“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve…”

Coco Chanel

Have you ever thought about how people get the expressions they wear on their faces? Do you ever notice how so much of someone’s personality shines through their smile? (or scowl as the case may be) Have you ever seen your own face in one of those reversing ‘magic mirrors’?

Your sense of self is hugely important in navigating your way through the world. So many things relate to it! Self-image, self-confidence, self-awareness, self-love. The darker sides of self-importance, self-doubt, self-consciousness.

And yet, it’s one of those things that we are so connected to that we are barely aware  of. When the veil is peeled back and you get a glimpse of yourself as others see you, it can be quite the revelation!

It’s like hearing a recording of your voice played back to you for the first time. It’s so disorienting! “Is that really how I sound?”

Our faces are like foolproof transmitters of our state of mind.  The 43 main muscles that control our smiles and frowns are capable of thousands of nuances of expression.

The cliche “At 50, everyone has the face they deserve.” paraphrased above by Coco Chanel has been attributed to everyone from Abraham Lincoln to George Orwell. But for even deeper insight into the idea, let’s look to the words of Roald Dahl, in one of the great children’s books of all time, ‘Matilda’.

 If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

I remember being at a festival some years back, and an artist had an installation of special ‘magic mirror’ boxes that were constructed in such a way that you saw a reverse of the normal mirror image. In other words, you saw your face the same way other people see you, which is quite an eye opener!

Recently I was reminded of this when I was playing with the settings on my Zoom Video chat software on my laptop, and I turned off the ‘mirror image’ button. Then I forgot how to toggle it back, and my next few chats were very distracting!

So much can be gleaned by reading faces. I met someone the other day who had the most perplexing smile. One side would go up, while the other would go down. I came away from the encounter feeling like everything they said was a contradiction. It didn’t seem like their thoughts or feelings matched their words at all.

We’ve noticed this quite often with many of the photo shoots we’ve done for Conscious Dancer. When the micro-movements are frozen by the cameras eye, the grin on the surface often masks a grimace of pain just underneath. When kind loving feelings under the surface match the expression on the face, a pure kind of radiance is revealed that cannot be faked.

The point is, your face radiates your internal state of mind quite accurately, and it’s an revealing practice to occasionally check in on yourself. Your expression is right there with you every waking moment being read by everyone around you, so make a daring move in your personal dance every once in a while and give yourself an honest appraisal. It’s as simple as flipping a selfie from left to right, and it doesn’t cost a dime!

Your finest feelings deserve to shine, and there’s really nothing in the way of your radiance. Have a great mid-summer week, see you next Monday!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Media Spotlight :: QuintEssence

Farm-to-Table Feast and Ballet with Julia Adam Dance! 

This week’s Monday Love Spotlight takes you on a special trip to West Marin for QuintEssence, an immersive cultural experience blending art, food and nature created by Julia Adam Dance!

Come partake in a transformative experience of locally sourced food and open-air ballet featuring choreographer and former San Francisco Ballet principal Julia Adam and her corps of elite dancers joined this year by renowned former San Francisco Ballet Ballerina Joanna Berman coming out of retirement for the event.

QuintEssence is the fifth installment and culmination of the renowned elemental series that immerses the audience in an experience for all the senses. Atop the expansive Big Mesa Farmstead with sweeping views of the West Marin hills,QuintEssence explores the ethereal fifth element drawing from the previous four years in the context of LOVE.

“We are excited to continue our commitment to the environment and community through this wholly immersive experience bringing together dance and local gourmet cuisine in a beautiful outdoor setting,” said Adam, co-founder of Julia Adam Dance.  “We set out to create an authentic experience not easily found in the modern world. Each year seems to go deeper. It’s as if all participants, whether our team or the attendees, bring something special, which makes each evening unique and complete. It’s really starting to have a life of its own,” added her husband Aaron Lucich, who is a producer, rancher and agricultural activist.

QuintEssence​​​​​​​ is the fifth installment of Julia Adam Dance’s series that is designed to spark the wisdom of what ties us together through community, art, food, and the natural world. Each evening starts with a multi-course Farm-to-Table feast served family style utilizing transparently sourced food from the local bounty of Marin and Sonoma Counties.

After dinner, guests gather with steaming cups of sipping chocolate and meander to the open-air stage for the world premiere of the latest ballet from Julia Adam. This year Julia’s ever evolving team of dancers will interpret her unique brand of story-telling as it continues to morph with spoken word, song and broad exploration beyond the fourth wall as she weaves elements of the previous four years into a theme which is quintessentially about the heart.

Reserve your seats now while a limited number of seats are still available. For more info and registration visit JuliaAdamDance.com
QuintEssence :: Immersive Farm-to-Table Experience
July 6-8 & 13-15
Big Mesa Farmstead, West Marin​​​​​​​