Dancing With the Souls
Written April 8, 2013
I love the reality TV show, Dancing With the Stars. I mean, I seriously LOVE it. A lot. And I like to watch it alone, nobody talking to me or asking me questions or weighing in on their favorites. Nor am I interested in chatting about the various performances with people the next day. I really don’t care about all of that camaraderie when it comes to my reality TV vice. There I said it. (I feel the same way about American Idol and movies – at home or in the theater – but before this turns into an introvert’s confessional, let’s hurry back to Dancing With the Stars.)
I love dancing of all kinds. Modern, tap, ballroom, belly, African, ballet, jazz, country, square – you name it, I’ve taken classes in it. I danced for hundreds of hours on sweaty college bar dance floors in the ‘80s. We used to push the furniture aside and dance with the kids to that same ‘80s music in the ‘90s. And now we relish each family wedding so we can get out on the floor in our finest and cut the proverbial rugs. All of that would probably be enough of a reason to love the show, but it’s much more than that for me.
I consider dance to be sacred.
Defining sacred is a challenge, isn’t it? It’s more of a feeling or state of being rather than a concrete definition. It also means different things to different people. While I’m fairly certain that however you would define it would resonate with me and help me explain why I consider dance to be it, I’ll give it my own stab. At this writing in this moment, the best way I can define it with words is…
When I dance, it is my soul, the very essence of me, that moves and guides me.
I started with this sense very early in life. I remember dancing by myself when really little, sometimes in what we called the Piano Room and sometimes hiding out in my bedroom if I wanted my own space without siblings’ watchful, critical eyes.
As long as we’re being honest here, I still do this. I dance all over the house, usually alone. I dance to my favorite music just to feel the rhythm and flow of my inner self. I dance when I’m trying to release a pattern or wounding that’s been tucked deep inside my joints. I dance my confusion to come out the other side with a clear plan of action. I dance insights and worries, stopped-up wildness and sadness.
I considered majoring in dance when in college, but thought it too impractical a career. I mean, how do you make money at it, right? I realize now how misled I was at that time because now, at this stage of life, I consider nothing else as practical as dancing. It is both a metaphor and an active means of living a soul-filled and soul-led life.
Again, back to Dancing With the Stars. Now that you know how I think in the dance department, you may understand a bit more of what I’m thinking as I watch it. Substitute ‘Stars’ with ‘Souls’ and Dancing With the Stars becomes
Dancing With the Souls.
Both Stars and Souls are pros. Pros at leading, pros at teaching, pros at patience. And I see each celebrity, novice dancer as learning to follow just as I continue to do, both on the dance floor and off. Learning to let go of the need to control each step of the dance and instead trust soul’s guidance. Just as on the show, the beginning of the season most often brings awkwardness as that newcomer to the dance learns how their soul moves and the soul sorts out what stage of this letting go of control they’re dealing with. It’s evident how hard the pro souls are working in those early stages or with the most offbeat of students.
And it’s so hard for those novices too. There are often tears and fights, sore muscles and injuries. Even the best of the best break down at some point while they’re fine tuning this shift to following their souls and letting go.
Practice! It takes hours and hours of ongoing commitment. The more they do this soul dancing, the better they get at it and the more likely it flows without thinking about it every step of the way. Following their pro eventually becomes the rhythm of the dance.
So that’s why I love this show. It is a flashy, energetic, entertaining reminder for me of what’s really going on – on their dance floor and on mine. As I watch the dancers each play out their roles, I see them as body and soul. I see my own soul dancing me, the professional always there with a perfectly placed hand to meet mine, an arm slipped around my waist when I lean too far. Always looking me in the eye, keeping me focused on the dance, whispering directives and encouragement in my ear while smiling and not missing a beat. And when I let go of it all and follow the flow of my pro soul and ‘get it’, the outcome is impeccable and so beautiful and fun to watch AND worth a score of 30 out of 30. Applause and standing ovations all around!!
Pictured below is ME on stage in high school,
and also in the sanctity of my studio with the door closed and the music blaring.