like many human beings out there, i’ve wanted to dance. i want to be able to walk on pointe, swing dance with strangers and leap into splits. i am currently a very untrained dancer who only managed to reach her toes a year ago.

like many human beings out there, i started with a simple dance class, got an intro offer, showed up to a slightly crammed studio and spent one hour learning a thirty second routine.

like many of the humans there in that room with me, i did not feel like i was dancing. to those of you who have felt this way, my first thought is to say something like “aww don’t worry, we all start that way. our bodies are unique and we will all walk our own journey”. of course, people said this to me. i said this to me. it’s a good thing to say.

but come a year or two later, i still didn’t feel like i could dance. i kept going with the physical activity but i didn’t dance, i did tricks and made shapes. am i just untalented? probably.

so then came march and i was stuck inside. my training for tricks (pole dance) became much harder since it was dangerous to learn tricks on my own, plus it’s hard to come up with the willpower to train since it’s tiring and painful. here are some pole bruises.

so i started easing into dancing. not learning a routine or picking a song, but putting on a playlist and moving in whatever way felt good. i suffered in my technical skills from lack of learning choreography and new moves, but without guidance i was able to achieve these things which i now consider to be the guiding requirements of “can you dance?”

expressing feelings. this doesn’t have to be a soulful “i must dance to express my heartache”, but should at least mean that movement is distinct and different in different moods.

exploration/creativity. some feeling that you’ve done something new while dancing, something that you didn’t know you could do or that would look/feel good.

accepting guidance. you don’t have to be able to step into a rave and start shaking your ass, but if you’re in a freestyle class and you’re given a prompt to work with your head, that should affect your movement.

underlying to these points is being comfortable with moving.

when i watch other people dance i ask, “do i want to be them right now?”

if i see them looking confident, expressive, being powerful in their movement the answer is always “yes” whether they’re shaking their ass or just twirling their hands. (by the way, i highly recommend trying to dance with just your hands).

disciplined dancers can come after me but i recommend dancing without ever learning choreography. you will still get the exercise, self-expression and be able to expand your movement repertoire. i do still like classes once in a while for inspiration (but also following people i love) as well as guided freestyle or routine development classes, but i don’t think it’s necessary.

my comfort zone is ever expanding. my go-to style is a very modern pole dance — a lot of tension, kicks, body rolls, long lines to sensual music. here is an eleven second video of me moving in ways i never have before to really fast music, prompted by the music being released by a work fren of mine. <3