Happy New Year! If you received my letter on Friday, you’re getting a double happy new year! If you’re not – I write another newsletter every other Friday focused on embodiment and earth practices. You can read it here. You can sign up for it here.
I hope you are feeling well, rejuvenated from the change in pace over the holidays, and inspired to be back in routine.
Today I want to write to you about courage. Over the past year, I’ve been teaching dance at Front Range Community College. My students are amazing. They come from different age brackets, cultural backgrounds, economic statuses, and regions; most of them never haven taken a dance class in their lives, much less been in a studio.
Each semester I am struck by just how BRAVE it is to sign up for, and repeatedly show up for, a dance class.
Here are some reasons why:
- You are immediately forced to face the fact that you can’t do everything perfectly right away.
- You face disappointment and failure daily.
- You (usually) have to look at yourself in the mirror for a long time.
- You are asked to relate to your body.
- There’s no place to hide in the studio. You can be seen everywhere.
- Your peers will see you dance.
- You’ll hear unfamiliar music.
- You must face the fear of “looking stupid”.
- You must face the fear of getting hurt.
- You must face the fear of being judged by others.
- You are stepping into the unknown every time you show up.
I could probably think of hundreds of more reasons. If you have any more, send me a quick reply with your list.
Aside from personal fears that arise when signing up for a dance class, we simultaneously face our western American culture’s incredible knack for feeding our fears and keeping us small.
When else, besides in dance, are we asked to be with our body? To love and move what is there? To make beautiful and strange and silly and athletic art reflective of our own personal vision?
Taking a dance class is not only courageous; it is an act of rebellion.
(Oh boy. I think I have a much longer essay to write. Thanks for helping me start it here!)
As it goes with courage, when it is welcomed and tended to with love, care, respect, and appropriate guidance, it reaps rewards.
Here’s what some of my students discovered:
As time went on I started to break free of my fears of being judged.
One of my goals was to keep dancing after a mess up. I feel like I have really gotten good at this…
I learned how to not only control and coordinate my own body, but also how to coordinate myself with a partner.
The most important skill I have taken from this class is the fact that I am capable of accomplishing any and everything I want.
One of my fears is failing. I’ve learned that the only way you fail is if you don’t try, don’t show up, and simply give up. If you can’t do something, that is ok. Just do your best at anything you put your mind to and that itself leads to success.
In the spirit of courage, what’s a risk you’ve wanted to take that you could engage this week? It could be as simple as going for a walk in the middle of your day when you don’t feel like you have time. Or putting on some weird music and dancing in your living room. I challenge you to identify one risk you can take this week and take one step towards that risk today.
Risk doesn’t have to be something huge – listen to what feels doable but just needs some attention to make it happen. Let this be a risk that fulfills you!
Email me your story (email@example.com) and/or post it below.
Can’t wait to hear from you! I’m working on my own risks, too!
If you want to work with your body to build courage, here are some ways I can support you:
Wednesday Night Swing Dance Classes
7-8pm, Kakes Studios, 2115 Pearl Street, Boulder
New sessions start at the beginning of the month. This Wednesday is the 2nd week of January’s session. You are welcome to jump in this week, or start in February. You can register by purchasing the series of classes here.
Private Dance Lessons
Sessions available Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri
You choose the form! Modern, Swing, Salsa, Ballroom, Jazz, Tap, Improvisation, general dance training for all forms…ask me if you’re not sure or have other ideas.
Sessions available Mon, Fri
Table work or floor work (stretching, gentle movement, somatic practices)
Address emotional stress, physical tension & pain, life transition, body awareness, well-being maintenance.
*(yes, even rest via massage can build courage!)
Modern Dance at Front Range Community College (FRCC)
Tues/Thurs 11am-12:15pm, Feb 9 – May 5 (12 weeks)
Westminster Campus, 3645 West 112th Avenue, Westminster, CO 80031
FRCC classes are open to the public! Email me for registration details.
Sparks of blissful courage to you as you start 2016.
In the dance,