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You don’t love the dance…

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I came across an article I remember reading before (and maybe even posted here, not sure and didn’t have time to search), and thought it was timely and interesting to read. From Aziza Sa’id’s blog

Today my students were teachers, Belly Dancing and Yoga. The first of today’s Big Questions is one of my favorites… Why Do You Do What You Do? Dance? Yoga?

And people gave some real truths in answer: Because it’s fun; Because in it I find acceptance, of myself and others; Because I feel beautiful; Because I feel at peace; Because it is a way to create and express myself; Because I feel healthier; Because I feel better in and about my body when I do.

Because I love it.

And here’s where I need to say… No. You don’t. You do not love yoga, or dance.

You think you do, but you don’t. The “it” is not the object of your love… you do NOT love yoga or dance.

What you really love is Who You Are when you do it.

The dance, the yoga, it is a vehicle. It is the way, the path, the mechanism. It is Your way, it is what is working best for you right now, and may always be what works best for you, but it is still just a tool.

Consider this… when I taught ballroom dance for a living, nobody ever came in because they needed to learn to waltz. They THOUGHT they needed to learn to waltz… but… did they really? Was it that they needed a box step and a hesitation and an underarm turn to make their life complete?

“Really, I just desperately NEEEEED a box step! Pleeease! I am not whole until I have one!”

Or did they need what those moves were going to give them? The ability to go and do something fun with their spouse? The confidence to talk to a beautiful woman and know they were going to be able to entertain her? The knowledge and relief they would not look like fools on their wedding day?

What you really love is Who You Are and How You Feel when you do it.

It’s like strawberries. I say I love strawberries. But really, is it that I love them? Or is it that I love the sensation of their taste? The feeling of delight that comes from looking at their shiny redness? The stimulation of feeling their smooth and stubbly brail exterior? The sweet and sour satisfaction of eating them? What I love is the sensation of strawberries. I am grateful for their existence, but what I love is how I experience them.

What you love about yoga, about dance, is how you experience yourself and the world and others when you do it.

So… to my teachers I say… what is it, really, that you love?

Because once you know that, you will know what and why you teach. And then you can really teach it.

Follow Shay:

Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

3 Responses

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    I’m not sure I entirely agree–I actually started looking at bellydance as a potential hobby because I like learning new and interesting ways to move. There were a lot of hobbies I could’ve picked up, but I chose bellydancing because I did ballet, jazz, tap, martial arts, and horseback riding, and bellydance looked like it would be really, really different type of movement, so I HAD to learn it. I mean, it was beautiful and the costuming was cool and y’all looked so happy dancing together, and that was great, but the physical mechanics of it was actually what grabbed me.

    I mean, do I love how it makes me feel confident, and how I’ve met some AWESOME people? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to taqsim because it feels good and interesting to move that way! When I came to class, I pretty much did NEED a taqsim to make my life complete! I didn’t expect the confidence and sense of community–those were merely delightful by-products. The community doesn’t even keep me coming back (though again, it’s fantastic and I love it)–if you just taught me a new move every week, I’d be happy. Not as happy as I am now, but it would still be worth it.

    Maybe this drive to learn different ways to move makes me weird, but I knew that already. 🙂

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    Shay Moore
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    I don’t think it makes you weird at all Rebecca. I guess the author of this article might argue that moving your body in new ways is what you love. I know it is for me, too! I am one of those freaks who could drill one move over and over an entire class, just looking at how it can morph and change based on how you step with it, a little twist in the torso here, a little lift in the heel there. I love exploring how moves energetically “fit” on the body and in space, for sure!

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    Aziza Sa'id
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    Shay, you’ve landed squarely on it… “learning to move your body in new ways is what you love” is precisely what I would say.
    Rebecca, I would say it’s not the taxim, but the experience of learning something physical that is novel and challenging and not like what you already know.
    and for Shay, its the exploration of something familiar, to find the subtle changes and detail and intricate knowledge of the step, to know it fully.
    the dance provides a vehicle for those satisfactions. the magic is not the dance itself, but that it creates the opportunity to explore and learn in macro(Rebecca) and in micro(Shay) and experience and express what satisfies you.

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