… And sometimes, that healing comes in the form of something that lifts your spirit, something that makes you feel alive, something you are passionate about. Sometimes, that healing is comes in the form of Dance.
“Dance is everywhere for me
In the way I walk, In the boys playing in the streets,
In my home, in any place.
Dance is everything that you are, and is [all] around you.
It’s that. Dance is life.”-
Andy Manuel Gonzalo Varona
What an absolutely amazing short film to wake up to! – “Dance is Life.”
Watch this moving video in which a passionate professional Cuban dancer talks about what dance means to him.
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.
It was such a pleasure to find out first hand from Ricky Campanelli what makes a good DJ. He was so down to earth and approachable, and I loved his enthusiasm towards sharing his thoughts. Find out in this interview what this grammy nominated producer and DJ is working on next, and why Vancouver is one of Ricky’s favorite cities!
[Note: This is the 5th and final part to a series of 5 brief interviews under the title Reminisce on VIS (Vancouver International Salsafestival). To start at the beginning, at interview #1, and to learn why and where these interviews were conducted, click here: Reminisce on VIS- a series of five brief interviews)]
From 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.
“The way I got into dance was through watching movies and TV shows. I’d see all the mainstream dancing and I thought it was really cool. So I started dancing and training. And sure, it sucks sometimes when I make plans with my friends from school and then I remember I can’t hang out with them because I have dance practice. But then, once I come to dance, well, I kind of forget about those other plans because dance is so much fun.
The feeling I get from dancing, well, I can’t really explain it. It’s always different. I could be happy, I could be sad. But each time I dance, it makes me feel really good about myself. It just makes my day. And in our crew, we get to share that feeling with each other, as a family. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Because even though we’ve reached a high level, there are others out there who are better than us. And we don’t want to just stay at the same level. We want to get better too and be good role models. ”
– Justin Nicolas – Age 15- member of The Freshh Crew
“I got inspired to dance because of my brother. Him and his friends- they had a dance group and they didn’t really have a place to practise, so they practised in our garage. I’d sit down and just watch them and thought it was really cool. And then I’d find myself in the mirror, trying to bust a move or two myself (smiles).
But yeah, why dance? As you mature, as you grow up in this environment, what people don’t really understand is that Dance is an art. Like in a painting, people paint how they feel, right? Well, in dance, your choreography, or just how you freestyle, could depend on your emotions, how you feel inside too. Dance also builds your self- confidence. You become more confident in what you do, in dance, and in other parts of your life too.
And even if we can inspire just one person to take a dance class or something, well, that’s all we ever really wanted to do as a team, I think. It’s not always really about winning competitions or being high class dancers. It’s just about showing that we do honestly care about a lot of people out there. And we hope that what we do can help them in the future.”
– Gabriel Galedo – Age 14- member of The Freshh Crew
“Even if you lie, seemingly stagnant, you have the power to dance. While your muscles rest, your soul has the ability to soar free from this limiting body we inhabit. But one must first ALLOW the movement to happen. Our minds are the trickiest trap that we posses. Along with its great power, we have also inherited its greatest weakness… Judgement.”
“Dance and Hip Hop have been my constant saving graces. Dance is the best way I can communicate. Hip Hop is the language that my soul speaks. The marriage of the two on the dance floor is where I feel most “myself”.
In my recent exploration of expressive art therapy, I have discovered even more about dance and movement and its ability to heal. Before I even knew what this therapy was, I was already doing it, without even realizing it. Spending countless hours alone in the studio in my own thoughts, I was expressing- through dance- what I cannot say in words.
The dance floor is my diary, my confessional, my haven.”
– Joan de los Reyes
This video was sent to me by my friend Orin who definitely appreciates the beauty and power of dance to work wonders. Here’s what Orin had to say about this inspiring short film:
“I saw this posted by one of my idols – Alicia Keys, a strong woman and artist. It spurred some crucial thought for me. The view of dance as a revolution (revolution – a sudden, complete or marked change in something) has always been there, in front of me, but never this concisely.
It made me want to ask – What walls does dance help YOU to break down? Societal, personal, mental or physical. Whatever rings the bell of truth for you, I want to know.”
– Orin McRey
Thank you so much Orin for sending this along and for your thought provoking insights into it. This is amazing.