Loving dance

The lines at the beginning of the first story in The History of (my) Dance are:

I love to dance. I always have. Dancing makes me happy in a way that nothing else does….

I dance all the time. I do have a day job. But most of my vacation, weekends, and evenings (along with a lot of financial investment) are devoted to something related to dance. That time is spent perfecting technique, improving artistry, cross-training, working on costuming, studying, choreographing, learning choreography, reading books related to artistry or my dance’s history, or any of a number of other related activities. I know that I am not alone amongst dance lovers. I meet a room full of my compatriots at every dance intensive that I attend. Most would willingly utter these same words. We express that love in every dance-related activity that we pursue, unerringly and unflagging. We show the strength of our love in the work and energy that we pour into our craft. And sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our love, that we lose sight of the happiness. We forget why we fell in love.

This past week, I had a couple of opportunities to revisit the joy. In Minneapolis, we’re fortunate enough to have this marvelous little non-profit venue, The Cedar Cultural Center, that has concerts most nights. More often than not, three quarters of the floor are clear for dancers. They bring in music from all over the world, including many of the artists that I listed in a previous post. Last week I saw Palenke Soultribe and A-WA, both of whom create some amazing fusion dance grooves. I went to these concerts, and danced. I undulated and shimmied my hips off. I flung myself around the tiny space that I carved out to house my movement. I found new combos to play with. I was inspired by the movement of other dancers, and I inspired theirs. I spun.  A lot in that trance stye of spinning. I left my inner critic at home, and experienced the movement. And I smiled as the happiness bubbled up from my feet, through my body. I grinned from ear to ear. I remembered the happiness and suddenly, I remembered why I love to dance.

A-WA performing at the Cedar Cultural Center, Sept. 18, 2016

A-WA performing at the Cedar Cultural Center, Sept. 18, 2016

Palenke Soultribe performing at the Cedar Cultural Center, Sept. 21, 2016

Palenke Soultribe performing at the Cedar Cultural Center, Sept. 21, 2016