There is a cynic that has permanent residence in my head. Sometimes, she shows up as annoyance and resentment. Other times, as fear and dread. No matter which costume she is wearing, she never lets me forget to worry. To feel hopeless. To lose heart and lose faith.
During the past year, it has felt nearly impossible to hear anything else over her screaming voice. She is the loud roommate tap dancing on my nervous system in the middle of the night. She is the inconsolable toddler who refuses to let me sleep. She tells me I can’t exhale; I can’t let up; I can’t rest even for a moment . . . and yet nothing I do will ever be enough to make a difference.
The only surefire way to put my cynic at ease is Reconnect. No matter what is happening personally or globally, I can gently quiet her and ask to her to relax in the backseat as I teach class. In creating an authentic, compassionate dance experience to others, I feel hopeful. I feel optimistic. I can truly believe the things that my cynic is constantly shooting down as too “woo woo.” Somehow, I transcend into my favorite part of myself and feel a genuine connection to my fellow dancers. After nearly ten years of teaching Reconnect, it still shocks me how deep my reserves of love and tenderness can be when I’m teaching.
If you had asked me at the beginning of the pandemic, I would have said there was no way this could translate to an online platform. There was no way we could generate this magic over a computer screen. Anything we can manage to pull together will be nowhere close to what we experience in person. Plus, no one will show up. (I’m sure you recognize my cynic was driving at this point.)
Turns out, I was wrong on all counts. It was a very challenging journey – navigating technology, limited space for dance and so many times feeling like “we just can’t.” But WE DID. We have been dancing together twice a week for a full year online. We have shared our struggles and danced our fears – and we’ve also found our deep reserves of love and tenderness for each other and for ourselves.
As more of us get vaccinated and start to feel (more or less) ready to peek our heads out into the wide world, we are starting to contemplate how to best come back together in person. We also realize what an amazing gift of accessibility this online platform provides. If someone isn’t up for driving across town to class, they may be up for walking across their home, turning on the computer and being a part of the community. So much is unknown – my mantra right now is: gentle, gradual and messy. We want to be very gentle and gradual with this transition – and no doubt it will be messy! All the best art is, as are the best communities. We are exploring expansion in our dancing as a safe space to experiment before we expand back out into the world. No matter what, we will make sure no one is left out from dancing and no one is pushed beyond what they feel ready for.
Dance is Life and Life is Dance – that has never been more true than during the past year. My cynic seems to have paid off her mortgage in my head and is not going anywhere . . . but the more I dance, the more I teach, the more patience I have with her. The more I can bring all the practices we develop during dance class, and the more I can bring the hope I feel when I’m dancing, into my day-to-day life.
If you are feeling cynical as you read this, I invite you to turn on a song you love (or borrow one of ours) and let your body gently move. If you can feel even an ounce more hopeful, it will be worthwhile. If you are able, allow that hope to inspire you to donate to our small and mighty non-profit. Every dollar helps us make the world a little better every time we come together to dance. From the bottom of my hopeful heart, THANK YOU. (Cynic, you be quiet!)
yours in Art and Action,