By Johanna Leseho, Sandra McMaster
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Additional resources for Dancing on the Earth: Women’s Stories of Healing and Dance
I’ll be back in an hour. Have fun! ” I tried to make sense of the chaos. Eighteen half-pints between the ages of seven and ten bouncing off each other and the walls like atoms in a steel box. They were tossing multi-colored balls, doing cartwheels, running up the wall and jumping off, singing, whirling, screaming, laughing. Being half hermit and preferring the company of quiet cats, this was clearly sensory overload. I wondered if I could be thrown in jail for abandoning a dance class. As the shock wore off and I regained my senses, I moved into the center of the room.
Little did I realize that this introduction to modern dance would be the foundation leading me to profound spiritual growth, prayer expression, and a community ritual dance practice. The movement and body placement required in other dance forms such as ballet, folk, and social dance, are precisely codified. There are exact body positions and transitional movements dictated by each form. This codification can facilitate bodily discipline, grace, beauty, and flow and encompasses classifications ranging from recreational activity to fine art.
Sometimes you must let the other person go even before you are ready, or to leave when you are ready. It requires being able to take the risk of offering something that may be rejected. It lets you know how it feels to be left out or included. It takes being respectful of the other without taking responsibility for him or her. It obliges one to set boundaries both physical and emotional. 11 16:59 D a n c i n g o n Th e E a r t h of who you are, even as the dance becomes bigger than the two dancers and merges into oneness.