"Ya know... it takes courage to do what you know is going to be good for you."
On this particular morning, the weather was uncomfortable. It was a holiday week - one of those where the holiday is in the middle of the week so, it's a little awkward to celebrate. This student had not been feeling well, but came to class, anyway.
"It takes courage to do what you know is going to be good..."
I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks. What is going to be good... for me? for my family? for my art? for my body? for my community?
As in dance, as in life.
My student was talking about coming to dance class. For some people who come to my class at the Rehab Center (and I'm sure for some people who don't come to my class...) it's a challenge to get out of bed, to travel, to come to class. It takes courage to complete complex challenges, but it also takes courage to be mindful and aware of seemingly simple challenges and work through them.
It takes courage to see and move with other people who might be different - even if they, too, are facing challenges, some visible, some invisible.
It takes courage to be present in a body that might not feel perfect - due to illness, injury, abuse, depression, frustration, self-perception, or any number of other reasons.
It takes courage to physically and mentally move through these obstacles to find (and admit) to the joy of dancing.
It takes courage to surrender to the vulnerability of making mistakes and learning from them. It takes courage to own these moments instead of shy away from a new step or creative goal.
It takes courage to trust that the class is a community embarking on a shared journey, if only for that brief time.
It takes courage to dance.
It takes courage to do what you know is going to be good for you.
Thank you to The Restorative Center and Tula Yoga Center for the challenge to get moving again. Together, we're hosting a Contemporary Dance Class (for Adults) in Reading on August 7th - and August 14th and August 19th!
Backstory: You might have gathered from previous posts that the intensity of my performance life has calmed with the birth of my son in 2017. In years past, I had traveled a lot for my art and with Tristan's new presence, I'm learning that my ideas of meaning, movement, and "work", among other topics, are shifting. You might have also read of the community work I've done in Easton, Center Valley, Chester, and Philadelphia - but none of these are my hometown. I began asking myself, did I need to leave to do my work?
I began searching for movement practices, locally, to fuel my desire to move and not spend a ton of time in transit. After attending a yoga class at the Tula Yoga Center, Sifu Mark and I started talking about goals and dreams (kinda random, but so appropriate and comfortable in that space!) When I mentioned that I was a dancer looking to possibly explore sharing a dance movement practice he said, "Why not do something here?"
And so... we're dancing!
Here are a few questions you might be asking:
What is Contemporary Dance?
So... this is a loaded question, worth a few dissertations. In (very, very, very) brief, Contemporary Dance follows in the Modern Dance lineage. My classes begin on the floor exploring the kinesphere and natural movement pathways of the body using momentum and breath as initiating factors. We move to standing and progress to familiar dance pathways - plies, tendues, gross motor movement, and across the floor patterns - that will result in a comprehensive phrase.
I think of Contemporary Dance as ice cream. The most basic recipe of ice cream consists of a few ingredients: cream, sugar, eggs, milk, and salt. At the most basic level, all forms of dance classes address fine and gross motor movements of the body through a progression (usually) based on movement science. Artistry and style (or genre) is like the flavoring of the ice cream - and one flavor tastes so very different from another. Even though it's still ice cream, some people have strong feelings in regards to their personal preference. As in life, as in dance. In my Contemporary Classes, we warm up the whole body in preparation to add additional "flavorings" - so that my dancers are ready for whatever choreographic challenges they face. This is a much larger conversation, but so are the options at the ice cream bar... join me?
What should I wear?
Wear what you feel comfortable moving (and sweating) in. I recommend layers. Start with a longer shirt and pants (that cover your shoulders and knees) for the initial warm up.
Do I need special shoes?
Nope! We'll dance in bare feet.
I haven't danced in ages... and/or I have limited dance experience. But I miss it! Can I come?
Absolutely! My pedagogy is deeply invested in helping you find the joy in your moving body. If you can walk, you can dance!
What if I'm sore the next day?
Awesome! That means you worked! (And you might be using new or unfamiliar muscles.) I design my classes based on natural pathways of the body and researched somatic and anatomic practice - so the movement will be safe, but you'll work! (or WEEEERK!)
One of the wonderful things about having the classes at The Restorative Center is you can take care of your entire body there! Make an appointment for acupuncture, massage, Reiki, or another movement class - including gentle yoga.
What should I bring?
Water (or a water bottle) there's water on site (and local Kombucha for purchase!). Class payment ($15 pre-registration. $20 drop in). Maybe a towel if you get super sweaty. An open mind and an open heart.
Where am I going?
The Restorative Center is located at 6 Hearthstone Ct, Reading, PA. It's on the 2nd floor of the building. There's plenty of parking in the building's lot.
OO! This sounds like fun, but I can't make August 7th!
No worries! We'll be dancing again on August 14th from 5-7pm and August 19th from 12-2pm.
I pre-registered, but I couldn't pay online...?
Please bring payment to
class with you.
Can we dance more??
That's the hope! Look for on going classes to come in the fall!
Do you have other questions that I haven't answered? Please let me know in the comments! I look forward to seeing you!