I’m starting to think that I actually had my dream calling figured out when I was 26.
In the span of a year, I had discovered ecstatic dance and taken a Reiki Healing Dance™ course and a Kripalu DansKinetics® teacher training course. I was 100% grounded in this new, free, intuitive, healing dance modality. I felt powerful and free. And then my old teacher (yes, that old teacher) asked me to teach modern dance to her senior students.
…in hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that she never officially paid me for my time, because I certainly didn’t teach what she was expecting.
Of the three students I taught, two were girls I’d known when I was one of the senior girls and they were just six and eight years old. I knew what they were experiencing in their ballet classes—the endless grind of repetitive exercises, the screaming and snapping, the feelings of helplessness, the barely-contained rage.
I knew because I had lived it.
And I set out to give them what I would have wanted when I was in their shoes: I made it my mission to remind them why they loved to dance. And that there was more to dancing than what they were used to.
I did teach some modern technique, I suppose. And I used elements of the trainings I’d just taken, a bit. But mostly, I just set the stage and let them do the rest. I allowed the classes to be whatever the girls needed. Together, we lay on the floor and envisioned glowing bubbles of safety and love. We followed the breath into beautiful dances. We grounded and oozed. We pushed and pulled. We played games. We followed music into beautiful unknown spaces.
Occasionally I would catch my old teacher’s disapproving glares through the windows as we danced. But it didn’t matter. The girls were lost in the dance. They were glowing and grinning. They were safe. It. Was. Glorious.
Later, the girls were split up, and I taught one of them one-on-one. I’d known her since she was little, and our classes (if you can call them that) quickly morphed into something else entirely. We would sit and chat about whatever happened to be going on with her at the time, sometimes for half the class time. I would give her any insight I could. And then we would open up to the dance. We danced shapes, textures, elements and emotions. We went outside and found beautiful things to portray through movement. We played with oracle cards and energy work. We made our dance into a healing thing, a tool for transformation, a safe means of expression.
I still look back on that time as a major highlight of my 20s. I was in my element. I was connected. I was making a difference. I believed so passionately in my power to help that it brought tears to my eyes. And I saw the effects of my work every time the girls walked into my class.
Ever since then, I’ve been longing to get back to that place of service, of magic, of belief. But I told myself it was impossible. That I only managed it then because of my history with the girls and our shared rebellion. That I had to find a new, “more realistic” dream, fit inside a box, get the Certifications® and the Trainings™ and follow the Rules©.
But now I’m starting to wonder…What if?
What if I could build upon those foundations and create something unique, personal, and deeply healing? What if it could really help people? And not just downtrodden ballet-dancers-in-training, but anyone—trained or not—who felt called to dance?
What if I had it figured out way back then, and all I needed was the confidence to translate it beyond the walls of that studio?
What if? What if?
Even entertaining the possibility and asking the question is progress.