Music is Medicine
I’m always blown away by the power of new music to change the way I dance. I’ll never forget back in 2006 dancing with my first real “dance partner”, Christina Drake, at Folklife Festival. We found Taarka, a really great experimental folk band. They were playing this song in 5/4. We had to stop and think about it after a second and count it. “We can do lindy hop in 5, right? Totally”. So we did and somehow it worked.
As I relate dance to life, inevitably, new music I listen and dance to changes my life. As Antje and I danced to this Entheo song at the end of our class last Monday, even though I’ve heard it tons of times, it hit me that the middle section is in 3. I started waltzing immediately. It brought be back to my childhood, running around the Nature Friends on Mount Tam as a child hearing Bavarian Waltzes and watching my parents dance. It changed my whole reality for a few moments. From electronic and transcendent to folk and grounded.
All of life is connected through us and our experiences. I find it hard these days to really feel separate from anything, and yet I’ll be damned if my mind doesn’t try for me. The concept of polarity being divisive recently came up in conversation, and polarity is one of the key aspects I work with in my life and in my dance. I recognize it as an inherent element of our nature that we rely on to gauge attraction. It doesn’t solely have to do with gender, it’s about chemistry, and energy. Ultimately, I have polarity within myself and often it’s maintaining a balance within my own polarity towards the purpose of feeling whole with which I struggle.
When I dance to a song I’ve never heard, I am always called into greater presence; deeper awareness and demanded of to be clearer with my partner to fully express the music and the moment. Often I’m left completely altered by the experience. Would it be the same feeling if I were dancing solo? Perhaps. I think it’s usually a perfect storm of self, partner, music, environment and community that allows those 1 in 100 dances to unfold. But for me, if the music isn’t bringing something that activates that freshness and presence in my being, I’m not going to *pop* through to that euphoric and changed place from which there is no return to the old me. Music is medicine. When I let it all the way in, the way I benefit is immeasurable.