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Inner Child, Meet Outer Adult. Now Dance!

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As children, it is so natural for us to run and jump and climb and tumble and spin.  We are always in motion, from the time we are born squirming and wiggling, to when we first crawl (and boy do we get fast at that!), to when we walk and then run. Then there’s no stopping us!  What we didn’t understand when we’re little, we now know–movement is a way we explore ourselves and our world. We are testing out boundaries, experiencing new sensation, developing new proficiencies, learning where our balance is, where our strengths are, exploring lightness and motion and feeling, connecting with others…movement is all these things when we are growing up.

In my opinion, dance as an adult is still all these things. I get to do it all on a more conscious level, but just as I was as a child, I am still learning about myself and the world around me through experimenting with new movement.  I challenge my limits, learn new skills, gain strength, connect with others, try and fail and try again, I laugh and cry, and ultimately find my balance.  Through dance I get to return to my childish ways, but through a new medium which honors who I am as a grown up at the same time.

For me, bellydance in particular nurtures the child and the woman, both, in me.

As a teacher I see it unfold–I get to tell adults “Just try it! Play! Mess up, it’s okay!”  How often are we told this in our adult life? 

In every facet of our adult lives, the sentiment is constantly reinforced that being an adult is all about meeting expectations, avoiding mistakes, doing everything “right” or face shame or consequences. In dance class, this is one time we can struggle with new ideas again and again, and we are not only encouraged and supported in it, we have fun with it!!  We are told we have our own path to walk, and ultimately we don’t have to conform to someone else’s pace or vision. And simultaneously we are learning so much about our body mechanics, and our relationship to others both spatially and emotionally.  We learn about accountability and commitment, and experience the divine exhaustion of good physical work.  We get to be a kid again, and yet learn so much about ourselves as a mature adult. Worth every penny, worth every minute…

From a series of quotes where people are talking about their experiences working with Walt Disney:

“The thing that was extraordinary about all the people (who worked with Walt Disney) was that they embraced failure. Within those walls there was constantly the reminder that it’s OK to fail, that it was OK to be human, that it was OK to experiment, because that’s how you blossom as a student.” — Andrea Favilli, Imagineer and sculptor (2001)

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.

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