"Dancing can be magical and transforming. It can breathe new life into a tired soul; make a spirit soar; unleash locked-away creativity;…or trigger forgotten memories.'' ~ Unknown. Model in Photo below: Ashley Rhianne Bellydancer. Photographer: Idol Hunter
“Empty your mind. Be forrmless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ~ Bruce Lee
The first time I heard this quote, I was in Rome, Italy. I was in a little restaurant cafe, trying to figure out how to get back to my hotel, which was way out on the outskirts of the city center.
I had been taking the bus from the hotel in and out of town for a few days, learning each day how unreliable the bus actually was. On some days, it arrived a little late, on most days it arrived more than an hour late. And on other days, like this particular day, it just never arrived at all.
That’s when Tariq appeared. He was a young guy staying in Italy but originally from Morocco. We started tallking and he said he was heavily into martial arts and asked if I was familiar with Bruce Lee’s famous teaching, “Be Water, My Friend.”
He propped up his phone in front of me so I could watch a video.
Bruce Lee’s voice captured my attention immediately. He spoke with such passion and fervor about the power of water, and how we were capable of being like it, or being IT, if we allowed ourselves to. I was feeling goosebumps throughout even though I wasn’t sure what to make of it all yet. Little did I know I was about to find out shortly.
I should actually rephrase this title and call it, “Dance Can RE-Connect Us to Our Intuition,” because I believe we are all intuitive beings. We came here with the power of intuition to help guide us through this journey and beyond. I think we just forgot, or it was scared or ‘sensed’ out of us. As in, the voices that said, “Be more sensible, more practical, if you want to survive in this world.”
As children, we were encouraged to dream and discover and imagine and create. That was intuition at its best. No conditioning of what was right or wrong, no fear or prejudice against others, no questioning our natural ability to play and suss out what felt good for us. We intuitively knew we had intuition on our side and we didn’t have to second guess ourselves!
But as we grew up, other people’s opinions made their way into our heads, often well meaning people telling us what we should do, how we should be, and to BE CAREFUL. They themselves had been conditioned by caring individuals who were caught in this fear and trepidation trap as well. They were pushed to not rely on their gut feelings, because years of experiences that hurt or harmed them taught them that could be dangerous They thought that putting up a shield would stop others from getting in. But what we don’t realize is that it is actually also stopping us from getting messages from within us as well. And if we could tap back into that, it would be our greatest guidance and protector.
I am so grateful that Dance reconnected me to my intuition!
When I first came to dance, even as a little girl taking some ballet classes, I didn’t know that I was so in my head.
I was thinking a lot- about where this foot went, and what angle to bend that arm, and where to place my body in relation to another fellow dancer beside me.
No wonder I gave up ballet somewhere around 10 years old.
As an adult, I was so excited to find partner dance. Salsa was the place I started first. I thought, this is it! I will finally be able to learn to move as elegantly and fluidly, and with the charisma of the dancers I was admiring for most of my life. Those beautiful dancers on stages and even on social dance floors. I couldn’t wait to learn how to ‘be like’ them.
So I took classes, and more classes. Really working out the steps in my head, and figuring out the timing and even the styling like it was mathematics. Though I was ‘learning to dance’, so to speak, my dancing felt and looked so robotic compared to the dancers next to me. I couldn’t understand how we all started in beginner classes at the same time, and I felt like I was putting more time into extra lessons. But my fellow students next to me very quickly became more flowing and free and fun on the dance floor, while I felt clumsy and stiff and like I had turned dancing into a science.
Well, I had. Because I had put it all in my head, as if I could work it all out with my mind. And one day, a partner I was dancing with said, “What are you thinking about?” right in the middle of our dance.
What? I wasn’t thinking about anything, I tried to convince both of us. But right then, I realized he was right. How did he know?
I am from a small city in the North of France called Saint Amand les Eaux, close to Lille.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a French teacher?
It’s funny actually how teaching became my life purpose without me even noticing. My mom was a teacher, and I originally never wanted to become one, as I was seeing all the drawbacks of the job. But when I was 16, I became a French and Mathematics tutor for the younger kids of my neighborhood.
Then, when I was 20, I became a diving instructor as I was completely in love with scuba diving (and still am). I wanted to transmit my love for this amazing activity to the greatest number of people I could. And teaching was a great way to do so.
After that, when I arrived in Vancouver in 2016, I started my business of teaching French classes online and on-site. I could see there was a big love for the French culture on the West Coast, and it was quite inspiring to help lead and support that. Continue reading →
I know you dance a few different styles of dance, but … is Zouk your favorite (smiles)?
Oooh that is a loaded question! Currently, yes, Zouk is my favourite. I guess that is pretty clear to people who have met me. (smiles)
What it is about Zouk that draws you to it?
When I think about what draws me to Zouk, I think first about what draws me to dance in general, and a few things come to mind. To me, dance is about passion, connection, emotion and technique. I was drawn to Zouk because it really resonated with me in those three areas which are important to me. I have found a new level of passion in myself and my dance through my journey so far in Zouk. I am passionate about the music, my personal development, the growth of the Zouk community, and I love learning more about myself and others through this dance. Continue reading →
“Ever since I was five, maybe even younger, I guess you could say my parents saw the dancer inside me. They’d walk into the room and I’d always be trying to do headstands or backflips on their bed. So they said, “Why not dance?”
They enrolled me in classes, and I took to it and I just fell in love with it.
The dancers I look up to are bboys in general. Bboys and breakers all have their own style. They all have their own flow. It’s the way they dance and express how they feel, and just their moves in general, that is so great. That’s hard to achieve now, since there’s Youtube and all that. You have everyone coming up with the same style, the same kind of flow. But with breakers, they keep it original, and that’s what inspires me.”