What does it mean to dance?

Close your eyes for 15 seconds and imagine yourself dancing (with zero judgment).

What were you doing? What were you wearing? How old were you? Where were you? Were you inside… or outside… or in a void…. What do you hear? Were you seeing yourself do moves you’ve done before? Or were you imagining yourself doing something you’ve never actually done before? How do you feel?

Every time I do this, I see something different. This time, I see myself in some kind of dystopian Merce Cunningham piece. With a Dorothy Hamill haircut. Monochrome tights and leotard, dusty red, with a belt. Doing full body tilts to the side with my arms extended up beyond my head. The room is wooden and pretty small, almost a black box, with a row seats built into one side of the room. I can hear the brushing of my feet along the smooth floor, a dry sound that details the edges of my effort.

Dancing has been a part of my life almost as long as memory. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to figure out something about it. It started with how to do a step, then how to do it properly, then how to do it beautifully, then how to do it for myself. And now how to teach it to others. It was about trying to understand why certain choreography could move me to tears and other work left me cold. Dance has taught me to be curious by offering me things I did not understand. It taught me patience by providing me ideas that I could grow into. It continues to be about understanding that dancing and our moving bodies are both language and a means of communication and connection, and that a lifetime is not enough to understand all the possibilities and nuances for expression.

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