Dancing. Writing. Freedom.
In October, I was a new face in Laure Redmond's Stretch Appeal Dance class here in Portland's BodyVox Dance Center.
I'll never forget how she greeted me before class began.
She looked deep into my eyes, and radiated something special.
(I later learned that in the 80s, she was a leader in the NYC fitness revolution and was fitness coach to Madonna, among others. Super cool, right?!)
Within seconds of hearing the first song pipe though the professional speakers, crisp and clear, I knew this was going to be a great class.
But I had no idea HOW good.
Are we really moving to Bob Dylan's 'Tangled Up in Blue?' Ooh, loving this Norah Jones song. Tom Petty!
I smile as we slowly and rhythmically warm up our bodies to languid and sultry choreography.
I'm in awe of how Laure moves.
This woman is EMBODIED!
And she has what I want -- an aura of peace, joy, ease, trust, FREEDOM in her body and on the dance floor.
"Free the dancer within!" she calls, eyes closed, as she melts into the music.
Much easier for me to free the writer within.
What would it feel like to free the dancer within? To be that comfortable in my own skin, dancing and moving in front of others?
My eyes are glued to her feet as I learn the choreography.
And then a song comes on that I never heard before.
I recognize Edie Brickell's voice, who I adore.
She's repeating a line in the chorus over and over, "Go where the love is."
I feel a wave of emotion wash over me.
My eyes fill with tears.
That morning, I pull this Danielle LaPorte truth bomb card from the deck:
My search for a movement class and teacher is over.
And so began the slow shedding of a belief that "I don't dance" and "I can't dance" and "I'm not a dancer."
A few days a week, I walk 5 minutes to the dance studio, and I practice being more emobideid.
[Confession: I was NOT very embodied or present in this week's class! This blog was writing itself in my head and I kept leaving my spot on the floor (right next to Laure!) to jot notes on my yellow pad so I wouldn't forget the playlist and so I could share with you some of the magic of this class - and how it's like a movement version of writing practice. !!!]
Here it is:
Laure opens class with, "Just see where your body wants to go. That's the WHOLE point."
The music starts, and I'm thinking about her words, and the parallels between her method of dancing and free-flow writing:
Just see where your body wants to go.
Just see what wants to be written.
I feel relaxed and happy in the first warm-up song, and then the second warm-up comes on, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me,' by The Supremes and The Temptations.
This song touches me and I feel my nose tickle and my eyes moisten.
Next up is 'Waterfalls,' TLC. Now I shift from tenderness and slight heart-ache to feeling sultry, and my body moves languidly and in sync with Laure's seamless choreography.
"Empty the body of emotions!" she calls out. "Move them THROUGH you."
The third song is a forever-favorite, 'Beast of Burden.' More sultry! Yes, please! (I can't get enough sultry in dance class - or Mick Jagger!)
Next we're in the 80's with Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love', followed by Van Morrison, followed by Madonna...
Each song is an invitation for my body to FEEL the energy.
And MOVE the energy.
The music's energy enlivens me as it moves through me and pulls stuck energy and emotions that weigh me down up and out of my body.
It's like "emptying" in writing practice. I feel lighter.
After Madonna is Mobey, U2, Nelly.
Are you kidding me??!! This music! This choreography! This teacher! Is that really ME in the mirror, dancing? Stay present, Alyse, you're going right and everyone's going left. Stop thinking. Be in your body. Be here. Be HERE!
And then THE song, which I haven't heard again until now, comes on.
Eight months later, 'Go Where The Love Is' is part of the cool down, versus warm up.
It's as if I'm moving toward the other side of my fear.
I wouldn't say I'm a "Dancing Queen," but when I see Dance! on my calendar Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I feel happy to finally be a woman who is brave enough to "just see where my body wants to go."
Ok, maybe I am becoming a "Dancing Queen" (or as my friend Kris said, "Isn't that how the ABBA song goes, 'dancing queen...young and sweet...only 47?'" :-)
And yes, I'm a "Dancing Queen" who still thinks WAY to much when she's dancing. But like free-flow writing, it's a practice!
You can learn more about Laure and her dance method, private confidence coaching practice, and weekly radio show, Feel Good Naked Radio, at LaureRedmond.com.
A few of my favorite interviews:
- Penny Pierce, Part 1 and 2. Penny writes about the Intuition Age we're entering and wrote one of my favorite books on energy called Frequency: The Power of Personal Vibration.
- Laura Munson, author of the New York Times and international best-selling memoir, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness
Happy feeling more FREE and ALIVE in your body, everyone!
Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:
"Go where the love is."
Where is the love for YOU these days?
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!
Write whatever arises in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Don’t stop to think or edit - keep your pen moving.
Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring.
Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...