A coworker of mine told me yesterday about an event she went to that entailed dancing in the dark. The lights were turned off so that the participants could dance without feeling self-conscious. The purpose was to encourage the dancers to allow their bodies to respond to the music – to move how their bodies wanted to move, without worrying about how they appeared to others.
It sounded like a beautiful event to me. Dance, after all, is supposed to be a release, a way to channel our energy and express ourselves. But, as with so many experiences in life, it has become a performance. When we dance, we often modify what we do to win the approval of others (of course, this is true of life in general, as well).
I have often found myself telling others that I can’t dance. This is not true, of course. Perhaps I don’t dance “well,” but dance is simply movement and anyone can do it, even if it doesn’t look pretty – because looking pretty isn’t the point. Professional dancers, of course, must hone their skills. They possess impressive talent. But for the rest of us, dancing isn’t about looking graceful – it’s about releasing our emotions and enjoying the present moment. It is a shame that we often censor our dancing out of unnecessary embarrassment.
Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.