Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Dance-A-Day

Last week we had a contact improvisation jam at the university where I teach. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it is like recess for grown ups. The dance form explores what happens when two or more people share a point of leads to spinning, rolling, lifting... Jams are time for open exploration of the form, just as a group of jazz musicians might get together to play.

I had been having a bad day. To be more accurate I had been having a hard week. If you must know, it had been a hard month. After spending an hour dancing, I walked out of the studio into the cold winter air smiling, and thought, "Wow. I forgot that I was unhappy."

Later that week I noticed a pattern as I read my students' journals. Responding to a simple journal prompt, "When I dance..." The students equated dance with joy.

"When I dance...I am happy," was something I read over and over.

How often do we remember to dance? Children dance through their days. But adults forget what joy it brings. I once wrote that adults are too grown up for their own good.

Nina Wise, in her book, A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life, writes:

Upon occasion, I remember to dance. Upon occasion, I remember to get up from the computer, or hang up the phone, or pause before washing the dishes and I play music and dance around my room, alone and unobserved. Upon occasion, I remember that no matter what state of mind I am in when I begin, I always feel better when I dance.

"I always feel better when I dance." This guy knows that:

I have decided that every day in March, I will dance. For 5 minutes each day, I will let myself be moved. Sometimes with music, sometimes not. Sometimes fast and furious. Sometimes slow and mournful. Sometimes I will dance with my whole body. Sometimes just my hands. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with others. Depends on the day.

I invite you to join me in spirit. Five minutes a day. That's all it will take.

Wishing you balance,



  1. I'll do it. Thank you!

  2. Thanks Eliot. Now we are dancing from coast to coast.


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