From the September 2020 Issue. Read the rest of the issue here.
If the act of dancing is creating space inside and around us, for ourselves and for each other, then we must be active and alive in that creation. We must show up for ourselves and for each other. When we are in motion, we can feel our strength. We can also feel our deep-rooted sadness. These are the places where we reach out for one another: these are the places where we can create the room we deserve through dance. In the places that feel like dark caves, with no light guiding us--that’s where we can create the room we deserve. When our dance is a beautiful celebration and we are proud of ourselves and who we are--that’s when we create the room we deserve.
That space already exists. It is infinite. Beautiful, deserving people are already there, holding, creating, existing in the world, and it’s now a question of who is asked to hold that space. Who is invited to feel held there? Dance is a place to explore and rethink all of these ideas. I have so much to learn and I continue to lean on dance and its extravagant, gentle powers that can hold me accountable.
I don’t deny that “creating the room we deserve” is complicated and layered in many incredibly important facets. Now is the time to dive deep into the infrastructure and encourage our own rethinking. For now, I’m going back to the foundation, “Why do we dance?” to learn how to remind myself of empathy, love and progress.
When we dance, we hold, release, imagine, allow, avoid, forget, and are reminded. Dance is a way of holding space for ourselves. Dance is a way to hold space for each other. Each time we dance, we allow for the space we are in to become... changed, seen, allowed, offered. “Why do you dance?” This was the most clichéd, overused question growing up. As I continue my day to day as a professional dancer, maker and teacher, the answer to this question illustrates a kind of personal map. It grounds me in why I'm here continuing this difficult and unstable lifestyle. The reasons that surround and accompany my love for dance have evolved throughout the years. I dance to know. I dance to understand, I dance to RELEASE. But, at the heart of it, I have always danced because that’s where I feel my strength. I felt strong and powerful when my body was in motion, and struggled with feeling meek, unintelligent and alone when I stood in stillness.
And so, we must continue to dance to create this space for ourselves and for each other, too. When we dance to know, we can begin to understand things that don’t align with our own experiences. When we dance to see, we can see ourselves better, or just differently. We dance, and through this, we relate to others in more compassionate ways. We continue to dance because others need our dance. We need our dance. I need my dance. I need her dance and theirs and his.
The act of dancing itself is how we create space. And then, we go deeper. Where do we dance? Is it in a studio with mirrors? A gym? By the tree outside your home? With the landfill or the sand dunes? We go even deeper. Who are you dancing with? How are you holding space for them through your dance and outside of it, too? Deeper still, what are we imagining or allowing to surface as our bodies talk to us and our surroundings? What are we holding, conjuring, loving, protecting, allowing, creating, hiding? Deeper, still--how are we showing up for that person we are imagining or physically seeing?
I want to ask you, as you read this issue--“Creating the Room We Deserve”--who is your “we”? Ask yourself, look around--who is your circle? Ask, “who are we”? Explore who we want to become.
If living is deserving, what is the room that we deserve? What does it look like? Where is it located? Is it physical, emotional, spiritual? All three?