Notes on Practice: Exuberance & Gratitude

March 30, 2014 - Meghan LeBorious


Writing is so much like dance, in that I never know what will happen when I jump in. If I am lucky, I dive into a current and get sucked blissfully along. I arrived ten minutes late to Tammy’s class on Friday night, which often makes it harder to get a groove with the energy of the room. In this case, Tammy’s husband, Jason, was leading the music for the first time, DJing on Tammy’s computer, and it swept me away. Instead of finding a spot to stretch and rocking myself into Flowing as I often begin, it was like I stepped on an electrified surface as soon as I stepped into the room.

For the last several weeks, I have been writing about working my way back from an injury with restrained acceptance. Nonetheless, all along I tried to conceal my pining wish for the gift of exuberance. On Friday, nothing hurt! Not the tangle of recent muscles pulls, not my lower back, not the knot in my neck that plagues me, not the ligaments of my feet, not my left Achilles, not my knees. I got to step into the gigantic dance that feels like home.

During the short interlude between the first and the last wave, Tammy said something like, “I’m not sure how people do it in other places, but in New York, it tends to be full-on! We go deep and all out. We keep looking for the edge and even going over it.” I expected her to say something like, “but it’s not always like that. It can be quieter, it can be subtle,” but she didn’t. Instead she said, “And that’s just how it is.” Music to my wild ears! She also said that it is about showing up authentically in the dance, whatever that means in the moment. When you give me the space to be the full expression of myself as Tammy did in this instance, then I never have to insist on it. It comes and it goes, like weather, like emotions, like love.

At one point, early on, I overdid it, bending forward tautly and backing up vigorously like a giant male peacock. Then, I accidentally stepped on the foot of a friend. I apologized and knitted my eyebrows, and returned to the humility of Flowing and of feet. Shortly after, I found myself back up on an exuberant tide, with a little more dissolved awareness and a little less freneticism.

There were other beautiful images that I offer now as vignettes: Tammy’s discussion of the sometimes fragile, sometimes very strong threads of light that connect us. Tammy’s loving acknowledgement of her husband, Jason, in his musical debut. Experimenting with Flowing as feet arcing in half-circles, and of course, as always, looking for the empty space—the doors to movement that open for us in every moment, inviting us to explode or to whisper, as our feet and our hearts demand.

Thank you, dear body. Thank you, Tammy. Thank you, Gabrielle. Thank you, Jason. Thank you, dancers with years of practice. Thank you, new dancers. Thank you, spirits and bunnies and moon-swept tides and ancient songs and Madonna ballads. Thank you, thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my feet!




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