Externalising the Internal

Today I returned to my dance class for the first since in 4 weeks, the Christmas holidays although wonderful did not make for a smooth return to the intense world of advanced jazz. To say I feel stiff right now would be a gross negligence as it would not even be remotely adjacent to a feeling close to that which I am feeling. Tired, sore, slightly dizzy which probably should be alarming only I know it is due to a decline in my fitness combined with an overzealous approach to the class tonight and nothing alarming.

This is what I am feeling now, post 2 hour class, 20 minute walk home, 10 minute hot shower, 1 litre of water and an orange. These are after class emotions and aches that are clouding my mind. Therefor for perhaps my benefit alone I shall try to express how I felt IN class to try to overwhelm my current state and give possibility to creating a state where by I might motivate myself to get up in the morning.

Dance for me has always been a life line. Taking a class is like walking in to a world all of your own creation, a world you both don’t and do control. It is of course physically and mentally demanding but it also allows for the most blissful, cathartic experience where nothing can interrupt your true expression, thoughts and feelings. There is a precious silence, a stillness of mind that comes over me when I dance. It is as if my body moves to instructions I am not consciously giving, my mind is not swirling with the worries of the day or the various elements of my life. I am just dancing, moving to music.

Dancing is difficult, it takes commitment, practice and determination. All these factors lead to a development of strength far beyond the physical. There are days when I may be truly struggling, feeling lost and overcome by pressure. Honestly and it may seem like a falseness but at time like these I turn to dance and not a choreographed, strict idea of dance. I mean I put on music, anything really, usually just the radio and I close my eyes, sway and go from there. As I listen to the lyrics or even just the music, my body takes control and I surrender. If you can allow yourself to move and focus only on the song, feel only your feet as they brush the floor, you can really escape for a few precious moments.

Tonight I took a taught class, an intense rehearsal for an upcoming competition. It was grueling and I am bruised, possibly with minor muscular tears and tired so tired but I am also at my core happy and I feel good. I feel myself. When I was in class, as my face reddened and my pulse quickened, as I felt myself struggling against my own capabilities, I heard our music, learnt the steps and when it came time it perform, I smiled. You know the type of smile that can’t be contained, that comes from deep within and is born from a real place within us all, a place you often forget about. That home of happiness where waits to be triggered the initiator of a enjoyment which sparks a sense of delight that bubbles until it produces a smile creating a feeling of hopefulness, hilarity and contentment all at once.

Dancing is difficult but so is life. There is a distinct difference between the two. The difficulty found in dance is a challenge, it is a tangible thing attainable through sweat and focus. In that class I thought of nothing beyond the steps of the routine, the counts of the music and the placement of my body in the space I occupied. The difficulties in my life currently aren’t so easily quantified and solutions or conclusions aren’t as easily envisioned. Dancing offers a time to switch from one situation to another. To feel in control and free at the same time.

I am sure I will wake tomorrow with a stiff back, bruised shoulder and some other surprise but the weight of worry I will feel will I know be substantially less then what I felt entering the class tonight. Dancing is my escape it is my language, my soul. It is how I am most honest with myself and others. I gain such clarity from dancing, from being open, passionate and positive. We all need a little joy in our lives, I hope you all have something that allows you to unburden yourself every once in a while. If not, it is not yet I am sure and please do try to dance if you can. Dancing is primal, it is pure and true, there are no illusions about who you are or how you feel when you are dancing. Though this may to some sound unnerving, the idea of being so exposed frightening, it is important to know yourself and have a way to hear yourself through all the noise of everyday life and like I said for me that happens when I dance. Dance more and you will smile more. I truly believe this and in practice have also experienced it.


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