Dance like no one is watching

A couple of years ago, the urge to dance rose up in me so sharp and strong it had to be answered and I tried Nia for a few months. That (for me) didn’t work as the hour-long aerobic-ness of it only triggered more pain and chronic fatigue in the longer-run. If I’m honest, I also found the routines, the track-list and the movements a little repetitious; nor did it work for me that it required driving to a particular place at a particular time. What I really wanted was some other more immediate, more integrated, more fluid form of expression whenever I wanted to do it…something like belly dancing (but not…) or like a mixture of other things (but not…). In fact it wasn’t a modality I sought at all (there’s something about the very idea of “modality” that has increasingly jarred with me as I’ve striven to mix everything up into unity-experience) as I knew I wasn’t really looking for something with set movements or even a name…

Two years hence, the urge to move has come up in me again, in fact stronger and more urgent than ever. Over the summer, my morning yoga became more fluid once I introduced (and remembered to put on…) music while I did it. No longer formulaic, studied or so left-brained, it took off from that moment and I found myself embellishing, softening and moving in whole new ways…different each time (no formula here). What happened on that mat just came up in me with no effort or forcing and had to be “said” in a language without words.

This continues and is almost a stronger practice than my yoga…something I look forward to as such a powerful start to my days. It is (obviously) the feminine rising in me as though from my root and, on days when I feel most challenged and in pain, it feels even more important. It works with the heat rising in me, coercing it up like the snake-tongued flicker of a flame that has to be outed from its box and given permission to climb the trunk of my tree. What transpires can feel like the story of me, across many lifetimes, or that of a seedling growing into the tallest tree. It tells me things about myself and these movements embroider my story…the heroines story, which lies deep within all of us and longs now to be heard.

olenka-kotyk-75206.jpgShould a passer-by care to look up at my window, should one of my neighbours glance up from their walk to the car, they would perhaps see my arms stretched like willow branches, long and tenuous, winding across the space. They might catch me undulating like a possessed thing in my underwear, or think I am doing a version of tai chi…but it matters not what anyone else thinks. This one is for me, its my voice finding yet another outlet and I gather around the fireside of myself to hear the stories of selfdom before even attempting to start my day. It grounds me, reuniting me with my body, providing reasons why my most etheric aspect, like a butterfly, might want to consider choosing to land. On these chill autumn mornings, the warmth brought up inside fuels my body like no other heat-source could; I feel molten and glowing as I settle to my tasks and there’s a light in my eyes that says “I’m here now and ready for anything”. And if I feel more whole than ever before, it’s because my unspoken aspects feel heard; they have been given centre stage before any other priorities could take over.

So it’s a case of, like the old adage says, dancing like no one is watching and allowing the sacred to emerge. You will find it’s that elusive feminine aspect and she will swell at being allowed the free rein to express as she chooses…no particular movements or correct postures, no positions with names, no routines to follow…just exactly as she likes to express. Allow her to have her say and she will bring all the most disparate aspects of you together into a new kind of coherence, imparting the kind of strength that is an inside job. It’s a female thing; we have known about this forever and we used such movements all the time until mass amnesia caused us to forget all but what was channelled into the sparse remnants that became the separate dance modalities that are enjoyed by the few today (far outbalanced by such widespread self-consciousness that most women bearly allow themselves to move their bodies fluidly at all). This is their forebear…and she’s really wild! When we break the bands that hold us so rigid and proper, so apologetic and stiffled, so self-doubting and humiliated, we spill over our own edges and such healing flows out of us that we need no other source. In fact I recommend doing even just five to ten minutes a day of this kind of free-flow dance or even just arm and hand movement to music to all women in search of healing and wholeness; self-consciousness put aside, you might be amazed at what comes up out of yourself.


Finding music that resonates and brings you up-out of yourself is key. For me, two tracks work that particular magic; they are Karunesh’s “Calling Wisdom” and “Inner Journey” (Spotify links attached). I recommend taking the time to explore what garners that deep-emotional response, inviting you to move with it, and put together a playlist that you can use, and evolve, as a starting point.

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