The Science of Dance and Stuff

This month has been full of difficult (first world) choices. I’ve had to reassess my school ambitions, be open to criticism (constructive or other), accept change, and let go of some things that are important to me in order to keep myself emotionally and physically healthy. I also lost a dear co-worker this week. Hard month and dealing with stuff, yuck.

One thing I’ve had to do is completely rearrange my fall schedule. My hope was to be a teaching associate by next semester but this will have to be put on hold until fall 2016. Attending graduate school is my main priority though it feels like my financial insecurity won’t allow me to take on more student loan debit to be a full-time student. Instead I’m working full-time to dance and go to graduate school. By giving up the teaching associate position, I will have to take another class that I’m not particularly psyched about taking. I’ll do it but it doesn’t mean I have to pretend to enjoy it. Here is something that is totally new to me; graduate advisors or college advisors in general. In a very crazy way, I finished my undergraduate degree with no counseling whatsoever. It showed at the end of my last term when I didn’t get a diploma in the mail but a letter saying I had to take another dance class in order to obtain full credit for my diploma. I’m so grateful for the graduate advisor I have now. She and I have talked three times this summer. I really feel supported by the faculty already and I haven’t even taken a class yet!

Thing Two: I had to give up two dance workshops I was enrolled in this summer. This broke my heart at first. Yes, I’ve gotten over it however little the upset might have been. They were a Contemporary workshop and ASL Jazz Dance workshop. When offered a position in the dance company and accepting, I was committing to two nights a week for intense rehearsals. There are other things that have to come before everything else in order for me to do anything in my life; my spiritual practice. My life guru (life advisor or Yoda) had to lay down some truths about how my spiritual practice was going by the way side and how I needed to make more time for it. I realized I had no time set aside for this connection I need in order to be the best me. So the Friday night contemporary class was the first to go followed by the jazz workshop due to the long hours per day I was committing to participate.

Criticism. I mean, yeah, not fun. I’ve been standing next to the choreographer at company rehearsals to get a better view of his movements and mimic him the best I can. The closer you are to the instructor the closer you are to their vision, and closer you are to the instructor the more you’re corrected. This is just science. However many times I try to remind myself that this is the only way I’ll get better, it still feels pretty crappy to get corrected more than the other dancers. I will not pull to the back just yet. I still have a lot to learn and dance is still saving me. I look forward to rehearsals and getting into my body. When I’m in my body I’m safe and powerful and free.

The last part of this month’s journey was accepting change and grief. With my co-worker passing away, everything will change in the dynamics with this particular part of my job. I’m going to miss her emails and her phone calls. I will miss her bright beautiful smile and caring nature.

The month has help me appreciate my life. I’m still gratefully happy and dancing. This video has been my source of inspiration this month and I’d like to share it with you. Enjoy.

A Letter I Wrote To Myself About Getting Fat

So love this. Great Body Positive article by Put on Your Happy Face.

Put On Your Happy Face

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Shall we talk about your body?

Your body, which used to be thinner. Which you took for granted, because it fitted into cheap, tight dresses. Your body, which took you up and down Brixton Hill, every day, twice a day, never unheralded by catcalls, the stream of men and their “Oh baby hey baby nice tits nice ass hey WHERE YOU GOING?”

Your body was a girl’s body, made from dancing and late nights and skipped dinners, of hopefulness and sleeplessness and sadness. It took care of itself, or rather, you didn’t care that it couldn’t. It wasn’t for you, and so you didn’t mind that you couldn’t always afford to feed and nurture it. The admiration of others was nourishment enough. You often went to bed feeling empty. You thought it was heartbreak. It was probably hunger.

Then your body became plump with love.

Late dinners and later breakfasts…

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I Am Brown Girl Dancing


I facilitated a zine making workshop yesterday with a group of rad eight-year olds at Girls Rock Camp, and the project was called “I am, I believe”. One of the campers asked herself aloud “What am I?” then she turned to face me and repeated the question; what am I?

I couldn’t answer for her but for myself I can say the following: I am brown. I am a girl. I am forever dancing in my soul, mind, heart, and physical being until my body has worn itself down. Last year, I experience a kind of emotional bankruptcy that some people never recover from. I sat in my group therapy class wondering if I’d be like this, sad and anxious, forever. The fear of those feelings being my permanent disposition, I decided to take suggestions and one of those suggestions was to take a dance class. For the last ten years I’ve taken dance off and on, but made excuses as to why I couldn’t afford to continue dancing because of time, money, and the way my thighs look stuffed in spandex. Left with little options as to how to get out of my spiritually crippling emotional state I took a drop-in dance class at a local studio and prayed for immediate relief.

Then I had to get realistic. Maybe dance wouldn’t relieve me of my woes immediately, maybe I was going to really suck and this whole thing would be over before it started. As I mimicked stretching like the other dancers (I was so self-conscience thinking everyone was looking at me, I considered announcing to class that I was lost and not to follow me) when I remember to breathe. I reminded myself that I was here to get better on the inside and not the outside. I would not be good. I would not be graceful. I would not look like the girl in the front line with perfect point and a skinny waist. I will fumble. I would sweat buckets and be a disgusting mess. I will forget steps. I will be imperfect in every way. So I came up with a little mantra that went like this; I will dance. I will dance without judgement of myself. I will dance without judgement of everyone else. I will dance because it brings me joy.

Dance has indeed brought me joy. A year later, I am a dancer. I’m a dancer because I say I am. Also, I still fumble, sweat buckets with mascara running under my eyes, look like a stuffed sausage in spandex shorts, and forget choreography at every class. I have a full-time life with work, a boyfriend, family, friends, as well as volunteering at a youth program for girls. Instead of looking at my life as working full-time and dancing, I am a full-time dancer that has to work.

In a year, I’ve had one informal performance, one performance in a showcase, and last night I attended my very first audition for a company. I intend to use this platform as a diary, sound board, spirit animal, and place to talk about all things that make dance greatness. Come with me and remember not to follow me because I’m lost too. Oh yeah, I got a position in the company.