Our Perception of What We Can Do

“Dance can be very frustrating if you feel that you can’t get a Ashley4- by Daudimovement. 

But we have all been there!

So, as a teacher, I want to try to limit that kind of discouraging experience as much as possible.

The frustration can start to limit our perception of what we can do.

Dance is supposed to make you feel good, at the end of the day.  So I want THAT to be the strongest take- home feeling for my students.”

                 ~Ashley Rhianne

 

 

 

Dance as Therapy for Autism

Excerpt taken directly from the original article-
Making Dance/Movement Therapy the Therapy of Choice for Autism Spectrum Disorder  By Danielle Fraenkel:

“Phillip Martin-Nelson, principal dancer of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, who was diagnosed with severe autism, credits ballet with saving his life. Similarly, dance classes have been a driving force for Leon*, a 15 year old, high functioning, home schooled male, diagnosed as a young child, with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Here is the link to see the original article in its entirety from its original source- The American Dance Therapy Association:
http://blog.adta.org/2015/04/20/making-dancemovement-therapy-the-therapy-of-choice-for-autism-spectrum-disorder/

How Dancing Changes the Brain

You’ve got to read this in depth article about the power of Dance to ward off certain diseases. This is an excerpt taken directly from

Thinking on Your Feet: Dancing Wards off Neurodegenerative Disease By Rewiring the Brain            by Lizette Boreli 

(Please note that the photo is directly from the original article as well. I have literally copied and pasted the link and photo because it is a must read and I just want to promote the page and message. I am in no way claiming any of this one article or photo to be mine).

benefits-dancing

“Strengthening Muscle Memory

Dancing improves brain function on a variety of levels. For one, our muscle memory allows us to learn how to perform a dance without thinking about the steps. According to neuroscientist Daniel Glaser, this happens because “the movements become thoroughly mapped in the brain, creating a shorthand between thinking and doing,” he told The New York Times.

In other words, we memorize how to do things so efficiently that they require no conscious effort. In dance, this is done by constantly repeating movements, which are practiced to the point that they can be performed automatically.

Although muscle memory can’t really distinguish a correct movement from a wrong one, some research suggests the endorphins released after performing a successful move cause the brain to store it as the correct way of moving — a process that constantly rewires the brain’s neural pathways.”- by Lizette Boreli

Click here to read this article in full from its original source- The Daily Medical:
http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-dancing-neurodegenerative-disease-human-brain-380835

Choosing Music Over Meds

One man’s quest to retrain his brain- through movement and dance-to overcome a severe movement disorder. Federico Bitti suffers from dystonia, a disease that affects a person’s ability to control their muscles. He is using a new therapy involving neuroplasticity, and specific exercises to retrain the brain, which for Mr. Bitti, includes …DANCE!

It’s stories like these that keep Dance Me Free growing and remind me why the site was born in the first place. There is proof, all over the globe, of how Dance and Music really do heal. You’ve got to watch this one! Incredible! What an inspiration.

And Dance, you’ve done it again!

What Dance Teaches Me

live to danceI have been so lucky to have some of the most inspiring teachers  come into my life.  Little did I know that Dance would be one of them.

Dance has influenced the decisions I make, the places I go, the people I meet, the perceptions I have about life, the values I cherish the most, my awareness of myself as a body and a soul, as well as how I interact with others and the world around me.

Someone recently asked me why I dance, and the first thought that came to my mind was, ironically, NOT thinking.  Dance, as I explained to this person, is one of the first places I learned not to lead (or follow) with thinking, but to feel.  With Dance, I shut off my brain, and engage, or turn on, my senses.  This is huge for someone who is constantly thinking and processing and analyzing like myself.  And wow, what it has done for my writing.  As a writer, I need to be much more in touch with my senses, and to be able to capture moments when my senses are really heightened. Dance makes me much more aware of those moments and plants the images of them deep within my memory.

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Kizom-what?- An interview with Eddy Vents- Part 1

Kizomba. What is it, and why are more people talking about it?  The word itself seems to stir up a whole range of reactions from those who have never danced it.  Some of my favorites are:

“Oh, is it related to Zumba?” 

“You’re referring to that NEW dance, right?” 

“Yeah, I think I’ve seen it and it reminds me of high school dancing. Not much to it.” 

“Oh, I can’t do THAT, being glued to a partner that way?”

“It looks so simple.”

I laugh, not just at the reactions, but at how I can relate to them because, before I started learning kizomba myself, I’m sure some of those thoughts ran through my head as well.  But it didn’t take long for me to realize that there is so much more to the dance than what it appears to be from the outside.   In fact, all of those perceptions above disintegrate when the magic of the true kizomba takes a hold of you. 

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Joan- “When I’m dancing, I am untouchable…I become a moment … that will only happen once.”

joan de los reyes.3jpgFrom the moment I met Joan at Danzaire Studio, I noticed a unique energy about her.  At first, it seemed like a kind of quiet, friendly, charisma on the outside.  But the more that we talked, the more I understood that there was an even bigger and ‘louder’ depth of character looming inside of her.  And boy was I right.  I soon learned that there was remarkable story of strength and resilience behind Joan and her dancing, a story of courage and inspiration that I am so honoured to be able to feature in the form of an interview here on Dance Me Free.

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Celia Cruz’s Cure For Headaches…

Quote

celia c“My life is singing. I don’t plan on retiring. I plan to die on a stage. I can have a headache but when it’s time to sing and I step on that stage there is no more headache.”- Celia Cruz

February 2nd- Lungleavin Day- Celebration of Life!

celebrating-womanhood1
This weekend coming up I’m excited to once again celebrate my birthday because it’s the one time when my friends from all different parts of my life gather together on one night in one place and get to know each other.  Plus, we get to catch up, have great food, enjoy awesome birthday cake, and hopefully, dance it up a bit because that is one of my favorite ways to celebrate anything!

But little did I know that the day of my birthday party- February 2nd (which falls one day before my actual birthday) is also the date of a new special ‘holiday’ that I had only heard about recently- a day that has such a heartfelt, touching story behind it that I believe it deserves to be shared with everyone out there.   It’s called Lungleavin Day. And I’m looking forward to adding it to the celebration I was already planning on the 2nd.

Though I have not met the creator -Heather- of Lungleavin Day in person, she contacted me with her story through the Dance Me Free site after being inspired by the posts she read.  Heather saw a connection between what she has gone through and the purpose of Dance Me Free and asked if she could share her story with all of you.

It is an honour for me to help Heather spread the word of her inspiring story of strength, courage and hope around a very serious medical condition she was faced with years ago and has so miraculously overcome.

Health and healing are a huge aspect of what makes up Dance Me Free. And I believe that Heather’s story, though not directly related to dance, represents the more metaphorical idea of stepping out on the dance floor of life, that our other posts discuss.  And that is an integral part of what Dance Me Free is all about.

So what is Lungleavin Day you ask?

Here is Heather’s email to me in which she describes the holiday and why this day deserves so much recognition:

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I am 44 and a mother to a quirky little 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child and I couldn’t overcome-fear (1)imagine my world without her. When Lily was just 3 ½ months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, which kills 90-95% of those who have it.

After intense treatment and a long recovery, almost 7 years later I’m still here and cancer free! My journey through cancer was quite a terrifying one and I’d like to turn my struggles and obstacles into inspiration and hope for others. One of the many things that came out of my battle with cancer is a holiday I created called Lungleavin Day. This is the anniversary of my surgery (Feb 2nd) in which my entire left lung was removed.

breaking platesLungleavin Day is a celebration of life and facing your fears. Each year we celebrate with nearly 100 loved ones. The idea of this day is for everyone to fill a blank plate with their fears and smash it into a bonfire at my Lungleavin day party, symbolizing people throwing their fears to the fire. I also use Lungleavin day as a fundraiser for mesothelioma research.

I recently wrote on my blog about this holiday. (To read Heather’s blog, click here). 

I would love if you’d be willing to pass this on to others and give a shout out to Lungleavin day!

                                                                                                    – Heather

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I was so touched not just by Heather’s amazing story, but also by the way she shared it with such openness and honesty to someone out there she had never even met before.

You can bet that we will be thinking about you on the 2nd, Heather.  In fact, I have already shared this email with my friend Wendy and she is planning to hit a few thrift stores in the next couple of days to buy some old plates, because we are looking forward to smashing our fears on those plates on February 2nd as well!  It actually fits in very well with the original theme of my party- “It’s never too late to become what you might have been!”

Thank you for giving even greater significance to what was already going to be a big day for me on the 2nd. And thank you for trusting Dance Me Free to spread the word about your very important holiday.

Here’s to Lungleavin Day!  Mark your calendars – February 2nd- and help spread Heather’s  beautiful idea to celebrate life and all that she, and we, can overcome!

“My goal is… just to make the world dance.” -Ryan Morrissette

“Those who say it cannot be done shouldn’t interrupt the people doing it.”

– Chinese Proverb

This is definitely one of my favourite quotes because it continues to remind me of the power of our own inner strength, despite the obstacles we might face.  But what I love the most is meeting people who prove to be amazing examples of this- those individuals who, because of their own will, passion, and courage, manage to go beyond what they might normally be thought capable of doing, and then often inspire others to do the same.

Little did I know that one of these individuals, who I had the pleasure of meeting  recently, Ryan1would be a young teen- Ryan Morrissette.  Ryan, a member of the hip hop crew Freshh,  is a talented, charismatic dancer whose energy is well, … contagious, to say the least.  His hard hits, quick and clean moves, and overall enthusiasm on stage definitely draw the attention of his audiences.   But even off stage, Ryan seems to often be found smiling and sharing a positivity with friends and strangers alike that is truly refreshing.  So when I heard that this young dancer has been dealing with a serious health condition since the age of two, I couldn’t believe it. You’d just never know that Ryan has Cystic Fibrosis if you saw him out there – the way he always seems to be giving it his all- whether on stage dancing, or co-emceeing and event, or just hanging out with his friends.

But that’s what Ryan does- he gives his utmost to this passion he has for dance, and to life in many ways, it seems.  In fact, rather than letting CF stop him from pursuing his love of dance, Ryan uses dance as a way to heal his condition and to reach others out there to remind them to live life to the fullest. “I wasn’t supposed to be able to do a lot of cardiovascular exercise,” says Ryan. But if you saw him out there, training, leaping, doing flips and tricks- well, Ryan has pushed through many physical obstacles that might otherwise cause another person in his shoes to not even attempt any of it.  And that kind of perseverance is extraordinary . Continue reading