To the negative reviews and comments: for teaching me that not everyone will always like and approve of me or my words, and that’s ok, and I’m still ok.
To the negative bank account: for giving me the opportunity to realize that I’ll still exist and I still have value regardless of what the numbers say.
To the negative mood: for reminding me that boundaries are important and alone time can be medicine.
“Spell your name in a dance, across the floor.”
They gave us this prompt at the audition for Oakland Ballet and I nearly froze in fear.
Improvise?! Perform something random that I create, that is not following exact choreography?! Nooooooo!!
That was 19-year-old me, and oh man was I stuck in the technical pursuit of perfection, without any sense of creative expression or me and my own voice.
my hamstrings hurt. too stretched out.
Ya know what that means? Too many downward dogs. Troppo yoga. (That means “too much yoga” in Italian.)
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against yoga. I love many forms of it. Years ago it was the physical practice that kept me connected with my body after I quit ballet. Lots of gratitude for it and for those who are called to practice and teach it.
I just have one issue. In general, there’s troppo yoga and poco danza. (That means “too much yoga and too little dance” in Italian.)
ever had these thoughts go through your head? -->
“I don’t feel qualified to lead dance classes.”
“Will anyone show up?”
“How will I afford a space?”
“Do I need to create a name and logo?”
How many times have you thought about that thing you really would love to create, but then let these kinda thoughts hold you back? This is what I call “overcomplicanning” - the combo of overcomplicating and overplanning. It can easily snowball into a giant mental block that stops you from taking physical action on an inspired idea….
7 years ago today, I held my first creativity workshop, which essentially was the start of my business.
Back then, I’d started out as a women’s holistic health coach (shout out to my first mentor Alisa and floliving.com), and while I loved the work, I was also recognizing how something else in me was ready to be born.
Although I was terrified, I put a note out to all my contacts, letting them know that I was experimenting with something new…
a parable on the evolution of a creative idea:
The idea strikes. Gold! You’re inspired, excited, all feels possible.
Maybe you even tell a friend about it or announce it on Instagram.
And then you begin. You start creating.
You feel great for a bit, but then you hit a wall. It gets hard…
“This was a dumb idea. What was I thinking?”
I started to make dance videos in 2009 on my iPod mini. As someone who was dabbling with the idea of getting back into dance, the video platform was a fun outlet to play with.
To make dance videos alone in my room, it gave me the creative freedom I never had in my past traditional dance environments. Since I wasn’t up for the mental anguish that a dance classroom setting might cause (i.e. the risk of putting myself in a competitive environment where all the “real dancers” would judge me and I wouldn’t be able to keep up), I liked the idea of dancing on my own, but also having the option of an audience through whoever might see the dance video.
do I know if there can be a ballet world that doesn’t hurt women?
I consider the question as someone who spent her adolescence in the trenches of classical ballet training at the Joffrey in New York City, who quit at 19 years old before having direct professional experience, and who now teaches a bunch of adult beginner ballet classes in Brooklyn, while also being a coach and working on my own dance expression through videos and live performances…
reclaim dance (and life) in your own way.
This book is about busting out of the boxes you’ve tried to fit yourself into. It’s about returning to dance in a way that frees you – no matter if it’s been days, months, years, or lifetimes since you last danced. It’s about self-invention, creative self-expression, and activating our bodies – all to facilitate positive change in this world.
You don’t have to be a “dancer” in the traditional sense to read this and benefit from it. All you need is the desire from within to revive your creative spark, to express yourself, and to connect to the innate power within your body.
Whatever your reasons for picking up this book, it’s here to remind you that you can dance, again and again and again. In the body you're in right now. Even if you’re “out of practice.” Even if you're way too busy.
Because dancing is for everyone.
Because dancing frees us.
Because dancing connects us.
Because dancing creates and transforms our world for the better.
And our world needs dancing now more than ever.