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Friday, April 10th, 2009

Dancing Down Demons

Years ago, I was a professional modern dancer. I did fairly well in a hard field, making my humble living (mostly) dancing in Europe, Israel and in New York City. Until one day I realized I spent 80% of each day hating myself.

When I did the math, that meant 80% of my life devoted to self-denigration, and that was too high a percentage (!) so I quit dancing as a profession.

I wasn't raised religiously, but I know being a dancer from a young age took the place of Catholic school or a rigorous, constrictive religious training. In terms of working harder for less for promise of reward later. In terms of denying the body for a higher cause. In terms of becoming a vessel for another's vision. In terms of striving for perfection as the basis for simply being alive. In terms of self-loathing and joy being mixed up in the same thing. And also in terms of feeling a light shine forth from me and feeling a visceral connection with the divine as I did this craft I loved very much.

Last year, about this time, I created a dance piece, not only so I could dance and enjoy myself, but so that I could work out any leftover demons of dance roaming around in my psyche. So I could be free to enjoy this most gorgeous of arts, one I am blessed to be very good at.

And come up the twice-warmed demons did! (You can read old posts from February – May of 2008 to see to track my dancing with demons…) I have never been more challenged, more stretched to the bone to focus, show up, problem solve on my feet. I have never felt more shame at not knowing what I should know, but could only come to know by the experience of going through it.

They say you only get the courage to do something after you've done it. I do believe I'm brave enough to truly dance now.

Here's the piece, for your viewing pleasure.

http://www.beforeplaydance.com/

on one side
are
our lives

discon nected
di/ssected & bi-sected
int er rupted by
(over-technologized)

misunderstanding @
our brutal

isolation

& on the other side
there lives
visceral connection:
beating heart (light!)
and red hot heat

she persists

regard
less

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Posted by LiYana at 3:13 pm

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