By Ellie Pappas
One of the goals I’ve set for 2018 is to go to a dance workshop once a month.
A dance workshop is different than having a night out dancing. It has elements that are instructional, and intentional. My emotional intention with going to these types of workshops is to get out of my head and into my body. It is about increasing self expression and delving deeper into my authentic self and my truth. One that does not require words, but simply the body’s intelligence.
The workshop I went to had two basic parts: Part 1 was instructional and treated like a warm up; Part 2 was totally free flow. Talking was not allowed. Eye contact and dancing with others (with permission) was.
As I reflect on my first experience, some of the feelings I felt were:
Awkward: Yes, it was nerve-wracking during two of the warm up exercises. We were required to dance as everyone watched. Since I couldn’t mix myself up in the shadows of others, I felt really uncomfortable. During these exercises, I would even try to plan the moves I was to execute in my mind based on the rhythm of the music. But then, guess what? The rhythm would change and my plan became meaningless. HA.
Happy. Powerful. Feminine: The stomping of my feet. The movement of my hips. I chose to channel different people I know who exhibit confidence on the dance floor and it worked for me until I found myself.
Meditative: We were required to move around the room—I felt some fear in doing this. I pushed myself and did move around the room. Eventually, I made my way to the front. Finally, when I stopped trying, I floated out of my head, finding myself in a meditative dance. It was freeing to say the least. My moves became involuntary; I wasn’t thinking about them, but rather feeling connected to source as they moved through me and into the room.
Fear of Intimacy: Probably the toughest. Part of the experience required us to make eye contact with other people from time to time. Not gonna lie, the first time we were asked to do it, I didn’t. I just already felt so vulnerable in even moving my body knowing people were watching me. Making eye contact took it to a higher level and I wasn’t ready for it yet. I danced with one individual and I laughed nervously. I was so tempted to talk or say something but that would have been against the rules.
And I get why.
1) So that we are granted our own individualistic experiences by refraining from conversation.
2) Words serve as “fillers.” Language give us a reason to pivot or avoid. Of course this is not always true, but I experienced how it can be true in certain circumstances. Basically, talking all the time means we aren’t really connecting.
I got out of my comfort zone enough to dance with one person who approached me. During my time dancing with this individual, different questions passed through my mind: “What am I supposed to be doing?” “Am I doing it right?” “What should I be doing??”
At One with Nature: Our facilitator shared that there is no wrong sound. To me, that message rang true for other areas as well. There is no wrong movement. Nothing I do is wrong. Nothing I say is wrong. It’s just what’s happening. We spend so much time and energy trying to control ourselves and our environments. Control is resisting what is happening in front of you. It’s denying the present moment. It’s pushing against allowing what’s natural.
Dancing Raised my Vibration: Just the music by itself and the movement in my body raised my vibrational state. I didn’t have to think my way to joy. Rather, I only had to move. This is a huge takeaway for me because I can be quite sedentary. I’m really good at being still (which is a good thing) and not really as good at the moving part.
Moving around revealed to me the intelligence of our bodies and we only need two things for this: feed our ears with lush rhythm, and allow the rhythm to move through us. That’s the formula.
I highly recommend getting into your own body. Dancing is but one way to do it. What I really loved and appreciated was observing several people who had placed their hands over their hearts. Perhaps the most inspiring part of dancing is the heart expansion that clearly happens within us all.
Ellie Pappas is a Certified Life Coach with a Licensed Master’s in Social Work. Her mission is to empower others by helping them repattern limiting beliefs and reveal their best selves. She believes all people possess the power to heal themselves and she guides individuals on an inward journey to uncover their hidden potentials and purpose. She is a Reiki Practitioner providing treatments for Yarah Formation, a sound meditation community based in NYC specializing in Harmonic Therapy, and is also a member of Firefly Society, an international community of Reiki practitioners based in NYC providing healing services to individuals, groups, corporations, as well as large events and festivals. You can check out her Youtube Channel.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak