past year, my eyes have opened. I see and feel who I really am, and the woman I’ve been denying for so many years is happy to be out and about! I’ve done so many things to get out of my comfort zone, including the Movement Montage I spoke about in another blog post.

Since participating in my first Movement Montage, I’ve rediscovered dancing.

Not just rediscovered, though—it’s on a whole other level for me. It’s more primal and it feels more necessary than ever before.

Thanks to yoga and dancing, I have felt my body open up in ways I didn’t realize I was so tightly locked down. My hips are more open, and my joints are looser. And, hold on...

I have hips!
And a waist line! 

And, my muscles are firming up—yet not holding on to nearly as much tension, and, quite simply—I feel better. Part of that is losing weight, of course, but part of it is rediscovering a piece of me, and realizing that I have unearthed one of my many parts that I chose to bury over the years.

Dancing has become a sacred part of my day.

Recently, I went to see a pain specialist to get help for my back pain. We discussed my MRI results, and he said that with the type of degeneration I have in my discs, plus the fact that my dad has struggled with similar issues, I will likely have to stop dancing at some point.

My response to that?

Make me.

You see, I dance just for me.

It’s not an image thing. It’s not even a control thing. It’s about totally letting go of control and just being.

And, yes, it's also about surrender.

(And heaven knows I need all the practice in that that I can get.)

I dance because I want to—not to impress anyone or try to get anyone’s attention—and that is freeing in a way that I’d never thought possible. I’m free to just be my hammy self and move in ways I want to move.

A friend of mine recently marveled at how my hips move as well as my strong sense of rhythm, and how I can sense the flow of music. She knew I was a musician just by the way I danced.

That got me thinking. When I'm dancing... it feels good, and I am utterly connected to the music I'm dancing to.

I feel sensual… even sexy.

I’m realizing something else, too.

I am graceful.

I dance with abandon.

I dance for the love of dancing.

I dance because I can’t not dance…

And no matter what any doctor says, I will keep dancing—from now till the end.


  1. I love this post, Ll. You know how important dancing is in my every day life. I've been dying to do a little dancing myself but it has taken me some serious rest to recover from my hysterectomy. I may have to check out the place you linked to. They even have barre work which I would love. Thanks.

  2. I was not a dancer until I was 28 and discovered dancing to drum 'n bass/jungle. Then it was all over. I was in the best shape of my life when I was dancing every day. Every day for years.

    But it was so much more... truly, I get this, Linda Lee, all of what you're trying to convey about what dancing feels like, emotionally, sexually, spiritually. I get this deep down to my bones. Don't you ever stop!!