When my body was suddenly covered in goosebumps, I knew I was on the right topic with my tea date. After nearly 2 hours of talking about life, career, parenting, politics, we came back around to performing, something that I know deeply, both as a performer on stage and as a person “performing” in life for love and career and social acceptance.
The world is our stage, and we can either sell our soul trying to appease this audience or that audience. Or, we can be authentic, and find that instead of feeling depleted, we are left overflowing with joy.
Have you ever been to a performance where the artist somehow brought you closer to yourself? Where you found yourself more deeply connected to your own body and sensations and emotions, and those of everyone around you? Where the light, the air, the sounds, are almost palpable?
I know that feeling, and I relish that feeling. It’s called being connected, and I witnessed it yesterday in untrained dancers “performing” in a Tantric Dance of the Sacred Feminine at Inlakesh Festival. After getting in tune with our bodies, eyes closed, we all formed a circle and held space for 2 dancers at a time. They kept their eyes closed, and just let the movement come, big or small. Amazingly, the smallest movements were certainly the most powerful. Why? Because they came from the center of their being.
Couple one was a large man with a sarong draped like a cape across one shoulder, and a petite woman, both of them coincidentally Asian. The man was quivering, so large and powerful, yet obviously intensely sensitive and sensual. The lady was very reserved at first, yet it wasn’t long before she was overtaken by something glorious, sensuous, powerful. Afterward, shaking and eyes alight with wonder, she said it was like the heavens poured into her.
Couple two was a younger girl, strong and pretty, who shook her hips and arms like one would “expect” to the music she was given. The other lady was tall, full-bodied with voluptuous hair well past her waist, a classic face with rosy high cheeks, an absolute pleasure to look at. When she danced, it was like watching Kali. She was soft and sensuous, yet in her dance was fire and brimstone, earthen love and watery seduction.
Fast forward to African Dance later that day, where the heavens again poured into and through me, and my movement became pure devotion. I reached a point in my dance where only the intent drove the movement, my body lit up with an electrical charge, and I had seemingly boundless energy that I poured right into the other dancers. At the end of a full and energetic (and SUPER sweaty) class, we took turns performing improvised solos. One of the movements of the class is deeply devotional and exuberant. In a gesture of bringing my hands close to my heart, and collecting all the joy therein, then offering it forth to each and every dancer in the circle, one at a time, I poured my heart and joy out, shared my love, and channeled an immense amount of energy. I looked directly into the eyes of each of them, some alight with wonder, love, awe, and some with uncertainty. They felt it. I gave all I had to them, and in that exchange, I filled up with more love and joy than I can imagine on a daily basis.
(Photo from Oneworlddance.com ….Sarah Mansare is the teacher and the person that really turned me onto this dance, this culture, this amazing affirmation of our potent life force and capacity for joy and giving)
I leave these experiences transformed from the inside out, each time more and more certain of why dance means so much to me, why and how it can be good for others, to connect to themselves and therefore to others.
There is little (or nothing) more vulnerable and empowering than dancing our truth, and in that instant lies the power of the heavens and earth combined.
Everyone can have that.
I hope for everyone to experience that interconnectedness, to realize that authenticity is the true pathway to connection.