How’s your reaction time? Are you able to leap into action in a hurry? What do you do to stay nimble in case something unexpected arises?
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, and it serves us well to stay loose enough to catch it on the fly. You never really know when you might suddenly have to shift gears on a moments notice and improvise your way through a situation.
It’s one of the reasons why it’s probably a good idea to have a little bit of dance in your life. The ability to step lively comes in handy in the most unexpected moments.
I remember when the genre of music known as ‘jungle’ or ‘drum and bass’ came out in the mid-90s. The choppy broken beats and frenetic basslines made for a movement experience like none other when you allowed your body to follow the music.
It felt like the ultimate urban soundtrack. It was what you would want playing in your headphones if you were riding a Japanese subway and an earthquake hit. Regardless of the musical background, in today’s world it’s a good idea to be present and quick on your feet when you need to be.
When moments like this happen, it’s usually a surprise. Adrenaline, by evolutionary design, is meant for unexpected moments of action. We had a wild card moment at our weekly Dance Jam this pastFriday, and it illustrated how important it is to be fluid and ready for action at all times.
It was an evening much like any other. After we were set up I was sitting at the welcome table in the lobby with Teresa’s 12-year-old son Elliot, who has been coming down to help every week.
A talkative fellow with a glint in his eye signed in early, and mentioned something about how he was recently divorced and reinventing his life from scratch. He’d never been to our dance before, and said he was going to go finish getting ready and come back in a while.
About 45 minutes later, I’m across the lobby giving my first-timers spiel to a group of young French students, when Elliot runs up to me and urgently tugs on my sleeve. “We need you! Some weird guy just ran inside!” Another one of our diminutive female volunteers was racing towards me with the same message.
This was shortly after 9pm when we are deep into our early evening “SomaYoga Sojourn.” The music is soft, the vibe is mellow, and most of the people are stretching or rolling on the floor getting warmed up. It’s the quiet and contemplative part of the night.
So the presence of a wildly careening guy racing around the floor flailing his arms and legs in sort of a hyperkinetic jerking motion was definitely a “disturbance in the field.” Our fellow from earlier was back, with his sweatshirt hood up, dark wraparound sunglasses on, and most revealing, a set of wireless headphones on.
To say that he was dancing to the beat of a different drummer is an understatement. My guess is that he had heavy metal or techno cranked up in his headphones. He definitely didn’t want to slow down or connect with anyone. It was obvious that we had to do something, he was going to run into someone on the floor and hurt them.
As the host and leader of Dance Jam, holding a safe space for our guests is my number one job. We’re not a nightclub, so we don’t have ‘bouncers’ or ‘security’ per se. In my nearly three years of hosting the dance, I’ve had to ask a few people to leave for various reasons, but never anything like this.
Everyone is watching as I’m trying to intercept him on one of his laps around the dance floor, and each time I get close to him he sees me and violently veers away. I do my best to steer him towards the exit. A few of my fellow dancers take notice and rise to their feet, and finally one brave fellow sees him coming and grabs the ballet bar on the wall, blocking his path.
That gives me the chance to grab him in a bear hug, pin his arms behind his back, and hustle him out the door into the lobby. He starts babbling excuses and asking us “what’s the problem?” and all I can say at that moment is “Sorry, you just can’t be here right now.”
So I frog marched him out to the street, where the fresh air hits him, the sunglasses and headphones come off, and whatever karmic or chemical imbalance he was riding out passes and he immediately becomes apologetic. I tell him, “Hey, it’s nothing personal, but you’re going to have to go somewhere else tonight, your energy is just not a match for our dance.”
Obviously, his belongings are still inside somewhere, so I ask him and he stutters out a description of his backpack and shoes. He’s happy to stay outside while I round up his gear, and as I’m heading back out, our resident artist “Painter Dancer” Lauren Meyer tugs my sleeve and hands me one of her little heart shaped painted paper ’permission’ tokens that she makes for our guests. “Please give this to him!”
Written on it were the words “You are loved” and I handed it to him along with his shoes and backpack as I sent him on his way with a nod, a fist bump and “No hard feelings…” Thankfully, while he still seemed to be very much out there in his interior world, his outward energy had shifted and he was more than willing to continue his journey with his own soundtrack on the sidewalks of West Berkeley.
When I stepped back into the dance, my vinyl collecting partner DJ Lolly (aka Conscious Dancer Creative Director Laura Cirolia) was doing a great job re-grounding the energy in the room, playing a lovely acoustic version of John Lennon’s Across the Universe. The soothing message of “Nothing’s gonna change my world…” was our reminder that regardless of the ripples in the field, we’re all riding the wave together and everything is going to be just fine.
All in all it was a lesson in presence and balance. When the situation calls for it and the adrenaline kicks in, we all have it in us to step up in the moment and do our part. Dancing with drama while staying kind and compassionate is an art that is rarely called for but ever so important. Staying loose with lots of movement is great practice.
You never know when you may have to leap into action to provide safety in a moment of turmoil. And by bringing the wisdom of your dance into times of trouble, you’ll be able to defuse situations that might otherwise escalate out of control.
Trusting your ability to bring balance wherever you go. May your week be pleasant and your reactions be loving!
DANCE FIRST MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Kate Nash and Cosmotion Studio!
This week’s Dance First spotlight shines on our new Dance Firstmember Kate Nash in Ventura, California! Born in Edinburgh Scotland, she’s been a dancer since childhood and an avid movement leader for many years.
Since migrating to the US in 2000 she has devoted her time and talent to the creation of her own movement and healing studio,Cosmotion in Ventura which she opened in 2004.
A multi-faceted leader with a diverse compliment of modalities under her belt, Kate brings a loving somatic sensibility to her work. Practices such as The Nia Technique, Moving to Heal, Laughter Wellness, 5Stages Healing Practice, Somatic Therapy, Conscious Dance, and Therapeutic Touch round out the offerings presented by her and her associated teachers at Cosmotion.
Kate says “As our human consciousness develops and expands, it appears we crave and desire more and more to deeply and truly connect to ourselves and each other in ways which are meaningful and rich with all the delicious layers of our humanity.”
We’re happy and grateful to have Kate represented among the fine members of Dance First! She’s an inspiration to our many up-and-coming movement entrepreneurs and a guiding light to every leader in the world of movement.
Thank you so much for your hard work and devotion to the field Kate! We’re delighted to promote you and offer all the help and support we can here at Conscious Dancer!
Check out all of Kate’s offerings and learn more atwww.CosmotionUSA.com