What are we supposed to feel?

For the last two months, I have been deep into the How to Create Dance Art course, createdanceart.com. One of the assignments is to note any feelings or images that arise as you listen to your songs.

Any feelings–strong or fleeting, odd or mysterious, any and all wisps–record them in the spreadsheet where they occur. One line can have a markedly different feeling/image from the next; allowing the body to experience and interpret these treasures brings the dance to life.

All answers/feeling/images are correct. If you get nothing, that’s perfectly fine. This will be great for some of us and meh for others.”

To my surprise, I got SO many comments about about not being able to parse the feelings in songs. “Oh, I am not good at that,” people said. Then I noticed other folks saying the same things.

Like there were some hidden meanings they were supposed to be able to uncover. Like someone said somewhere that this passage is sad and that one is happy, and you are supposed to be able to figure out which is which according to some mysterious invisible rulebook.

Forget that. It does not exist. 

You don’t know what the composer intended–you only know what YOU FEEL. Your responses to the music may be…

  • Emotional–just straight up emotions like happy, sad, yearning etc
  • Physical–movement, but also other physical sensations, cold, warm, buzzing, heaviness, and in any part of your body
  • Images–people, locations, colors, land or skyscapes, anything
  • Meaning pieces–attitudes, postures, events, locations, characters, stories, or whatever
  • Or ANYTHING ELSE that comes to you as you listen to, draw, contemplate, or dance your songs

It’s YOU. Whatever YOU FEEL. That’s what’s important. Listen to YOUR body, your feelings. Discover your responses to the music. Open yourself to the music (and if you don’t feel anything, listen to better music ;).

It’s all about you <3

People feel different things. If I am making a dance that others will dance, I will tell them what I intended, which would be what I felt from the piece. But the fact is, we feel different things. This is why this dance is predicated upon the dancer’s own agency and interpretation.

Maybe some instructor told you what they felt from the music. But you might respond differently. And that is OKAY.

If you want to know what the words mean, fine. Maybe they are in counterpoint to the melody. If the words are sad and the tune feels happy, then you have an interesting dynamic to dance. And vice versa. It’s all good.

Dance what you feel. What YOU feel. That’s the bottom line. “The dancer shows her guests what she feels from the music.”

That’s what this dance is.

Speaking of dancing with feeling, I’m dreaming of a holistic “belly dance to heal trauma” retreat, someplace lovely. Would you be interested? Where would be a good place to do this?

Also, the #basicbellydancerchallenge was great fun! You can see my efforts on my Facebook or Instagram profiles, and you can search either platform with the hashtag to see everyone else’s.

With all my love,
Alia

PS Entrepreneurs! I’m very much enjoying Eric Maisel’s new course Mastering the One-Person Business. It’s practical and pragmatic, yet empowering–and it breaks everything down into doable parts. Recommended!

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