Good Monday my friends…
I wanted to share an article I wrote for a new bellydance magazine, From the Hip! I am honored to have been asked to write for it, and this was it’s first edition! I wanted to write about starting my crone journeys as a dancer, still, and onward…
And this photo is me one year ago…still going strong, and loving the dance…
(I recommend that you subscribe to it, it is small but growing and has good dance articles and bits in it! Must support our communities…www.newsfromthehip.com)
Dance is the story of life, the expression of life lived, whether that be joy, celebration, maturity, sadness, youth, movement, stillness. And since I’ve danced since I was seven, I’ve always had the awareness of dance in my life, and of my life in the dance.
But when did it happen? When did I cross the line, if there is a line, subtle or otherwise, that line of being an older dancer? I am now dancing as an older woman. And hot damn, I feel great! Some days I do feel older than yesterday, and some, not. My body doesn’t lie. Aches, menopause, gray hair (even under the bleached platinum!). I know a lot more than before, but never enough–so much of life to live and learn about. And dance.
Dancing keeps me alive, in my body, with awareness and appreciation. My body is my temple, and I enjoy working hard to maintain it as it is my tool for creation, and for living. Health, fitness, well-being through my body and spirit keeps me moving and grooving! And yes, sometimes my body is high maintenance because I dance hard and I live hard. So it is with a big circle of love to live and dance, alone and with others.
I was talking about this dancing as an older woman with Karen Hunt, a dancer in Gypsy Caravan Dance Company. She says, “Doing the dance is keeping me from aging, on so many levels. And while the moves are not effortless, the intention is.” Love that.
A well-known dancer once said to me, probably when I was about 40 years old, that she left the stage the minute she turned 50. Too old to perform. That comment really struck me. To each his own experiences and comfort zones, for sure. But why? I could not understand why she felt like it was a bad thing for an older dancer to be seen on stage. Now that I have just turned 55, I have thought about this more and more. And I know that I am not ready to call it quits. I have to much dance still in me! But I do think about what I want to see on stage.
What is my dance to me? I don’t follow the trends, I don’t do tricks, I don’t need to show lots of flesh. I don’t need to strut my stuff to feel sexy, to prove a point, to shock anyone, to look beautiful. I listen to my soul, my heart, and my body when I dance. When I dance with others, whether it be on or off stage, I love to see the age of wisdom dance, the motherhood, the crone, the child in all. That is the beauty of our dance.
I watch the younger dancers coming up in the dance world. I see a lot of showiness, that shock stuff that I don’t care for. I don’t want to see someone flaunting their body. What is inspiring is to watch the dancing youth, the power and the empowerment, the soaring spirit, the true authentic self that dances with respect, newness mixed with the tradition. Heart and soul inspired bodies. That is refreshing and exciting. And then to watch an older dancer move with wise integrity. Powerful stuff. Karen commented, “The confidence in an older dancer is so much deeper than a younger dancer.”
One of the most important ideas for a new dancer, no matter what age, to remind herself of, is to dance with patience, and to allow the dance to blossom inside her. There is no need to hurry. Dance is about being present, being in the moment, in your body, about dancing with your mates. And to remember that dance does not have to be performed, that is so important. To dance purely with joy, to have the ability to let your soul dance through you, to have the body learn the dance and feel beautiful in it, that is where the true spirit of dance can shine and be so vibrant. Whether you are 18 or 63. Then maybe you become a performer and an entertainer. Or not.
I know that I can continue to dance with joy and sustenance, with love and affection, on or off stage, I can dance with wisdom to share, with a life well lived, with a strong cared for body, with an ego-less pride, and with my eyes wide open to enjoy the dance of all ages, the lovely thing called life.
So my friends, enjoy, and let me know if this sparks anything for you…thanks for being here…