Which styles of dance are you into? Do you have a favorite?
I started dancing in 2009 after taking some salsa and bachata lessons at McGill. My dancing journey eventually followed me to Toronto, where I got introduced to zouk, and from there on, no other dance has had my heart quite like zouk does. I’ve dabbled into other dances like bellyDancing, kizomba, and dancehall. While they do bring out certain parts of me, zouk allows me to express myself in ways I almost can’t explain.
Beautiful. I can see that in your zouk dancing. You’re just so there, in the moment. We can see it and feel it.
I remember an instructor in Argentina telling all of us that we should take a shower after any night of tango dancing because it is such an intense and close dance. She said that without showering after, we will end up “sleeping” with all the energies of the people we danced with that night. She claimed we would have strange dreams if we didn’t- dreams that might not seem like our own, because possibly, they wouldn’t be our own.
You are a very intuitive, energy/feeling person. Do you feel this enhances or hinders your partner dance experience in any way?
I am a highly sensitive person, and can pick up on someone’s feelings before they even utter a word. In some ways it’s a blessing and a curse. Dancing with other people, I can pick up on their disposition, their state of mind and their state of being. It’s true that it can really enhance the connection, and I can sense their intentions, their next step, the very next place they may want to take me in the dance. And there can be this strong synergy and feeling as a result.
It can also work the opposite way- where if we don’t click, or their intentions are less than honest, it’s easy to feel, and then I sort of bring up my walls and the dance then becomes rigid and forced.
How do you deal with it and still enjoy the dance?
In some ways, sensing others’ energies is a filter through which every single person I dance with goes through. And much like your instructor mentioned, I need to be careful not to take someone’s energetic baggage home with me as a result. There are days when I can be so sensitive, it’s better for me not to go dancing because I know I’ll come home and I’ll carry with me a piece of each person’s story that I danced with. Though most days, it’s an enjoyable process that allows me to connect deeper with someone while dancing with them.
I have taken a lot of dance classes with different people so I am definitely a “learned” dancer. I still feel like I am always seeking learning and guidance in my dancing. You, on the other hand, from what I understand, did not take a lot of dance lessons. What do you think made you pick up dancing so well and so quickly?
To be honest with you, I don’t think it’s a talent that’s exclusive to dance for me. Anything that I really put my mind to, I can pick up very quickly. If I’m passionate about it, my entire being just gets absorbed in it. It’s like that for me with languages, with dance, with anything that makes me feel free and self-expressed.
I have a tremendous eye for detail, and as a former teacher, in my mind’s eye, I can break down something complex into very small bits. So it really helps when I try to be the student, and learn something new, because I understand the process, and I become the process. I can pick up a lot just by observing. As an introvert, I’m not exactly the first out on the dance scene. Being more withdrawn has also grown my “sensitivities” to the energies of others, and my observational skills, and this has sometimes taught me more than teachers could have.
I see you as a free spirit, who really has so much faith in things unseen. This is such an admirable quality. And I feel like it is so related to the underlying idea of Dance Me Free- the power of dance to heal and free a person. To whom or what do you attribute your free spiritedness?
Hehehe, well, I may be a bit biased, but I attribute it in part to my astrological chart (I’m a quirky, freedom oriented, unconventional Aquarius stellium).
Yay! My fellow Aquarian, AND we have the same birthday. But I do not have that free spiritedness that you have. It’s lurking there, underneath. But struggles to get out.
Well, I also have an Aries rising, so there is this certain fierceness, and stubbornness about me that just had me pushing for what I believed in. I didn’t give up, no matter how hard things got in my life. I guess I just refused to believe that I had to settle for the conventional nine to five job, the mediocre life, the unexamined life, the life that so many people were prescribing to me. That kind of life never fit in with my soul’s essence, and what I’m about.
What allows you to have so much faith in the Universe and our connection to something far beyond what is right in front of us?
I fought. I went against the grain, I pushed against my limitations and I followed my heart. In that, I found the strength to always have faith in myself and something bigger than me, no matter how it might look on our minuscule earthly plane of existence. And now I tell my clients all the time, there are our human eyes, and our universal eyes, and how we perceive through them is very different. I think this has given me an edge that helps me to always remain focused on what really is the truth, and to always follow my quest for freedom and being true to myself.
I understand not everyone agrees, and this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it has worked for me, and I cannot imagine my life without my faith in myself and my limitless connection to something much bigger than me. I owe that to my struggles, which have been some of my toughest, yet worthwhile teachers in life.
You have a very unique and inspiring job. Can you tell the Dance Me Free readers a little about what you do and how they can get in touch with you to find out more?
Absolutely. I’m a transformational coach. My business, is a gateway to new growth, radical self-renewal and unapologetic empowerment for anyone who wishes to transform their life for the better. Best place to get in touch with me is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! I love the way you phrased that, especially the “unapologetic empowerment” part.
Has your job had any influence on your thoughts about Dance? Or has it shaped it in anyway? Or has Dance had any impact on the choices you make in your job, or how you treat your clients?
The awareness that I’ve built over the years practising my craft simply allows me to observe and be mindful of a person’s state of being when they engage with me. It also allows me to draw boundaries if I need to, or get closer to them, if the synergy feels right for both of us. It lets me know when I can go into someone’s space a little deeper, and when I can’t. Coaching is a lot like that too. You’re always taking a person to a place of deeper inner awareness of themselves. And in turn, you learn about them, and yourself, in the process. Dance is no different in that respect.
Why dance? What does it mean to you?
Dance for me is when my ego goes on vacation, where I lose all sense of self control, where I can just be myself, and allow my soul to take over, and be unhinged, wild, raw, expressed through movement and motion and ardor. Dance brings me to this state of joy and communion with another person, where our minds and bodies are one, intimate, yet not; connected, but able to disconnect at a moment’s notice; together, yet separate in our own containers of space that we get to dictate.
How does dance make you feel?
I feel free and unencumbered of my worries and my problems when I dance. I lose myself in the embrace of another, and yet, can find myself in that very act. I can be in a sweet state of abandon, and yet honor my deepest desire to just be free, be alive, be moving. And sometimes, in between all that, there are also the moments of utter stillness that we sink into, and those moments teach me that life is like that too. There are the twists and turns and bends and surprises when life leads you a certain way. And then there are moments of standing still, of being held, of just being, existing, listening to your breath, listening to a beat, listening to a heart.
What impact has dance had on your life or how has it shaped you as a person?
Dancing helps me become more connected to myself and to others. It brings me a certain awareness of me, of parts of myself that I sometimes forget, and I’m reminded I need to bring back home to me. It brings me awareness of parts of myself I need to nurture more, listen to more, love more. Dancing is an act of self love, self discovery, and appreciation. It enriches my life endlessly.
Wow! Your words alone make me want to never stop dancing. Thank you.