Melt, expand, collapse, resist, fall, push through, shrink, appear, touch, leap, evaporate, divide. Dance dynamics are human dynamics.
When we move our bodies, we move everything: thoughts, stories, memories, feelings, fears, delights.
An instant from Grade 4 flashes on the screen of my mind.
The visceral feeling of a dream rolls through.
Someone separates from me as I approach, and old stories of loyalty, abandonment and freedom surface like a fish through water. I get to watch it all, as I dance.
Unwinding the thread and following the bread crumbs of my own movement desires is a practice in cultivating witness mind. Just like meditation or yoga — only more so, for me. Because in dancing, I go places my seated or stationary body doesn’t take me. I twist and touch and tighten and crumble into shapes and corners unique unto me – and up and out and onto the surface come crumbs and sweat drops I didn’t remember I had forgotten. A sudden taste in my mouth. A squeeze of desire. An urgent curiosity to sniff the floor. Only my animal body leads me down those paths.
28 years into dancing this way, and I trust my instincts deeply. A year and some into dancing this way 3 times a week almost every week, and my cup is full and filling. Dross leftover from office job days — I’ve cleared a lot of that. Emotions too long suppressed — I’ve upped and outed them. Angst that bubbled up in my first classes years ago is replaced now with smooth flowing release, images and impulses that I for the most part gratefully, complicity allow.
This reminds me of what one of my mentors, Katie Hendricks, says about regular meditation: it clears the content. Leaves mental and energetic space to sense and see the context of events, personalities and emotions — and to participate in what’s happening now. My thought today is that following my body’s breadcrumbs 3 times a week for months now, I’ve opened up reliable flow – the flow of each couple of days rather than a backlog of weeks or years.
My system seems to thrive on this — to need and expect and appreciate a regular cleaning out of my energetic pipes. A squeezing of my emotional and perceptual sponge. If I extrapolate out from myself (as I and some other human beings are wont to do :), I make up that a regular wringing-out and relaxing is innate to a body – part of our animal heritage.
I imagine sea sponges and otters and caterpillars and oxen have their ways of releasing their accumulated energetic dross at regular times.
Take the garbage out.
Shed the dead skin cells.
Look under the dead log’s bark for a new sprout, in all its green.
Let loose your energetic hair, and flow.