I’ve been doing some arts work in Headstarts, schools, and now daycares for my local arts org (yay, Catamount!). The model for this upcoming mini-residency is that I will come do my thing (I have a slate of pre-school activities), while the daycare teachers observe. The following visit, we will do the thing together, and the next one, the daycare teachers will do the the thing themselves while I observe.
This is a great model, except that I’ve been doing my thing for decades, and the teachers can’t do what I do after watching once (usually while herding cats—er, kids, the whole time). So I use my stuff as a template for theirs. They can’t do belly dance, but they can have movement that uses upbeat, rhythmic, then smooth and flowing music. I have a regular cool down they can do, and they can tell a story of their own.
That’s how templates work.
There is a palette or sequence of categories into which you can slot different yet similar options. Like the classic wedding template: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Anything in each category will do.
However, in my template, there is ONE thing I want to keep the same: My cool down. So I give that specific element to the teachers. Why this cool down? All the anti-trauma, nervous system regulation I’m building into it.
I’ve noticed over the course of this work that even pre-school kids are pretty freaked out these days. Freaked out kids often grow up into freaked out teens, adults and so forth. Nervous systems do ideally regulate themselves, but our modern lives of constant, chronic stress can screw up that feature. So it’s no wonder even 4-year-old kids are barely able to keep it together and others have simply given up.
I can’t fix their lives. But I can give them some respite. And, ideally, I can teach the daycare teachers how to build that respite into their daily routine, so kids can get that little daily taste of settling. Over time, maybe they will internalize this series of actions to use on their own. Each drop in the pool ripples outward.
Reducing stress, resolving trauma, these things bring the potential for joy back into our lives. Joy is one of the (many!) reasons I love belly dance.
Belly dance is anti-trauma
Everything about the cultural dance soothes and nurtures the nervous system. Every time we dance, it’s like a lovely shower for the soul. Sure, we have managed to shove a bunch of anxiety, rigidity, and perfectionism onto it, but…!
At its heart is joy.
All my work is to bring joy back into our hearts. It has become my central mission.
All of the fear, rage, and self-loathing we have accumulated gets in the way of our joy. Focusing on nit-picky details doesn’t help. Yelling at ourselves, blaming ourselves, rigidly controlling our bodies, doesn’t help.
Letting ourselves relax, move in self-loving ways, letting our bodies express what they have been holding on to in a gentle, titrated way, these things help us return to joy.
Hence the upcoming classes.
Coming in July:
Create Your Glorious Self!
Here’s a sneak peek at the page. More in the next few weeks ; )
Aka CYGS. I love the acronym, as baby swans are called cygnets. We may have felt like the ugly duckling for a while, but..!
In our hearts are glorious, confident creatures, bursting to unveil themselves, to stride out into the light of day, to come alive!
Doesn’t that feel grand? I’m so excited!
The course is built upon cutting-edge behavioral design strategies, along with intensive nervous system regulation, monthly check in meetings and practice sessions, PLUS daily accountability and progress reports–which we have made sooo quick and easy, they are–dare I say it? Kinda fun! The daily effort for this course is less than 20 minutes, maybe even less than 10.
AND while we await CYGS, here is…
Archetypes and Attitudes for Oriental Dance
BOLD dips its toes in the CYGS material, continuing our Fun Class focus on templates–in this case, templates of attitude and personality (along with movement options).
Want to be BOLD?
Act as if you are bold.
Wait, what does that even mean?!
Well, what does BOLD look like? How does someone who is bold act? How do they hold themselves, walk, talk? What expression is on their face?
If you were bold, how would you look? How would you hold yourself? What expression would you have on your face? Start there. Look in the mirror. Look at yourself–boldly! Look right into your own eyes, with a bold smile on your face and a glint in your eye. Let the feeling arise from the action. Take a minute or so to just feel that in your body, on your face. What changes?
Behavior creates emotion.
How would you walk? Shuffle along? Or would you STRIDE? Stride around boldly, hands on hips in the classic Wonder Woman Power Pose. Toss your head, boldly! Laugh boldly! Speak boldly! DANCE boldly!
Here’s some music for a bold dance! (or any way of being you would like to explore)
Bold not your jam? What is? Try that one on and see how you feel. We’ll explore LOTS of options in the class.
Here’s more about the BOLD Fun Class: https://aliathabit.com/shop/#live
And remember to CELEBRATE your test drives! Heck, celebrate everything ; )
No comment yet, add your voice below!