The Dancing Introvert

The other day I mentioned I am a dancing introvert and my friend replied, “That is an oxymoron if there ever was one.”  The idea of putting the action of dance side by side with what is often mischaracterized as the solitary/quiet/still introvert just didn’t seem to work.

“Another thing that I’ve learned is that although I need time alone, not all interactions affect my energy in the same way. While many social interactions leave me feeling depleted, there are some that have the opposite effect.”

Taken from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/accepting-yourself-as-as-introvert-and-loving-your-inner-tortoise/

This is dance for me. The more I dance the more energized I feel. Many of my other energy recharging activities are what most would consider typical of an introvert, such as contemplative walking outdoors, but this is the exception.  I often define myself as a Goan Catholic dancer.  Dance is fundamental to my being, and without dance there is no me.

Beware of the superficiality and flawed nature of “the label” when attached to the unique human being.

And speaking of labels it is interesting to look back at the results of what I have posted so far on this blog. I have 60 posts tagged “dance”, followed by 50 tagged “inquiring mind”, and then 25 recipe posts.  Do not read too much into that. The only correct conclusion to draw is that dance and thinking/reflecting are two things important to me.

Advertisements

Life is a Dance – Dance is Life

Why try and re-create the wheel? Here’s a quote collage expressing the idea that dancing is living and living dancing. Enjoy!

“To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak” – 1

BECAUSE

“While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. That is why I dance.”-2

AND AS LIFE HAPPENS REMEMBER

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”-3

 

1–Derrick “Suwaima” Davis, Hopi/Chocktaw Indian
2–Hans Bos
3–Alan Watts

 

What is your best dancing compliment?

The greatest compliment that I am given as a dancer is that I play as I dance and give room for my partner to play.

Partner Dance is not about steps, it’s not about moves. It isn’t a competition, a pecking order, or a race. You are connected to someone and hopefully with enough time face to face, rather than 101 moves and your partner in a daze. 

“Sentiment without action…

Quote

…is the ruin of the soul.”

Edward Abbey (1927 – 1989. Radical American author and essayist known for his environmental advocacy and criticism of public land policies.)

“Practice, and if necessary preach”

St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226,  Beloved patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment.)

That this idea is repeated through the ages indicates it has truth in it, and we see this in action through Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948).  Did you know that Gandhi read the bible and was influenced by the Christian faith.  I too am guided by this faith and see sentiment in action through the lives of Catholic saints.  Mother Theresa is my favorite for many reasons, and became even more so recently when I read what she said about religion.

“Religion is not something that you or I can touch.  Religion is the worship of God – therefore a matter of conscience.  I alone must decide for myself and you for yourself, what we choose.  For me, the religion I live and use to worship God is the Catholic religion.  For me, this is my very life, my joy, and the greatest gift of God in his love for me.  He could have given me no greater gift.”

Mother Theresa (1910 – 1997)

An amazing Catholic evangelist, yet not one that immediately comes to mind.  She wasn’t like those fiery preachers we see on TV, but a person who completely embodied the values of her faith.

A takeaway lesson in evangelism, whether it be religion, or something else like dance that I share through djing, teaching, social dance and more.

The Soul’s Appetites

Feeling a bit under the weather tonight (a cold), but thought I would take a break from chores and enjoy some Jazz @ Oasis Dance Club under the lights.

– Hey!
Even a stuffed head doesn’t diminish the soul’s appetites. ;- )

Supported the club walls with my weight, but that wasn’t destined to be my fate. My friends old and new didn’t mind when I warned I had a sniffle or two, and thus enjoyed dances with Laura, Carolyn, and Jamie too.

Having a great night!

The Inn Complete Dance?

Unlike it’s name the Inn Complete monthly dance really makes things complete.  Could it be the dance floor? Sure, it is nice to dance on, which isn’t typical, but there are many surfaces my feet like moving on.  Could it be the music selection?  Well, the emphasis on swing which is not my forte, makes a lie of that.  Unless, I am a closet swing lover…  The people, the folks, the dancers, the food, the atmosphere?  There really is nothing that stands out, and the combination of factors mentioned has been quite different each time I have gone. Some times a place just has that indescribable “je ne sais quoi”, that one should accept for what it is.  And so, I add the Inn Complete to my regular dance schedule, on my google calendar listed from the 2nd Sat of Dec straight through to May.

Ever had an experience where you keep on coming back and when asked you can only say, “je ne sais quois”?

Life is Foli – Dance, Work, Rhythm, Play – Life is Foli

The Malinke say, “Life is Foli.  Everything, all work, all sound, it is the rhythm.  Every step we take is rhythm.  Every word we speak is rhythm.  So we’re all in this rhythm now.  Everything is rhythm.  There is no movement without rhythm.”

Partnered dance, that is carrying out pre-defined movements to specific rhythmic patterns, can seem completely foreign and overwhelming.  This is when I hear people say, “I don’t have rhythm so I cannot dance.”  Yet, this cannot be true, for as the Malinke say, “all is Foli, all is rhythm.”  So, let us address the underlying fear and resistance to dance – the uncertainty at the root to learning this something new.

We prefer certainty, such as knowing how we will feed, cloth and shelter ourselves and the ones we love.  And we have evolved to recognize uncertainty as a dangerous thing. Many years ago if as hunters we could not identify a new animal as prey we went hungry. If we did not recognize new predators we soon would have been no more.  Here the desire  of survival may have driven change, but we do not have that need with dance.  So, given that change=uncertainty we have a typical catch-22!

Maybe not!  Evolution has also given us the solution to this life conundrum of change vs certainty through play.  Beau Lotto in his TED talk describes “play” as the only human endeavor where uncertainty is celebrated, where it makes play fun.  After all, what’s the point of playing a game if you know the winner before it has begun?  Play is also adaptable to change, open to possibility, cooperative as we do it with others, and intrinsically motivating.  All characteristics of dance.

Playing with the music, movement, and partners I have gone from not knowing anything – even how to find the beat – to learning and teaching dance.  I have repeated this process time and time again as I learn new dances.  So learning dance via play works for me.  It might be worth a try for you too   Here are two ways of playing without the need for someone else, and without a big commitment of time on your part.

(1)  The first step in learning dance is recognizing and connecting to that fundamental that runs through life, rhythm.  (Remember life is FOLI.) Play the music as you go about your daily routine.   Let your feet and body move as it sees fit doing the tasks that you need to do.  Do not put any pressure on yourself to step any particular way.  In this way we play with the music.  And play is fun, right?

I cannot emphasize the importance of this.  When learning something new practice and time is important.  We often find that we are very busy and never can practice enough, but this requires no effort, other then turning on some music.  We all can do that.  A little effort may be needed to find music specific to the dance we want to learn, but that is pretty easy as there are 1000s of songs out there to choose from.  Just use online search tools like google and online forums like danceforums.com to help find the songs that are meant for you.

I do want to provide one caveat here.  If your music playing involves you mostly stationary, that is in the car, sitting in front of a pc, while reading a book….this is not going to work.  While this helps a little, you get the most benefit from playing music while you are doing things, being active.

(2) Another dance as play learning tool?  Step to the basic timing of the dance, but don’t worry about paying attention to where the stepping should be.  That is whether you step forward, or back, or right, or left, or in place….just step out the pattern.  For example, salsa is quick, quick, slow. Take two quick steps, then a slow step, and repeat.  Do this whenever you can to the music and without.  Play around with your feet and how you move to it.

There is a lot more to dance then steps 1 and 2.  There are many ways to play and learn different aspects of partnered dance, but for me these are two fundamentals that I can easily do and still do no matter how good I am in a particular dance.  And after all when it all is overwhelming and new, it helps to have a few things to make a start.

Heading off now to play, to dance.  See you on the dance floor.