I have not felt as motivated recently to do my personal nightly dance practice as I have in other periods, but I was reminded by some great dances at last night’s monthly blues/fusion event at the BLOCK off biltmore how necessary and important dance has been in my life these past years (I started partner dancing to Reggaeton/salsa music on the Galápagos Islands in 2001 and the following year started taking modern and West African classes back in the US.). There have been gaps in my practice, sure, but overall, it has been clear to me that in dance is where I find myself feeling most unified, happy, and alive. Dance has definitely served, and continues to serve, a healing function for me—healing the disconnect between mind and body (a split that for me has been highly pronounced as a result of a childhood/young-adulthood focused on academics and analysis).
I am looking at Diane Ackerman’s book Deep Play and recognize dance as an intense form of play for me, one that lets me try to, as she puts it, “perfect myself”—or, at least, file down some of my rougher edges. When in a great partner dance, I am aware of nothing else, only my energy, my partner’s energy, and the impulses of the music. If I am at home, moving on my own, there are times that I am not able to go to sleep until I dance something (some issue, some worry) out of my system. It is a sublime state that I hope everyone can attain—if not through dance, then through whatever activity most captivates their attention and transforms their awareness. Stepping out of the mundane into the exalted does not immediately reshape all of your existence into exaltation, but it does make the mundane feel richer somehow, because it gives you awareness of an undercurrent of aliveness, of potential energy, that you know, or hope, that you can tap into at any time.