I last performed live, with real people in real time, September of 2019. Yeah, that was a while back. Now, I rarely see anyone (well, except for grocery shopping, and my son, who lives with me right now). So I dance at home by myself.
Or, I should say, with myself.
I first started doing this several years ago, when I started making little videos on my laptop with a webcam. Previously, I had struggled with video, as I recorded it on little cameras and I couldn’t see what I was doing. I’d have to set up my dance area in the camera’s viewfinder before I danced, and if I bumped the darn thing without noticing, all I had done was unusable.
But with the laptop and the webcam, everything changed.
Suddenly I had a monitor.
I could see myself!
Fortunately, I had come far enough in my trauma resolution journey that I had come to actually like myself, and to like my dancing. (In the past, I had generally been mortified by my dance on video. Like, awash in shame. I didn’t like myself in the mirror in class any better, and generally stood where I couldn’t see myself…
Anyway, finally I could enjoy my own dancing. And what I found was that as I looked through the camera to all the people on the other side with great joy and love—that I was also smiling happily at the dancer on the monitor (myself ), and dancing with her. Together, we were having a good time.
Needless to say, the videos became better ; ).
I don’t make videos every time I dance. But I do have a lot of mirrors scattered around the house (I am a dancer ; ). At first I began to give myself an encouraging smile every time I passed by. Soon I started dancing with myself in the mirror.
Now I do it all the time.
One of the things I focus on in my practice is my focus—being invested in a specific direction, projecting my energy and joy. The mirrors give me someplace to focus—and I get to grin at and flirt with myself while I do it.
It is a scientific fact that smiling makes one happier. Even holding a pencil in the teeth, which stretches the mouth into an approximation of a grin, makes one happier. Seriously, people have studied this. Twinkling, as you may have noticed when you tried it, also makes one happier. I don’t think that’s been formally studied, but hey. It still works ; ).
Whatever brings a spark of happiness is worth cultivating.
This week, let’s notice the little things that bring us joy. The sun or a sweet breeze on our skin. A bird’s nest in a tree. (The melting snow up here in Vermont). A wonderful color combination or a lovely sound. The small things. Whatever it is, take notice. Collect these. Let more and more things bring a smile to you. Remember them. Take pleasure in them. Like Frederick the mouse, use these precious joys to help you through.
The more we take the time to feel good, to enjoy ourselves, pleasant sensations, beautiful things, the more we build our resiliency and strength.
Life can be pretty challenging. It’s soooo easy to get sucked into the vortex of pain and dread. We may even feel guilty for enjoying ourselves, for having any fun at all. So let’s take action on the positive side to keep ourselves together.
I invite you to bring expressive joy into your dance this week.
Dance like someone is watching, a lot of them, and they are all wonderful friends—us, for example, your dance friends. Flirt and laugh with us, be naughty, have fun, show your joy.
I invite you to notice and bask in the good, however it comes to you. Buy a pretty postcard and tack it up in your dance space. Or a piece of cloth, or whatever gives you a rush of beauty.
I invite you to practice loving yourself, seeing yourself as beautiful, having compassion and warmth for yourself. Give yourself some smiles in the mirror. Give yourself some hugs and love at the end of your dance session.
You are beautiful and you are loved.
Next week we’ll have our spring schedule! This week….
I am dancing online!
As part of the Raq-On Gala and Auction. It’s a pretty cool event to help the studio survive covid. Amity has been working double hours and selling all her costumes through 2020 to keep the lights on and the rent paid.
It is also a celebration of 10 years for the studio.
I met Amity about 20 years ago when she appeared in my dance class, a shy local teenager. Belly dance captivated her! She embraced the dance and the creation of community. Everywhere she went, she created vibrant spaces for dance, despite utterly surreal levels of wtf (crazy landlords, the death of her long-time love, spaces disappearing, covid, the works).
She has sponsored endless workshops with revered teachers, traveled to Egypt many times, performed often with live musicians of the culture, and generally devoted herself to this dance.
I’m so impressed by her accomplishments in myriad enterprises–all of which have subsidized dance now that dance could not subsidize itself.
I feel so fortunate in meeting as we did and all the dance life we have shared–and seeing Amity grow and blossom as an artist, and a human being, with so much generosity of soul. It is an honor for me to be part of what this beloved dance daughter has created.
I am the opening act–will you please join me? I look forward to dancing for you, and for Amity!
The Auction runs Feb 13-20. It is free to shop and drool over at all the cools stuff, from hipscarves to costumes to dancer art prints, custom Egyptian cartouche pendants. Link will be posted here on Feb 13
The Show is Feb 20, 7pm est. Tickets are sliding scale, starting at $5. Tix available here.
THANK YOU for helping to support our dance.
Holding you close in my heart,