Holy Ground


Wherever a dancer stands is holy ground. ~Martha Graham

Bare Feet

On the dance floor, something there is an opening for movement, for something to move through me.

It is a holy act.

I began to dance the 5Rhythms nine years ago. The practice has changed my life. It has moved me deeply. It has been a midwife to the rebirth of my soul. It has been the container for the natural move toward wholeness within me.

As a child, I was a figure skater. I skated from the age of seven to sixteen. Looking back, if my mind body connection had been as vibrantly alive as it is now, skating would have been such a joy. Instead, it was always something I felt I had to work hard at, but not hard in a joyous way, hard in a “I’ll never be good enough, so I have to prove myself” kind of way. As a skater, I was never in my body. I was uncomfortable in front of the audience. I was shy. I was stiff. I loved skating, and disliked performing.

When I dance, the performer leaves. There is no performer. There is only the dance and the music, and even when there is a dancer, she isn’t performing, she is joyous in her expression.

I think of dancing in life. How living from the dance could hold just such a shift in everyday life. Dance as the simple, yet profound, metaphor for living my life. Moving as the Mover moves me. Feeling the song that’s playing and surrendering to it, rather than complaining if I don’t like the song, or attempting to take over the DJ’s job.

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6 Replies to “Holy Ground”

  1. So much in this post to respond to. I started reading Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb this week, and her first action is to dance like no one is watching for 3 minutes and then write about it. So, I put on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep (so tribal) and it wasn’t long before I was smiling broadly. A sure-fire way to get totally in the present, and good exercise too. I wondered if I were to do that every morning how it would change the way I operated throughout the day.

    I too was a figure skater, however, I passionately loved to skate, and it was one of the few places I felt totally free. Yet, I was terrified of performing in front of others.

    I would like to know more about the 5Rhythms.

  2. A friend pointed me over here, and… there’s something powerful about the 5Rhythms. I was/am a belly dancer first, and while that did great things for my connection to my body, starting to practice the 5R a couple of years ago really unlocked something else. And some of that, I think, was unhinging dancing from performance again.

    It’s so good to hear what dancing that way is doing for other people, too!

  3. Like singing, we were born dancing Julie. I danced without fear of criticism and with a heart bursting with passion and flight when I was young. Tonight, I ‘shuffled’ along to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem and felt like a fool. Still and all, I long to dance like I used to – unhinged, maniacal, and perfectly grounded in ecstasy.

  4. Thank you for this post, Julie! I too was a competitive figure skater, and I could relate to what you wrote…especially, “I was uncomfortable in front of the audience. I was shy. I was stiff. I loved skating, and disliked performing.”

    Now, when I let myself dance (and occasionally skate), I feel freer to move and play and enjoy. It’s not a change in ability, but rather, a change of heart.

    I love your analogy about life as a dance…I’ll carry it with me today.

  5. Love this, Julie. I danced before I walked…bouncing to the Mickey Mouse music in my playpen while my mother cooked dinner. As a child I was trained in ballet though always felt conspicuous because of my size. Too, as that young girl I discoverd through “free dancing” when no one was at home that I could move through fear, anger, self doubt into joy. I’m most at ease in my body when I make my own dance and as I write this, know, like others here, that I need more of this, regularly. Wish there was 5 Rhythms here (I’ve checked). Did one class of NIA and was hooked enough to look into teacher training. Thank you, always.

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