The room looked like it was about to break out into the world’s weirdest orgy. All sorts of ages, races, body shapes were slinking around. I was half-expecting someone to get naked or to suddenly feel a tongue in my ear so I started moving around the room with a bit more purpose. “You’re not gonna catch me!”
A woman in the room picked up a mop and started using it as her dance partner. Yes, I admit, I judged her for this. Another older man found joy in clapping, my sister, always a beautiful dancer, was making her way around each corner of the room. I felt like I was invading her privacy, like I was watching her do something intimate. She was in the zone and I wanted to join her.
When I dance, I look to the DJ to provide me my next move. While the DJ doesn’t actually dictate my movement, they do serve a great purpose in my dance journey. This was different. Yes, there was a woman in charge of music and every now and then she provided some words of wisdom, but really, the journey was all mine to decide.
I finally started to feel more like myself once the Staccato and Chaos rhythms began. The beat was alive and my hips relaxed. I didn’t recognize all the songs being played but there were definitely familiar tunes. I think that’s what my biggest fear was about 5Rhythms. I was afraid the music would be something out of the lobby of a new-age, salon, ‘plinky plunky’ sounds as Phoebe Buffay might describe them.
At first I thought a two-hour class was way too long but when I suddenly realized an hour had passed just when I was getting comfortable, I was grateful. We completed our first wave and it was time to start the next.
It was during this second wave I felt it. The hair came down, the hands in the air, aaaaaand I began making eye contact! There were moments when my mind lost control and my body took control. This was fun.
I looked at everyone dancing around me, practicing their art. Then I thought of how I practice my art: open mic, show, open mic, show, record, listen, edit, record, listen, edit. How nice it felt to be doing something fulfilling for my brain and body and not have to worry about saving it to fix later. No one in the room was recording this or ever going to repeat this performance. It was there. It was happening. And it was going to be gone very soon. It wouldn’t live on camera and it wouldn’t live on my phone. Done.
During the last Lyrical and Stillness rhythms of the wave, I found myself dancing with other (sweaty) people. We played off each other and there was never a move that felt wrong. I felt accepted. I felt good. And I felt like a strong woman. I was turned on and it was me who was doing the turning.
My sister writes this:
Certain music, certain movers will extract that essence out of me, and I feel wise, vibrant, strong, feminine, proud, daring. There is a head-to-toe, bone-to-muscle-to-blood connection with myself, and I feel so whole, so womanly, so pure.
Likewise, even though I don’t necessarily feel “grown up,” dancing has certainly given me comfort in my femininity and allowed me to move beyond the boundaries of girlhood.
Later that evening, while still riding my 5Rhythms high, I got caught in a sudden downpour. I stood under an awning but only for a moment.
Soak up. Grow up. Say yes. Those are my rhythms.