"Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, contagious, it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it's free. Dancing insists we take up space, we go there together in community. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it's at the center of ONE BILLION RISING.
- Eve Ensler
When I was a teenager, I’d spend hours in my bedroom walking on the treadmill zoning out on the North and South miniseries with a dreamy Patrick Swayze, or getting lost in the drama and romance of Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, and Days of Our Live -how I loved Bo and Hope - in a failing attempt to heal my heart and control the size of my body. Trying to lose the weight accumulating from the secret eating that happened in the closet to right of the treadmill. The place I would go when I felt sad, lost, alone, hurt, confused, disappointed, judged, wounded. My solace. My refuge: a closet and usually a gallon of ice cream with some chocolate chips tossed in and the all-important spoon.
This cycle would continue for years, the location of the treadmill and secret eating changed along with the tv programs but the shoving down of my emotions with food, then punishing my body and my spirit would keep on going. Thankfully, Oprah lifted the veil on emotional/compulsive eating and I started therapy at 19. Over the years my secret, compulsive eating would lessen and I’d spend more time hiking and skiing. But it wasn’t until I reconnected with dance in my late 30s that I truly reconnected with my body and all it held for me: wisdom, power, release, refuge, solace, kindness, sensuality and grace.
I dance to come home and feel whole.
I dance because there is a sacredness, a joy, and a power that is awakened. Aspects of myself I was cut off from, that lay dormant, started coming to life and I connected with my sensuality, passion, the sacredness of my body, softness, expression, vitality, and communion.
I dance as it shifts my life long pattern of living from the neck up, over thinking, over analyzing and playing it safe. I dance because in my body I found the wisdom I’d been missing. A wisdom and a voice I sensed existed but I couldn’t tap into…that wasn’t in my brain. I dance to claim my space, be radiant and find that sweet spot of communion with the divine.
I dance because I find my wild.
I dance because our bodies were meant to have shape, speeds, curves, angles and altitudes and because we are meant to be wild. I dance because it is my form of expression- to share all within me- the secrets, the emotions, the stories, the desires- they emerge in my dance. I feel my truth bubble up, I move through my grief, my sadness, my rage. I share my exuberance, my joy, my delight. I dance to find peace, reclaim my wild and feel at home in my sacred body.
I dance to feel sexy, raw, tender, sweet, open, and blissful.
I dance underneath the stars to hear the universe sharing its magic and secrets with me and to honor mother earth and all she gives me. I dance at the ocean to feel the wind in my hair, on my skin and the sand underneath my feet, the water taking away what is ready to be let go. I dance at the cliffs to hear the pounding of the ocean meeting land and watch the sun rise or set. I dance on mountaintops to see the vistas and touch the clouds.
I dance because it connects me to my joy, my power, my soul.
I dance with my sisters to feel connection. I dance to move through all the crap that piles up in my body and mind- to create a clear channel so I can sway with greater ease through the world. I dance because it is what my ancestors did, because it is our nature- to gather round the circle and drum and play and move our feet, our hips. I dance to open my heart and be true.
I dance because it makes me happy.
I dance because it reminds me of being a little girl. Before I cared so much about what others thought. Before I changed to make others more comfortable.
I dance because it is my civil disobedience, my act of rebellion and my reclamation of my true essence.
I am here. You can’t keep me on a treadmill, locked away deadening my heart and my soul towards myself. You can’t keep me from my true wild nature. You can’t keep me hating myself and focused on being thin and in control when there is so much living to do. You can’t keep me doing leg lifts and comparing my body to the cover models. You can’t keep my curves at bay, my womanhood. You can’t keep my voice, my rage, my passion, my joy locked away. I am here. I am here to dance at the ocean, in the mountains, on the streets, in my car, around the fire, in the kitchen, at the grocery store.
I am here to rise, to live, to laugh, to sob, to scream, to writhe, to shake, to shout, to twirl, to skip, to swing, to leap, to remember, to connect, to commune, to laugh, to touch, to sway. I am here.