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Posts from the ‘Movement’ Category

Walls

Luisa’s note: This post is written by Jennifer Blankfein, one of my steadiest dance attendees. I love it because it champions the freedom and acceptance that are at the core of our classes. She expresses this beautifully while sharing the tale of a visitor who came to class and exemplified it all. Enjoy 🙂

No matter how we may reject the idea of a wall … the wall … we all have one. At times we rely on it to protect ourselves so others don’t see our insecurities or know all our secrets. Sometimes we may want to be able to hide in plain sight as we go about our business, without everyone knowing everything about us. 

The dance studio allows us to take down our wall. It provides a safe haven to express ourselves openly and without judgement.

We are a unique and wonderful group; women and man (ha!) of all ages. Some of us have been dancing for a long time and some are new to the class. Some people know the routines and some struggle and may never know them. Some people jump and turn and some don’t, some wear shoes and some don’t, some take up a lot of space and some stay in their small spot, some take a break, some do their own moves, some sing, some smile, some sweat…everyone is safe here. And each of us is an important contributor to our group … when we are together we become one – and when someone is not there others take notice. Our light shines through and our walls are down.

A few months ago Luisa’s class had a visitor, Cameron, join us to dance. Cameron is a handsome, buff, twenty-something guy who decided to come with his mom, Nancy, to the class she raves about. Being a first time dancer, and the only young man in the class, one would think his wall would be up … intimidated, shy and tentative… Wrong! There were no walls there…no first time jitters for Cameron.

I’m not sure if this was because he is a good looking male…comfortable in his skin…young…or if he just naturally feels secure and inherited bold confidence from his momma, but Cameron’s light sure did shine that day. He put 110% effort into learning the choreography, experiencing the freedom of dance and enjoying the rhythm of the music…there was no holding back. His joyful “experience”, like a halo around him, lit up the room for the rest of us…at least for me. Watching him smile and move next to his beautiful and proud mother was so inspiring and energizing… and together their joy was contagious. I’m so glad Cameron felt comfortable with all of us… easygoing enough to take down his walls of protection and security. I’m sure he felt we are open and accepting of each other and maybe that allowed him to express himself and be truly open to experience the joy.

When each and every one of us walks into that studio our light is equally as important as the next person’s light. And together we couldn’t be more bright. THE JOY IS CONTAGIOUS. I vote for no wall!

written by Jennifer Blankfein, October 2016

Just Go Ahead and Flop

This past Friday, while in New York, I took a dance class.  I have been doing this lately on Fridays, going to the city to take dance and voice classes and absorb artistic inspiration of all kinds.

Looking at the studio schedule, I decided to try a Contemporary Floor class.  I have taken many Floor Barre classes and figured it would be similar; conditioning exercises on the floor, moving across the floor with simple combinations, something like that.  The class was also taught by a former So You Think You Can Dance contestant and, as a huge fan of that show, I thought that’d be fun!

The class began with centering and breathing.  Ahhh, I thought, this is going to be right up my alley.  Then our teacher demonstrated the first “warm-up” which was a lovely choreographed sequence on the floor, using the core to contract and expand and roll around.  It looked pretty!  It was hard.  Instead of moving all watery and fluid like her, I felt like a piece of petrified wood trying to flip itself over. Read more

Strength Variations

Strength manifests in different ways.  We know people whose bodies are solid, those who have tenacious hearts, those with impenetrable conviction, those who are strong-willed.  We all possess these strengths in varying degrees.  Some are more prominent than others but,  as with every other part of life, a balance is desirable.

For me, 2013  was a year that required emotional strength.  The upside of this is that I learned I can handle a lot and do so with a fair amount of grace under pressure. I also learned that this strength is not a bottomless reserve, you need to bolster yourself and take care of yourself in the process. Read more

Feel and Let Feel

In putting together my playlist for Sunday’s dance class I wanted to choose songs that would be appropriate in light of the tragedy in Newtown, a town in our home state, a town near enough that most of us know at least one person who lives or works there.

The class is typically a fun, expressive, soulful dance workout. It is a great group of women and the studio has a wonderful sense of community. I imagined some clients would be looking for solace, some for escape, some wanting to talk about it and dance about it, some wanting to distance themselves from the agony of it. How do you choose songs that will be right for everyone? You don’t. Read more