Remember school lunch? I went to a large, urban grade school. They made a LOT of lunches. And frankly, they were terrible. At one point, I walked home every single day to eat lunch rather than face those drab plates of mushy overcooked dross. School lunch is one place where quantity rarely becomes quality.
Other things, however, are different.
Writing, for one. One of the greatest assignments I was ever given was in a college writing class. We were to freewrite for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Freewriting is all about quantity. You just let words pour out for the allotted time. No worries about spelling, coherence, or even having something to say! Surprisingly, I learned so much, and my writing got so much better, that I have given that same assignment to dozens of writing classes.
National Novel Writing Month is freewriting on crack. Participants commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That’s an average of 1600+ words per day. The emphasis is on quantity. If you get to 50,000 words–even if you wrote them all in one caffeine filled 24-hour blaze (and people do)–you win! Quality is for editing, later. I’ve won nano (as it is affectionately known), twice–and both times, my writing improved by leaps and bounds. Other folks report the same, seemingly contrary results.
The process is similar to comedy improvisation (which also gets better through quantity of practice)–you say YES to whatever comes into your head and let it out onto the paper. All kinds of surprising things result, which would never come up if you actually thought about them. Yet there they are.
Alia’s 90 Day Dance Party is also a quantity exercise.
We don’t care how well you dance. We care that you let your body lead for 20 minutes a day, no matter what comes out.
Most of our troubles with improvisation (and they are legion), come from lack of confidence. We worry that what we do will not be good enough, interesting enough, varied, pretty, etc, etc, etc. This worry keeps us from being in the moment, from enjoying our dance, from feeling the pleasure of our bodies moving. It’s miserable, and lots of us just avoid improvisation for this reason.
The 90 Days lets aaallll that go away. We move for 20 minutes. It might be good, bad, even ugly–but none of that matters. What matters is that we show up each day and do our time.
And, guess what?
Somewhere in all that quantity, all those 20 minutes, something magic starts to happen.
We stop worrying about what move to do next–moves show up. Moves we learned decades ago and forgot all about show up.
Our movement becomes strong, rich, full of decisive energy–because we no longer have to decide. The body supplies the next move, We just follow the body’s impulse. Like freewriting, we let the moves pour out into the song. Like comedy improv, we say YES to whatever comes up; we go with it.
And our dancing–gets better. Freer. More honest. More engaged. Our own style begins to coalesce. We have more fun. We have time to enjoy our dance, to enjoy our bodies, to enjoy ourselves!
It’s like the Biblical miracle of the loaves and fishes.
Or the water into wine. Or manna from heaven, just lying around on the rocks. We can be pretty sure these were not haute cuisine. But they were FOOD, and lots of it–and according to the stories, people lived, and their faith grew stronger, because of it.
The 90 Day Dance Party is creative food. It fills the well. It provides the nourishment of time and space, free from negative thoughts, judgements, and fear. Taking a daily vacation from stress and fear gives our nervous system space to reset. We learn to trust our bodies to protect and support us. We can once again enjoy ourselves. Our confidence builds. Our faith grows stronger. Our skills deepen.
Bring improvisation into your body.
Enjoy what you feel.
Build confidence, skill, and expression.