The Mind Body Connection: Description of a Dance Rehearsal

I have been sitting at my desk, neck straining toward the tasks piling up on my flat little computer screen. My right shoulder is tight from unconsciously gripping the mouse, and from the worries of the day. It’s 5:54pm and I need to leave work in exactly six minutes to get to rehearsal on time. I scurry to gather my things as I make a mental list of chores I can’t forget for both tonight and tomorrow. Juggle, juggle, juggle – even all the way to the studio, through the evening traffic.

I walk briskly into the dance space; then a quick change from pencil skirt and heels to stretchy pants and tee. All the accessories and pretty extras come off; they are unnecessary. I am stripped down to what is essential: me.

I join the other dancers in the space, and lay myself flat onto the hard and beautiful wooden studio floor and close my eyes. This is a moment of true beauty. In this moment I am able to re-focus my attention and intention on myself: on my body, the connection between what my body is – and what it contains. I’m not sure of what this dance rehearsal will hold, but I know that for the next hour and a half it will be mine. Then we begin to move.

The range of experiences in dancing is broad and exciting; it never gets old. At times I quietly focus on my breath and accessing the full and easy range of motion in my joints. Other times I relish the feeling of my heart pounding heavily as I push my body across the floor in a jumping sequence. I especially love choreography that allows me to luxuriate in experiencing each motion internally, allowing for suspension of time. I equally appreciate that simple feeling of strength that I get from simply holding myself up, strong and steady.

Dancing reaches me in a distinctive way compared with other forms of physical exercise. It draws from me intellectually, emotionally and creatively. It is more than pushing through difficulty or discomfort. It is always very personal, and although sometimes aggressive, rarely competitive. There is a sense of kinship that comes from making yourself vulnerable in front of a small group of other dancers. I find it trains me to have a critical, yet accepting eye.

Dance ministers to my artistic needs in a way that can be frustrating (like any art) and yet so rewarding. One can use the possibilities of movement of the body to create something new, whether in a careful, analytical articulation or in reactive and emotional expression.

Every rehearsal has the potential to be a bit different. But always, there is a sense of caring for myself, deeply and honestly. It is work – but how rare and beautiful to work on oneself, to carefully attend to the needs of your own mind, body and spirit.

There is liberation through the sweat and exertion.

At the end of any dance class, no matter how I may have “failed” to execute the movement perfectly, there is a resonant, even if sometimes subtle, sense of accomplishment and relief.

My Mental Health Day Thanks:
Monica Warren, Alight Dance Theater

One Response to “The Mind Body Connection: Description of a Dance Rehearsal”

  1. great blog so beautiful

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