Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dance Trance Revolution

Remember how I had promised to write a few more poetic posts for the up-coming spring, instead of nit-picky obnoxious posts? Here's the thing about plans: uh....

This is not going to be an interesting or relevant (let alone poetic) post either. I'm coming down from a dance high.

Yesterday I spent twelve hours with a very good friend of mine, Jen, talking and talking about everything under the sun (and moon, by the time we were done). We met "around noonish" for lunch, then restaurant-hopped from Sam's to the place where I work to Starbucks (sadly, but it was next to the laundromat, and Jen had to do laundry and pack for her spring break trip that she left on this morning); we finally parted ways just after midnight. I have to say, it felt like one of those magical days when everything just clicked into place. Sometimes, so often surrounded by people who ignore me, don't understand me or make me slightly uncomfortable, I forget how absolutely freeing and refreshing it is to get into a groove with someone who knows and cares about you, and to have that groove last all day. Sometimes when this happens, I slip into a slightly manic stage--I've noticed this especially after long periods of relative restraint and stagnation, it's as if the energy has hit a block and backed up along the synapses until suddenly it all comes bursting out at once in a kind of noisy chaos. It's easy to feel ungrounded and a bit fizzy when this happens, and the best way to avoid it, I guess, is to try to keep the energy flowing smoothly rather than letting it build up behind a block.

Am I making any sense? One result of my long day yesterday was that it ran me almost dry for today, which happens to be gorgeous, sunny and warm. I'm not usually a very social person, and being around anyone, even a good friend, for so long and maintaining the kind of intense, animated discussion we were having--well, it exhausts me. When I got home last night, I realized my throat was tight and sore from talking, and that night I dreamed first of my right foot being torn into three pieces (which I had to staple back together and then have a healer wrap in gauze and numbweed) and then of being chased for miles by a slick, beautiful greyhound (that would be my gut-bunny dreaming, I guess). So all day today, instead of feeling ready and able to sit down in front of the computer and work, I've felt rather worn and bombarded by sunlight. Rather than center and focus in, all I want to do is splay (v. to spread out, expand, extend; to flare). Bumbling away the hours into mid-afternoon, I decided finally to walk to the grocery store and pick up some supplies. On my way home, listening to my iPod, I began to feel that internal beat that I love about punk rock music...

Which led to a two-hour dance-a-thon in my living room. Whew! Let me just tell you, I am a horrible dancer. Don't be deceived. I couldn't appear graceful on the dancefloor if my life depended on it. Which is why it's been so long since I really just danced for any extended period of time, especially without any self-consciousness at all (or running into the furniture because I was a little drunk). Sure, once in a while, I'll put on some music and dance for a song or two just to ground some excess vibes, but usually that's about it. Today, though, I really got into it. If I were feeling more poetic or focused now, I could wax philosophical about the experience, but the truth is, I'm still buzzing. I've heard of other Pagans talking about the dance trance, the rhythm of movement and breath (especially in, say, a drum circle or ritual setting); even my OBOD gwersu recommend using dance as a method of shamanic journeying or preparation for the celebration of the holy days in the yearly cycle. But I've never really tried it. Kind of like chanting, I just wasn't sure I "got" the point of it, or the knack of it for that matter.

As of today, that's definitely changed, and we'll certainly see about incorporating dance into future celebrations and rituals. This was in no way formal ritual or trance work, and the music wasn't always conducive to spiritual contemplation (being mostly angry punk music about rejected love and disillusionment), but I could definitely see the potential in the future for "dancing my worship." There were moments when gesture, movement, form--all seemed to meld and melt, and my upraised arms or stamping feet were not just willed actions of the body, but communicative experiences of Spirit itself. I think I'm going to work with that, see what unfolds, see where it might lead...

But for now, I have to go close my windows, because it's actually much chillier in here than I thought when I was working up a sweat.


  1. Congratulations on your dance high! I use dance all the time for meditation and ritual. I am firmly convinced that there are no "bad" dancers - only reluctant ones. Grace is not a prerequisite for joy in movement.

    And - numbweed? Were there dragons, too? :)

  2. Heh, no, no dragons, sadly. Apparently, I only get to dream about the boring, slightly smelly parts of the novels I read. ;)

  3. You just gave me an EXCELLENT idea on how to lose some of this newly gained weight of mine (due to smoking ceasation)!


    Dance like theirs no tommorrow!

    Dance like all the cool, desireable chicks WANT to dance with me!

    Dance like a FOOL!

    THAT should burn some calories!

    if I don't drop dead from a coronary first......


  4. For those of you keeping track, yesterday I talked briefly with the guy I have a crush on (mentioned in this post)--I asked him how his week had gone, and he said rather poorly, because on Thursday morning, he had to have small surgery on his foot to remove a nail and his whole foot has been numb for three days since.

    Score one for Ali's premonitory dreams being as gross, obscure and unhelpful as possible.

    On the other hand, I told him that I'd had that dream about my toenail falling off--and then my whole foot falling apart--so now we have an ice breaker. I just wish it wasn't about feet...