The other day while walking in the early evening, I passed a neighbor’s house and saw two toddlers on the porch dancing with their mother. I paused to witness their sheer joy and complete lack of inhibition.
Although children learn much by imitation, rhythmic movement is one thing that is innate. Babies will begin swaying and rocking their bodies long before they parrot moves or attempt to attract attention. Dance is self soothing; it is primitive; and its rhythm correlates with the very beating of our hearts. Indeed at the end of life, even when bodies appear to be waiting at heaven’s gate, where there is music, you will notice a foot tapping in a wheel chair, or a flutter of one’s finger. Even when the body is close to expiring, the soul still celebrates through movement.
I’m a firm believer that if dance were required in schools, on par with english, mathematics, history and science, kids would have improved concentration, discipline and decreased aggression. Dance both releases and sublimates feelings. It cuts through language barriers and receives all peoples. It shakes off crap and invites others in. It allows us to momentarily forget the past and worries of the future by urging us to be here now. Dance is joy in a bottle. If prescribed on a daily basis, we would live in very different world.
Dance is also a form of praise; a form of worship. We incarnated in a body that is our vehicle of expression. We were made to move and to leap and to shake our hips.
I forget how much I need to dance until I have periods where my bones ache from too much sitting and I’m locked up in my head from too much thinking. I know I need to dance when my mood turns sour, my nerves are on edge and I feel a thousand years old. When I put on a pair of stretch pants, jump into the car and get myself into a zumba or hip hop or Bollywood class, the years suddenly peel off me. The forty-three year old woman glances in the mirror and reflected back at me, smiling as she shakes, rattles and rolls, I see my inner toddler dancing, waving to me from the porch.
And “The earth braces itself for the feet of a lover of God about to Dance.” Hafiz