If you know me at all, you will know that I love to dance. I started taking lessons when I was three, and I started teaching when I was 16. For a large portion of my life, it was my world. On many days, it was literally the only reason I got out of bed. Without dance, I’m sure I would not be here today.
Over the years, dance has changed for me. I now have more reasons to get out of bed, but I still feel most alive when I dance. I will admit that there were points in my life when dance was an idol for me. I remember the moment that changed. I was in Russia, and I was dancing during one of our day camps. The song was Mercy Me’s ‘I Can Only Imagine’. During the song, everyone else in the room disappeared, and for the first time, I was dancing with God. After that, I realized that God had given me this gift, and all I wanted to do was share it – with Him and for Him.
I’ve realized recently that dance needs to change for me again. Not the how, or the where, or what it means to me; but some of the why – some of the motivation behind my dancing.
I love the song ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles. There’s so much in that song that resonates with me – and I realize some of that may not make any sense to anyone else, but that’s okay. There’s a line in the song that has been poking and prodding me recently. ‘Some dance to remember. Some dance to forget.’ I have always loved that line, but it’s hitting me a little differently right now.
Growing up, and even into my adult years, dance was the one place that I could escape. I felt like I belonged there, and the rest of the world would just go away. I connected with myself in a way I never could outside the dance world. And even after dance changed for me, it was still the best way to connect with my true self – especially my emotions – and to connect with God. I could forget about everything else and just be. It was a wonderful feeling. But I’m realizing that ‘forgetting’ was a big motivation for me to dance. I truly danced to forget. Forget the pain. Forget the rejection. Forget the anxiety. At the time, it’s exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t have survived any other way. The problem is, in that process over so many years, I forgot me.
There’s a little girl who is trapped right now because dance was the only freedom she knew. But because she was dancing to forget, she never got to fully experience life. She never knew that she was really okay. She wanted to forget all the bad stuff, but she forgot all the good stuff too. Going through that crap made her stronger and taught her so much, but she doesn’t remember that part because she never got to leave the box she was trapped in. She dances inside the box, but there’s not enough room to dance freely. She’s scared to come out of the box, though, because she doesn’t want to feel all the crap again. She tried so hard to forget, but it’s imperative that she remembers. Only then can she fully experience the ‘good’. When she forgot, I lost parts of myself. I need her to remember.
So, now, I must dance to remember. To remember truth. To remember freedom. To remember me. I know that I will only find them through dance. Only dance will help me remember what I need in order to heal the wounded little girl and help us truly dance.