yesterday i woke up and i didn’t want to get out of bed. you know that feeling when you just feel stuck in the mud. after my dance class last night i realized that i MUST embrace that dance is my therapy. it can bring from a point of the lowest frequency to sublime ELATION!!!
i’ve always denied the dancer in me. even after class, a woman came up to me and asked if i was a dancer and i said “no, i’m a singer.” why??? i don’t know why. maybe because i don’t have the typical dancer history which would qualify me as a real dancer? though i was a late bloomer (i wasn’t formally trained until college!), i had it in me. my dance background consisted of taping the fly girls on “in living color” and my childhood best friend, Carla, teaching me what she learned in her dance classes. that girl had (and still has) moves. my abuela (who was a dancer in NYC) danced with me a lot and i learned to move through osmosis. she could shake it with the BEST of them. even in her 70s even she could get DOWN. it was crazy! then i met alejandro, my now ex-novio, when i was 19. he taught me to dance a salsa that was not my grandmother’s salsa. we trained. 3 hours a day. and when i moved to LA to pursue music, he came with me to pursue his dancing. in LA you can dance salsa every night of the week! coming from North Carolina, that blew my mind! i started dancing with dancers from all over the world and learned so much from the clubs. i took lessons, workshops, even volunteered at the LA Salsa Congress so I could get a free pass to learn. now salsa is like breathing for me. it feels so natural. i can intuitively feel where my partner wants me to move and play within that space, with them and with the music. it’s divine. what killed that for me was when i starting meeting dancers that dance from their egos… they were too busy showing off, trying to flip me, trying to get attention or a reaction, seeing how many times they could spin themselves or me, some wouldn’t even look at me in the eyes or even my face… i was merely a puppet, barbie dollesque being turned, flipped, thrown around the floor so they could have people look at them and think they’re bad ass. egoic dancing doesn’t allow dance to be the divine connection it can and should be damn it! i see the same thing with musicians. when people are so concerned with how they will be received the art suffers. not necessarily skill. but the feeling. it’s devoid of authenticity. we artists need to bring that back!
i so enjoy exploring other genres of dancing… i did some what i’ll call… “classy exotic burlesque” dancing to pay for my schoolin at USC, did a brief stint in a belly dancing company, took a random and not so great tango class with my man (we need to find a better one we just leaned on each other and walked in a circle for an hour), african dance was my favorite class in college- the way the dancer and the drummer commune fascinates me… i took a few hip-hop, ballet, and many jazz classes… and i appreciate them all… i love the strength and fearlessness and solidity of hip-hop, the discipline and beauty of ballet, the sass and extension and funkiness of jazz… they all have their something. now i’m learning samba and i swear my hips are learning a new language.
i’m discovering now how essential it is that we honor and acknowledge and celebrate what we love. thus, i have decided to embrace my dancer self completely. i can’t deny what’s within me. it heals me. it connects me. i think of all the people in the world denying themselves from what they love to do, from expressing that love, and for what? why? i encourage you to own whatever it is you love, acknowledge your passion and celebrate it through authentic self-expression.