Ultimately, I just had to say it.
Because I’m dancing every day for the next year and I don’t wanna.
Well, part of me doesn’t. The other part is completely stoked and relieved that I’m finally getting my ass in gear. But that first part? It’s been hanging out in the back of my mind for a while now, quietly resisting the call to adventure. Feeling too tired to go out. Fretting about how the boozy crowds won’t really be there to dance. Doubting the quality of sound at an unknown venue. Feeling too intimidated to try a new class. Fear that I’m not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough to really be a dancer. Anything to keep me from really doing it.
But I’ve hit my breaking point. It’s not a choice anymore. F*ck it.
I’ve been resistant to dance since I started pursuing it seriously in high school. When I joined a pre-professional company, getting out of school early every day to perfect my pirouette for 3 hours, I started getting chronic headaches, injuries, fatigue.
On one hand, I knew that the traditional professional dance world, with its pink tights and competition, wasn’t really for me. But on the other, I was afraid I couldn’t do it. At 17, after spending a summer studying with the Juilliard dance faculty, I stopped. Just like that. Didn’t think about it much.
Looking back, I see that I didn’t believe in myself enough to keep going.
Fast-forward four years to my first Burning Man.
The open desert, bass heavy glitch hop, and steady stream of psychedelics combine with the atmosphere of radical self-expression to break me open. I start dancing again. This is not the dance of broken toenails and counts of “5, 6, 7, 8!” to perfection. This is a dance of unbridled creativity: my limbs carving through space strong and courageous, feet and beat effortlessly united. No right or wrong. Just the beauty of what wants to come through.
From that first peak dance experience, I make it my mission to gain the same level of access to my own creativity without substances. To learn how to get out of the way and let the rhythm move through me unobstructed. It takes a couple years to commit to that mission more than once or twice a month when my favorite DJs came into town. When I do, I find the 5rhythms practice, and that dance floor becomes my laboratory.
Fast-forward again to August 2012, my first year away from the desert since my hunger for dance was turned back on.
I’ve been dancing a few times a week for a few years now. Just enough to feel like I haven’t fallen back off the path. But I haven’t exactly been on it either. Not all the way. At the end of every class, every party, the sweat-soaked blissful me declares, “I need to do this every day.” The next day, resistance invariably shows up, and I don’t.
So this project serves a couple of purposes.
One: to face resistance head on, and deal with whatever comes up instead of being ruled by it.
Two: to discover what happens when I dance every day. This is my venture into the unknown of what happens when I really go for it. The thing I’ve been afraid to fully show up for since the moment I discovered it was what I wanted more than anything.
F*ck it. F*ck not acting as if this life is the miraculous gift it is. F*ck not showing up with everything I have to give. Because it is, and I am.
Editor: Brianna Bemel
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