Someone critiqued my dancing once, many years ago. I was 21 years old at an ecstatic dance in Santa Monica called dance home. He was a soon-to-be boyfriend of mine. This early attempt to control my behavior should have been a tip off as to the short life span of the relationship, but hey... he was GORGEOUS. And I was 21... ha! Anyway, under the guise of trying to help me "get free" he told me my dancing was too "club influenced". He had all sorts of evolved sounding reasons as to why my dancing wouldn't be free unless I "dropped the act". My immediate gut level response, was "F you! I'll dance how I want!". I didn't say this of course... If anything wasn't free yet, it was my tongue. Instead I internalized his words and added them to the list of things that were wrong with me. SIGH. Meanwhile, before he made that comment, I was having a blast dancing my little heart out and feeling so connected to my body and my soul. Yeesh! Fast forward to last night...
I went to a little gathering in Venice with a fun crowd and DJ's. Per usual, I was on the dance floor pretty much the whole time. As I was dancing, I got a new insight. My way of dancing tells a story of my history. A little bit drag queen from my early club days in hollywood. A little bit ballerina from early fantasies of becoming one. A little bit belly dancer from the goddess that lives within. A little bit club kid from dance floor immersion over the years. A little bit hippie jam band from traveling the music festie scene before electronic music was the primary music at festivals. A little bit twerk queen from just loving to shake my booty. A lot of "hooper without a hoop". It's all weaved together with my own pure essence. This essential ME lives through every turn of the wrist, twist of the torso and stomp of my feet. Every movement influence I have ever had lives through me and gives me an essential gift of expression. Could there be anything MORE free? As this realization sunk in, I gained a new appreciation for the story of my movement. Every little subtlty and nuance a "thank you" to a specific moment or influence in my life. The memory of those long ago, well meaning but squashing words came rushing back. How silly he was to think that my movement was any less free because of how I was introduced to it. How short sighted.
The experiences of our lives shape us. Our movement can express who we are, and if you look close enough, how we got there. To think there is anything such as authentic movement with ZERO input from our environments is missing a big piece of the puzzle. We are a blend of what we came in with and who we become as a result of our experiences. How can our environments NOT become parts of ourselves? SO, yes dance your authenticity. But don't think you have to look a certain way to be labeled "authentic". If your body wants it, its authentic. Be that club kid, ballerina, martial artist, hooper, etc etc etc.... or a delightful blend of everything you have ever seen or thought was bad ass. You don't have to dance like a "free spirit".. whatever your conception of that is, in order to be FREE. Enjoy every spontaneous burst of jazz hands, tap of your toe and flip of your hair as gifts gained on the journey. You EARNED it!
as always, we are all in this together :)