Can We Dance Like Everything’s Alright?

July 22, 2010

There’s nothing I love more than a good dance party.  Ok, well maybe there are certain people, and certain ahem “spirits” I love more- but for the most part, dancing is one of the greatest things ever. There is nothing like moving through a body and expressing aspects of myself to rhythm and especially to bass. I love starting a dance floor, I love ending it, and I especially love hijacking the dj with my iPod and playing my favorite dance tracks. Around the same time I started dancing on the bar-mitzvah circuit, I also began clubbing in NYC. And after ten years of long lines or back doors, overly loud and overly crowded dark spaces, and more often then not a cast of characters that were somewhat suspect (myself included), I kinda outgrew the club scene.  The problem is- a good party with a dance floor isn’t always so easy to find.

That’s where 5 Rhythms comes in. Every week, in cities and towns all over the world (if you look it up, surely you’ll find one by you) a specially trained dj plays sets of amazing, diverse songs from all genres like hip-hop, trance, pop, soul, rock, and  world. The songs are played in sets that correspond to 5 different rhythms: Flow, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness. It’s like  movement meditation meets wild tribal dance party. It lasts 3 hours and is au natural; no drugs or alcohol available or sold on the premises. People let it rip; some skip around like little kids; others just wiggle a finger in the air; some whoop, holler and scream; and then there are those that appear to be on something –  but aren’t, caressing each others’ faces while lying on the floor. I don’t know. It’s an anything goes type of thing, whether you want to dance solo, couple up, or sit in the middle and just watch.

A few years ago, I started going regularly to the one in Mountain View (strangely, it was located right across the street from the train tracks, exactly where John was struck). Since I have relocated, I now dance on Sundays at the one in Los Angeles, which is pretty rockin and crazy- what you would expect from LA.

Before John died, I had been hitting the gym 3 times a week, dancing, and doing pilates and yoga. I was in pretty good shape. But after he passed, I could barely feel my body. It was in shock, and I hardly ate, let alone exercised or danced. I didn’t have the will to exert any more energy than it took to breathe and get through a day.

Two months later, desperate to feel better, I dragged myself back to 5 Rhythms. At first, I danced slowly and carefully, unsure how my body would move in my newfound sense of reality and tragedy. No one there knew my story, had seen or felt the terror I had been through. A part of me wanted them to know exactly what it took to stand in the middle of a room full of moving bodies and sway my head to the beat. Another part of me relished my anonymity, and as a particular song came on that John and I used to dance to, I was grateful for my privacy as I dropped to my knees and cried tears onto the floor. He was there no doubt; dancing with me, with or without my awareness.

As the night marched on, I leaned in to the company of all the beautiful brave people dancing around me. It was their joy for life and their sorrow, their bare feet pounding on the floor, their endless adorable movements, their yelps of excitement, and their passion for dance that reminded me of the infinite beauty of humanity. I felt so grateful to be a part of this brute display of sweat, prayers, and tears; the dance of life. My spirit was gaining strength anew. When my life felt like it had stopped, the rest of the world kept on dancing and saved a place for me.  That night I realized, that no matter what, I too, could just keep dancing.

When there’s nothing left to do, dance.

** Ode to a Murakami book.

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4 Responses to “Can We Dance Like Everything’s Alright?”

  1. Wow–you’ve expressed this so beautifully. I’m so glad you’re dancing again.

    • gritandcharm said

      Once again, thank you so much Maddie. I’ve been reading your blog and your writing is such a nice whimsical counterbalance to mine…looking forward to hearing more… and to reading your book!

  2. John said

    Sarah, everything that you talk about resonates with my spirit in such a magical way. I was going to mention Gabrielle Roth and then clicked on the link… ❤

    I think dancing is one of (if not the)the most beautiful ways to express ourselves. It is healing on every level.

    I feel so fortunate to have found this blog. I feel such a beautiful kinship with you.

    • John- sounds like we are on similar wavelengths! And I’m glad you are continuing to connect and resonate with everything here so far! Must be a purpose for this blog after all …..;)

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