The journey so far
When I was an organic and unedited human being – a child – I moved and danced freely, unhindered and unrestrained. I guess dance was my first love, something I was instinctively drawn to. When my parents did the music for discos, I paid no attention to those watching, I was only concerned with the music and the action of dancing to it. Growing up I happily spent much of my time in my room learning to dance and sing just for the love of it. But, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with being taught dance (perhaps mostly because of the type of dance on offer).
When I was 4 I had ballet lessons for one year and, despite being described as a natural, I was adamant that I never wanted to do ballet again. When I was 16, I took ballet lessons at college and after a short while of doing beginners classes I was asked to join the intermediate class. I soon discovered that not only was intermediate rather more advanced than I had hoped but also that the use of French terminology replaced all English description in its entirety and so after a few months I gave up again. I was offered free out-of-college ballet lessons by the tutor as they were convinced that I had the natural ability to be able to go professional, but I was uninterested.
In my late teens and early 20s I was part of dance groups at my church and have dabbled in some lessons in my 30s but one of my biggest struggles has always been trying to remember choreography. I enjoy dancing when I am free to express myself as I feel, but perhaps I do not enjoy dancing when it is just articulating choreography, even my own.
Perhaps I am a maverick in many things, but I think I can say without question that I am a maverick dancer. I reject rules and restriction, which is perhaps why I love the freedom of contemporary dance freestyle and cherish the raw, unpolished nature of engaging in improvised expressive dance.
The continuing journey
I have quite recently begun a journey of rediscovering movement and dance as it relates to my being and as a form of my personal expression. I have been doing an evening foundation studies course in Dance Movement Psychotherapy which has been challenging and freeing as well as enlightening and intriguing. I have been observing myself when dancing or just moving through which I have become aware of many things about myself psychologically as well as physically.
In life I feel that a person needs to earn my trust enough for me to open up and show/reveal more of myself as a person to them. There are moments where more of me can be incidentally glimpsed – when I lead workshops or have hosted Songwriters nights. Times where quiet me is somehow consumed by the bigger picture at hand and a more outgoing me takes over. For that little bit of time I escape my own containment. I am visible in 3D. It is all me. Both a 2D me and a 3D me is still me. But, to anyone that hasn’t anticipated the existence of anything other than a 2D me, a 3D version might appear completely different and far removed.
When I dance in worship, there is an element of wanting to bless others through the communication, but, in the most part, it is simply an organic desire to move and dance out what I feel, where I pay no attention to those watching, I just get lost in the act of instinctive expression. Parts of my inner being leak out when there is room for such freedom and where the desire to move and dance wins. It’s as if, when I dance in line with my own expression it overrides my instinct to resist or hold myself back or away. Whilst I dance I am vulnerable but feel no need for people to earn my trust in order for me to reveal of myself. Dance bypasses all of my learned behaviours and psychological hangups. It becomes my most primal call in the moment, nothing else matters, and I am free to be visible in 3D.