I had never danced before. Beside the classic head-bob and a few occasions of high school grinding, dance was non-existent in my reality. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me. So I did as any young ego-driven man does and I made fun of it, classifying it in my head as feminine and, therefore, unacceptable for a real man like myself.
I am a man. I am not supposed to show feelings, to open my arms and chest wide, to jump about in glee, to play. I do not show any hint of vulnerability. Save that for the weak.
Then I witnessed dance improvisation.
People moving about, weaving and gliding in and out of each other untouched. Turns, spins, jumps, shapes, rolls, floreio. Smooth, effortless to the point where it all seems choreographed; it must be. They seem to know exactly where they’re going, exactly what’s next. What is this? It’s so… beautiful. Yeah guys, Beautiful!
That Man inside me was challenged. Watching other men moving so gracefully, free, and downright cool, not to mention dancing with very attractive women. Men dancing with each other, but not necessarily intimate the way we tend to think, just dancing… Flowing.
I was challenged because I wanted this for myself but a big, strong part of me was on the opposing side. That bigger, powerful part of me was my ego. The part that defines who I am. And I am not a dancer.
I had built up so much negativity around dance that I couldn’t even allow myself to want it. So upon seeing this scene of such freedom, I cowered. I drove inward and engaged in a mental battle, still observing the beauty unfold in front of me. That day I danced a little while highly self conscious and restricted, but I spent most of the time on the sidelines.
Then, with time I started to dance. Slowly.
I could not un-see what I had seen or un-feel what I had felt. I don’t know how, but I knew that strong part of my ego must be defeated. I knew that if I could dance, I would conquer a part of myself that must be conquered.
I attended more events like the one I speak of. I attended classes and workshops. I even attended a week long retreat that was mostly dance improvisation.
As I learned and tried, and tried, and tried… Something amazing happened. Life changing.
I experienced freedom. I unlocked that which had been stored for so long.
Expression, Emotion, an energy pulsing through me. As if I wasn’t doing the moving, but I was being moved. The music was dancing me.
I let go. With letting go came a profound sense of joy and flow state: timelessness, carelessness, presence, being. This state allowed me to truly be me – my authentic self. In movement, in true expression there is nobody to be except oneself. No ego or persona to hide behind.
I wish I could give it to you, place the feelings and the memories within you. But I can’t, and all I have is these lowly words that don’t do any of it justice. Nobody is going to convince you to dance, but I hope this sharing of experience opens a door for you, as someone else’s once did for me.
I’ll finish with a picture of one of the many powerful experiences I’ve had with dance. I’m at a music festival dancing mid-day (no drugs). This is a particularly small and intimate festival as I’ve seen the same people for a few days now. I’m dancing all around an open stage, moving through everybody with a playful joy, creating eye contact with those who wish to share the experience. I make my way back to home base on the right side of the stage where my friends are dancing. I step back, watching them enjoy themselves grooving with all kinds of new friends we’ve met. I fall. Down onto my knees I’m taken with emotion. Eyes fill with tears, the best tears. Looking on observing the rhythm taken on by the people. I sit with this emotion, grateful for what I have found in dance. The freedom that it has allowed me. The feelings it has allowed me to feel. Sadness for my prior self in never having this outlet. Happy he found it.
With Love and Curiosity,
(Thoughts, Questions??? Let’s Talk. Email: Sitwithmitch@gmail.com)