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I had a lot of trouble getting into Christmas this year, almost as though my mental calendar was not at all in sync with the one that kept counting down to December 25. Isn’t it still September? Why is Johnny Mathis always on the radio, and why does the circular section of my Sunday newspaper weigh more than a phonebook?

Neighbors strung lights and hung wreaths; coworkers baked an abundance of cookies; family sent cards and photos. I didn’t scorn or bah-humbug; for me, it all just seemed to be participation in an event I simply didn’t “feel” this year, much like the way I care (or lack thereof) when coworkers draft their March Madness brackets or neighbors bust out nachos and beer and inflatable football players on their lawns the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

I certainly wasn’t Buddy the Elf, yet I wasn’t the Grinch or Scrooge, either. I just … was.

I followed the routine the best I could, ordering gifts online; braving Bed, Bath, & Beyond on December 23; trying at least one of every treat that made its way into my office; wearing festive red; drinking my fair share of gingerbread lattes; head-banging in the car to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve Sarajevo”; making my annual donation to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health; doing my usual crappy job wrapping presents (note for next year: anything larger than the size of an iPad box will be gift-bagged); and overindulging in my dad’s traditional chocolate chip cookies.

In movement terms, the holiday season this year has felt like choreography in a year that was otherwise predominantly improvisation. I had been conscious dancing my way from spring to summer to fall; suddenly Thanksgiving happened; and then the month of December turned into one rushed preparation for the big annual jazz-tap-ballet dance recital. My heart wanted to keep dancing barefoot with my hair a wild stringy mess, but the standards of the season forced my feet into pointe shoes and slicked my hair back into a tight bun.

Life went from 5Rhythms to 5-6-7-8!

But, just as I started to feel myself slip into Black Swan territory, my clever and crafty sister Carolyn reminded me of my roots. Her Christmas gift to me this year was a collection of five gifts—

Carolyn's 5Rhythms gifts

each representing one of the 5 rhythms. (These are GREAT gift ideas for fellow dancers, by the way!)

Starting on the left is the rhythm of Flowing, a handcrafted work of womanly beauty, which itself also represents all of the rhythms. (This could have been the only thing Carolyn got me, and I would have been content.)

Flowing Women

My sister has never even danced the 5Rhythms, but she seems to get the gist.

Next is Staccato, a book, specifically, The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. The book is thick and heavy and packed with information about symbols—Boats and Feathers, Mandalas and Bridges—bam! Staccato. The practice of 5Rhythms is based heavily on archetypes of the soul, so this book is more than appropriate.

In the middle is Chaos, which Carolyn depicted via forthcoming tickets to a Philadelphia-based burlesque show. Let go, let loose—Chaos!

Carolyn’s gift of Lyrical is similar to the Flowing artwork in that it is also representative of all the rhythms. Here, she decoupaged five ceramic tiles, one for each rhythm:

5Rhythms tiles

Finally is the gift of Stillness, so fittingly represented by a spa gift certificate, which I already declared I’d use toward a reflexology session. What better way to close a metaphorical dance practice than with a therapeutic massage of my feet?

Feet in Sunlight

I got some really great gifts this year, but my sister’s was a gentle push from the frenetic feel of the holidays back into the flow. And so, even though I’m a day late, this afternoon I celebrated Christmas in the way that felt most comfortable. Barefoot and with loose, stringy hair, I danced to the sounds of the season:

Warm-Up/Flowing:

Oh Holy Night — Enya
Angels We Have Heard On High — Josh Groban, featuring Brian McKnight
The Holly and the Ivy — Medieval Babes
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year — Johnny Mathis

Staccato:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — Chris Isaak
Carol of the Bells (Dubstep) — RawHardcore

Chaos:

Gettin’ In the Mood (For Christmas) — Brian Setzer
Christmas Eve Sarajevo — Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Lyrical:

Sleigh Ride — Leroy Anderson
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas — Sarah McLachlan

Stillness:

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy — Tchaikovsky
O’che Chiun (Silent Night) — Enya.

**Did you incorporate movement/dance/5Rhythms into your holiday this year?
Please share how you continued to flow through all the go-go-go!**

Week by week, my “blogging idea” list keeps growing. I dance furiously, take notes, ruminate, and then—just as I feel ready to transfer the experience to screen—the next event rolls along, and I am immersed in another moment of rapture. I am bursting at the seams with experiences to share (bet you didn’t know I completed a first-degree Reiki class last month!), with little down time to sink back into those moments and bring them back to life through words. And as much as my career as an editor helps me through the blogging process, it’s also a hindrance: I spend so many hours each day in front of a computer that the thought of another minute squinting at a monitor is often agonizing.

This past Sunday was supposed to be THE DAY. I had danced on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with minimal computer interaction. Apart from a morning coffee date, Sunday was wide open, and I had every intention of blogging my ass off.

(At this time, you may turn your attention to the title of this post, which indicates how well that all turned out.)

Sunday was rainy, chilly, and gray, the dictionary definition of an I’m-not-taking-off-my-pajamas kind of day. I had in fact gotten dressed that morning, but only for the coffee meetup with Carrol. Carrol is my 60-something “old lady friend” (her words, not mine!); she’s also an art therapist, and being in her presence always stirs something creative in me. A live jazz quartet accompanied our latte sipping and strata nibbling, and an exhibit by local artist Monica Joy Moran had all kinds of earthy works of mixed media popping from the walls.

Espressit_MapBody2

“Two Sides, One Story”

Espressit_MapBody

Old maps used as “skin”: Perhaps a tribute to Gabrielle Roth’s “Maps to Ecstasy”?

ADD CAPTION

“The Oven Bird”

When I got home, I was inspired to flex my artistic muscle—but not through writing! I wanted to use my hands more than my brain; I wanted to create! Despite the urgency of all the writing that was waiting to be done, I wanted to express my love of movement through images rather than words.

My first endeavor was to create a get well card for the producer of my 5Rhythms tribe, who was scheduled to have arthroscopic knee surgery the following day. Knee surgery for a mover/shaker/dancer is a pretty huge deal; it deserves a special kind of card!

As barbaric as it sounds, I began by dismembering the ballerinas and dancers in an old Alonzo King Lines Ballet wall calendar. Whereas zombies mutter “Braaaaiiinsss,” I was thinking more along the lines of “Legggggssss.”

Random Legs

I envisioned using healthy dancer knees as part of the project; I was inspired by the work I created for my friend who had pulmonary surgery over the summer. For that project, I had cut out a bunch of words and images from magazines illustrative of “breath” and “inhalation” and shaped them into a pair of lungs. However, I quickly realized that a knee wasn’t exactly as visually striking.

Change of plans!

KneeArt2

The notion of making an actual card I could send in the mail fell flat when I realized the size of these dancer legs. Instead, I made a temporary exhibit on a yoga mat and delivered the image via Facebook. Thank you, technology! (Also, I don’t know what the heck Rebekah would have done with a poster-sized image of random limbs.)

KneeArt1

I was now in the zone. My little yoga room upstairs had transformed into a paper-littered art studio; Zoë Keating’s cello music played on my laptop, the vibration of her strings moving me to vibrate along with her. The assembly of legs before me was calling to be transformed.

CalendarArt_Legs2CalendarArt_Legs3

I then realized something needed to be done with all the poor floating heads and torsos left behind on my leg-less dancers. It was time to get serious.

I became a madwoman, gathering scissors, glue, poster board, and tape, spreading them over the wooden floor of my yoga room. From the kitchen, I brought up a bowl of mixed nuts, with some Reese’s Pieces thrown in the mix for a colorful kick. A gallon jug of water to chug on, to keep me hydrated. Lit a chocolate mint-scented candle, changed my music to the buoyant strings of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

I was ready for both hibernation and/or creation.

Delicately, I snipped the dancers’ heads and arms from their dark background, happy to be repurposing their poses and poise. The work became a Wave: smoothing down paper and paste to the music’s tempo; gliding my finger over wet glue, feeling the stickiness with the same awareness of pressing my foot into the dance floor and feeling the gritty wood fibers; slicing paper with a razor—careful not to get too Staccato—being mindful of the Lyrical nature of the razor’s work, thin cracks forming over an icy lake.

Finally, there came Stillness:

CalendarArt_Tribe1CalendarArt_Tribe2

I’m still thinking of a good name for the piece. “Tribe and True”? “Us”? “Supportive Stillness”? The intention was to depict how a 5Rhythms tribe allows room for a heart to grow while holding a sacred, contained space for such development. The dance isn’t necessarily about contact as it is connection, the feeling of being part of a greater something even when dancing by yourself.

I can be standing on the outskirts of the dance floor by myself during 5Rhythms but never feel alone. It had happened just the day before at a class led by Peter Fodera; overcome with a profound appreciation and deep gratitude for everyone dancing around me, I was compelled to stand off to the side and simply witness the unraveling around me. I felt tapped into the buzzing circuitry, lifting my hands as though placing them on one of those plasma static electricity balls. My body started to heat up, not in a “I’m dancing crazily, I’m hot” way, but rather a radiating warmth from my core outward that left a fine sheen of perspiration over the surface of my skin. A healthy 5Rhythms tribe is very much like a flourishing circulatory system; my heart beats as the surrounding veins and arteries flood it with fresh nourishment.

CalendarArt_Tribe3

I hardly touched my keyboard that Sunday but didn’t feel as guilty as I normally do when putting off writing for another day. Artistic expression had emerged in different ways that night; old calendars found new life; and I found that cutting, pasting, and assembling can be just as meditative as shaking, whirling, and twirling.

The idiom “going around in circles” doesn’t usually carry a positive connotation, but that’s the shape our movement took during a recent “Dancing Mandala” 5Rhythms workshop. If it’s hip to be square, then it sure is satisfying being a circle.

A combination of dance, breathwork, and artistic expression, the event was touted as a three-part journey into our soul, using the five rhythms, five elements, and five points on the mandala (four around the perimeter, one in the center) as gateways into our essence. From the website:

While bridging the five elements—Earth (Flowing), Fire (Staccato), Water (Chaos), Air (Lyrical), Ether (Stillness)—with the 5Rhythms, we will subconsciously create a moving mandala. As a culmination of this experience, we will pause in the last rhythm of Stillness for a breathing meditation, then conclude and refine the energies by creating a visual mandala you will then take with you.

Woah. I registered for the workshop before reading this heavy-duty description, eager for any kind of dance and art combo. Meditative movement opens up all kinds of creative portals in me; I kept thinking back to my yoga teacher training at Kripalu, when, after days and days of nothing but yoga, meditation, and pranayama, we were handed large sheets of paper and crayons and asked to draw what our future looked like. Everyone was in some other realm of consciousness at the time, so the artwork that came forth probably contains about 12 layers of psychological interpretation. Six years later, I still don’t know what mine means but yet somehow I feel like I’ve been living in the middle of it the whole time:

Hands, feet, arrows, footprints, hearts, spirals…. Makes sense, right?

Well, the event was way more than a little dancing, a little painting. The workshop’s organizers—Nancy, Stavros, and Johanna—created such a sacred space that I was reluctant to even bring my cheap plastic water bottle into the transformed grade-school auditorium. Ivy-like garland lined the room’s perimeter, each corner containing an altar dedicated to one of the elements. Fellow dancer Phil consecrated our quarters by offering a fragile, authentic, handmade mandala thangka from India as decoration with a purpose:

Before class, we were asked to bring in a small object that represented one of the elements; as we walked into the space, we were encouraged to visit each of the elemental altars and find one on which to place our object. My object (a polished heart-shaped stone) represented earth, but I was very attracted to the second altar, accented with a tall glass vase filled with water. I kept thinking back to the Rilke quote that “chose me” during my recent Kripalu workshop: “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” So it was there next to the water that I lay my earthen heart.

I fell effortlessly into the dance once the music began, but I noticed one thing was really bugging me:

Yes, this beautiful centerpiece—which so perfectly represented the fifth circle of a mandala, the ether—was making me anxious. Now, at the time of our dancing it did not have the candles or paintings, but it was still a giant piece of real estate on which we could not dance.

Or could we? Now that I think about it, I honestly don’t recall the instructor telling us whether we could or could not dance within the circle. I think we all just assumed that this ring was revered, and it would be an act of profanity to step over the white line. Many times I caught myself wanting so badly to leap into the circle; I flirted with the ether, every now and then allowing one leg to hover over the edge during a spin. I wasn’t even fully sure whether there were rules, but I seemed to have imposed my own…and then challenge them.

Fortunately, we had an opportunity to work with these restrictions and challenges. Working in pairs, one person faced the center circle as the partner stood facing back, acting much like a gatekeeper to the treasures and freedom that the flowing white ring represented. One person danced her struggles, falling into a repetitive movement that the partner, serving as a witness, eventually copied.

Then came the uncomfortable part—the mover stood still and watched her dance being played out, a mirror image come to life. What a surprise to step back and see your movement through your own eyes, like reading an old journal entry. There was a bit more to this exercise, a transformation element that involved breaking through the struggle, and for most people the end result was a feeling of relief, like we had just crawled through a long and dark cave and finally stumbled on a pocket of light. Nancy’s next choice of music following this exercise was Michael Franti’s upbeat “I Know I’m Not Alone,” and with it came a dance of celebration. The energy among the entire group had shifted profoundly, and I remember bopping along, smiling like a goofball, feeling like we had all survived something big together, we made it through, so let’s just dance and have fun.

This partnering exercise was the pinnacle of the dance portion of class, a time that I could energetically and emotionally feel my individual self merge with my classmates. We had started as separate circles, our own little individual planets, and then BOOM! Suddenly we were not just stand-alone celestial circles anymore but part of a massive universe, everyone joining the same orbit, a cohesive, spinning mandala.

This mandala only tightened over time, especially during Stillness, as everyone stood around the circle’s edge. Even those I stood across from—separated by a ring of cloth and stones and other small objects—our dance was together. I was engaged in an intimate pas de deux with my stone heart yet at the same time participating in a much larger group dance prayer.

At the very end of class, each of us was given the chance to step inside the circle and do our own personal dance. It was an intensely moving moment, and many people’s expressions brought me to tears. I bit my lip and gripped hard onto those hands I held on either side of me.

The breathwork that proceeded the dancing was anything but your typical belly-breath pranayama—more like 20 minutes of non-stop kundalini breath of fire. Good thing we were lying down, otherwise I may have toppled over! Stavros had warned us beforehand of the effects of such breathing—heaviness/tingling in the extremities, a panicky feeling in the gut that can lead to an emotional release. He was spot-on: The hyperventilating rocked my body, and I vacillated between wanting to sob and laugh hysterically. My hands and feet felt like they were all individual centrifuges, spinning spinning spinning with such intensity. At times they went from feeling like each finger and toe weighed 10 pounds to me not feeling them at all. Nancy (bless her!), feeling the need to support me but not entirely sure what to do, rubbed my feet, held my stomach, and placed a rock in my palm, which I swore was going to levitate from the energy pulsing in my hand. The vibration coming from my palm was so strong that I watched in amazement as the stone ever-so-subtly slid from the center of my hand out toward the edge.

The whole time we were panting and buzzing and crying and laughing, Johanna was secretly setting up individual painting stations for each of us, so that by the time we rolled up off the ground and opened our eyes, there, like magic, were canvases and brushes and a rainbow of paint blobs for us to experiment with. The original intention was for everyone to paint their own mandala, given the subject of the workshop; however, we were all in such a state of woo-woo after that wild breathing that everyone just started doing their own thing and Johanna was reluctant to interfere with the creative process. I tried hard to stay in the semi-hypnotic state and let my heart and gut do the painting rather than my head.

The results (displayed in the previous photo) were still beautiful, a tangible extension of the deep emotional work we had done on the dance floor. It was nice to have a “take-home” element by which to remember the event, although I’m not planning on hanging my creation on my walls anytime soon. My art therapist friend would have a field day with this one:

It was a long afternoon—nearly 4 hours of delving deep into our minds and bodies. In a sense, we were a bit like the monks who spend days, even weeks creating the most intricate sand mandalas, grain by grain. When their elaborate creation is completed, the monks essentially destroy it, brushing the sand together and letting it run off into the air or water, a symbolic act representing impermanence while also spreading forth the blessings and energy of the artwork to which they had committed so much attention and mindfulness.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user waltarrrrr

Each of us was a grain of sand, the workshop a means of coming together into one brilliantly colorful circle. During that final moment of Stillness, as we stood close and held hands, we were that completed mandala. And breath by breath, brushstroke by brushstroke, we gradually separated from each other—the monk’s hand sweeping over our collaborative art—becoming individuals again, yet with a new sense of spirit, energy, and wisdom.

Like the mandala’s sand flowing back into the river, we each went our separate ways after class but yet somehow feeling like we were now part of a much larger picture.

When Bryan and I decided to go to Washington, DC this past Saturday, my #1 priority was to get to the National Gallery of Art to see Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life. It is the four-part series of paintings that inspired Jeanne Ruddy’s Out of the Mist, Above the Real, the dance piece I saw a few weeks ago. The piece moved me greatly, and how fortunate am I that a day trip to DC allowed me the opportunity to see the original artwork behind the choreography?

Once I got that off my chest, we moseyed around the museum and admired Manet, Monet, Renior, and Degas, among others, including a visually striking photography exhibit on the circa-1984 New York City subway. Although snaking through an art museum without a guidebook or plan of action makes me a bit discombobulated (I feel like I need a trail of breadcrumbs to remind me where I’ve been), the act of turning a corner and coming face to face with something surprising, stirring, or moving is what the museum experience is all about.

I hesitate to interrupt this artistic discussion with talk of food, but I feel it is my duty to share with everyone my love for the Mitsitam Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian. If you need to break for lunch at one of the Smithsonian museums, this is the one to do so.

The food court is broken down into stations representing the various regions of the Americas and the foods indigenous to that culture: Northern Woodlands, Mesoamerica, South America, Northwest Coast, and Great Plains. You can mix and match food items, creating one melting pot of a meal. It reminds me of World Showcase in Epcot, but without the need to walk a mile in the central Florida sun to collect your global cuisine.

Our meal, clockwise from upper left: Indian fry bread; buffalo chili; cedar-plank fire-roasted salmon with wild berry glaze; pumpkin cookies; red beets, candied apples, toasted walnuts, cherry vinaigrette; braised chard; and quesadilla with chihualua cheese, spinach, mushroom, and huitlacoche.

So much tastier than chicken fingers and fries!

We did a lot of walking, probably close to a half marathon (13 miles) by the end of the day, including a ridiculously strenuous climb up a non-working escalator in the Woodley Park-Zoo Metro station as other (sane) people watched us from the functioning one. The ascent was steep and loooong; it looked like a fun challenge at first but then just got hard. We further punished ourselves by standing in a 20-minute line at the Zoo to see a panda bear that was dead asleep and then walking through every twist and turn of the Asia exhibit hoping to catch sight of the sloth bear that was nowhere to be found.

One thing I did find, though, was each of the 5Rhythms. Even when I’m trekking around the nation’s capital, my mind is never far from dancing and the rhythms that tie us all together. For example, I witnessed kites soaring high above the National Mall lawn (Flowing), a flock of Canada geese audibly pecking the grass under their webbed feet (Staccato), a group of hyper schoolchildren in matching T-shirts and hats scramble onto their tour bus (Chaos), a young girl in a cream-colored dress run with her same-colored dog up a grassy hill (Lyrical), and a group of veterans in wheelchairs being pushed slowly around the Vietnam Memorial (Stillness).

I think the practice of 5Rhythms, coupled with yoga and meditation, has helped sharpen my senses and my awareness of all the little dances taking place within the larger dance. When you look at a satellite map of a city, everything looks either gray, green, or blue. Look closer, and you see, hear, and feel the rhythms:

Flowing:
National Museum of the American Indian

Staccato:
Washington Monument

Chaos:
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Lyrical:
U.S. Capitol Building

Stillness:
Vietnam Memorial

A completed Wave:
Atrium, National Museum of the American Indian

This past weekend I attended my hometown’s May Fair, a huge street festival of food, music, arts, and crafts. I always go into these types of things with the same mentality:

Don’t buy anything unless it speaks to you.

There is a fine line between being intrigued by something and being utterly captivated.

With the former, you can admire it, sigh, appreciate its worth, hold it in your hands, imagine it hanging in your house or adorning your neck. When you put the item back on the table, there may be some resistance, but you can still walk away confident with the decision to do so.

With the latter, there is an instant connection. The moment you hold up the print or try on the bracelet, there is a conversation. The art is speaking to you. Some invisible line of energy connects the intention behind the work to your brain and heart, and suddenly you feel One with this object in front of you. It is not just a portrait; it is part of you. Putting the artwork back on the display table feels like betrayal, and you can’t help but step back and pick it up again. The notion of walking away without this art becomes unbearable, and you cry out, “I’ll take it!” without even looking at the price tag on its underside.

The first item that had me under its spell was this torched copper dancer. It was only available as a pin, but at my request, the artist looped a cord through the backside and instantly transformed it into a pendant.

I had been looking for a long time for a pendant that represented the essence of 5Rhythms, and this just shouted to me loud and clear. I love how the chemistry behind heating the copper brings out so many colors. It’s one body filled with so much…stuff. The five rhythms are swirling inside of her.

My heart skipped a beat again when I passed a vendor selling prints of vintage photos. Two of them instantly called out to me, and I picked them out of the milk crate they resided in without even hesitating.

The images are part of a collection of photos of the National American Ballet taken in the 1920s (archived in the Library of Congress). To tell you the truth, they aren’t the best-quality prints, but I wasn’t at all interested in the technical aspects of photography or reprinting; it was the emotion in the dancers’ bodies that drew me in and took my breath away.

When I looked at those women, I saw me. I rarely dance with mirrors anymore, but I am confident that my body is filled with that kind of rapture in those precious moments in 5Rhythms when Chaos winds down and Lyrical takes effect. In fact, the vendor selling these prints titled the bottom portrait “Joy” and the top one “Bliss.” I probably would have given them the same names myself.

There is so much I love about these images. In the top image, the dancer is connecting with earth and sky and everything around her. It is indeed Bliss. In the bottom portrait, the woman’s expression is both ecstatic and yet somewhat pained, yet the artist gave it the title “Joy.” I like to envision that this woman was captured during the very moment she danced the devil off her back (to quote Florence), simultaneously letting go of something that pinned her down and breathing in a new kind of freedom.

I also love that these are ballet dancers, but they are barefoot with regular-sized bodies. Their physique is so different than what we see in today’s ballerinas: chiseled, waif-like, rigid. Not that I don’t like 21st-century ballet, but I connect so much more with the liberation portrayed in these images from nearly 90 years ago.

I imagine these liberated dancers landing back on the ground, rolling into the grass and picking dandelions. When I look at these photos, I see myself at the pinnacle of my dancing frenzy, 100% nourished and fulfilled, one millisecond caught in time but a moment I want to extend into 1 minute…1 hour…1 day…1 month…1 year…1 lifetime.

OK, for everyone out there not currently on spring break, my lord, was this week s-l-o-w or what?! Maybe it’s just because I have a super-fun weekend mapped out (drumming! dancing!) and am anticipating the excitement, but every day this week has felt like a ho-hum Tuesday.

But finally! Here we go. It’s Friday, it’s the 13th, and I have a hodge-podge list of five things that have peppered my (interminable!) week with some color and life.

(1) As if a nod to my I Am Woman post from a few weeks ago, my Old Lady Friend™ Carrol sent me the link to this video, 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art.

It’s a hypnotic 3-minute compilation of female art subjects through the centuries, edited artfully itself so that each image morphs into the next. To me, it’s visual art presented in a dance-like manner. It’s also just fun to see the painting styles and female figures transition as the years go by.

(2) Next isn’t a video but a blog that I am excited to add to my Google Reader: Dancemeditation.

The blog is maintained by Dunya Dianne McPherson, whose book, Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh, is currently on my nightstand. It’s been on my Amazon wishlist ever since I purchased Gabrielle Roth’s Sweat Your Prayers (which has essentially become my bible) and it popped up on my “You Might Like…” list.

Dunya is a former professional ballerina who turned to Sufism and now teaches her brainchild Dancemeditation™, “a unique, integrated movement meditation system for self-discovery, healing, and evolution.”

The way she writes about the human body is utterly fascinating and captivating, and it is hard not to roll my spine and rock my pelvis along to her words. They are the words of someone so at home with her body, so familiar with every tendon, vein, and cell within; some chapters have such a deep and sensual feel that they read more like erotic literature, a kind of “kinesthetic pornography,” perhaps.

This post on simple side-to-side rolling will get you moving.

(3) Switching gears, we now move to Main Street, U.S.A. for some Disney dancing!

Posted on Disney Parks’ official blog, this video features Barbara, a Walt Disney World cast member who has taken her role as Main Street hostess to a new level by just doin’ her thang during the daily parades. If I knew there was an opportunity out there for me to both (a) work in Disney World, and (b) dance my heart out every afternoon, then Barbara would be out of a job. … OK, so I’m a bit jealous, but I love Barbara for bringing dance and Disney together in the upbeat way she does. 🙂

(4) The last two items go hand in hand. First is the 2011 Emmy-winning choreography “This Bitter Earth” from Mia Michaels, which appeared on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance.

I’m going through a bit of a SYTYCD drought here (still more than a month to go before Season 9 starts!), so I’ve been filling the holes by watching clips of past seasons on YouTube. This particular dance about aging is just so powerful, poignant, and kind of sad. It’s a hit-you-in-the-gut piece, no doubt why it was nominated for and won the Emmy. The three variations of a simple rocking motion at 1:14 are just beautiful.

(5) Staying on that theme of aging is the video that’s been going viral all over Facebook, “Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era.”

As a dancer, music has such a profound role in my life, and it is so comforting to know that the brain has the ability to store the passionate, joy-filled memories associated with a particular tune. This man, described as “inert and unresponsive,” comes ALIVE when exposed to music from his younger years. His reactions at 4:00 and 5:15 are a bit Awakenings…but so hopeful and smile-inducing. And I love that there’s a whole movement behind this kind of therapy: http://www.musicandmemory.org!

Now this has me wondering…what music from “my era” would make me come alive 50+ years from now? Hmm…

Comment with an online video/website/photo that’s been stirring your soul lately!

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!

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