Permission to Take Up Space: Finding Beauty in Dance

January 22, 2012

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share with you that I am getting back into the writing saddle again, to share my thoughts, ideas & experience about fitness, health, connection & living life lusciously.

Please enjoy this piece, Permission to Take Up Space: Finding Beauty in Dance, about my herstory on reclaiming dance in my life.  I hope that it encourages you to turn up your personal volume, too!  It was originally written for fabulous blog Have Fun*Do Good and was also featured on Blogher.

With heart, Heather

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As a child, I remember literally throwing myself around full-force without thinking too much about the consequences; I had plenty of bruises to show for it. I recall running in big circles around my front yard pretending to fly as if it were yesterday; and, then having vivid dreams about it actualizing. I fondly recollect choreographing my first piece to Flashdance, where I became conscious of the power of movement combined with music. I was uninhibited, inspired, and living lusciously as Wonder Woman at the young age of five. As a child, having fun was an easy, natural way of being.

As I got older, my relationship with my body changed. I internalized the subtle message that as a woman I should quietly take up as little space as possible. These thoughts changed how I moved, and dance became a self-conscious, self-critical experience, which was a bigger reflection on how I lived life and viewed myself within it.

It has been a lengthy process of reclaiming movement and dance. And, myself.

When I first started teaching dance fitness, I approached it with a more serious attitude, as I had found my strength studying martial arts. I taught my classes by mixing kickboxing with dance. There were bits of fun and silliness injected in here and there, but, overall, it was pretty serious business for me. Over time, I found myself dancing fully, expressing my heart through movement with as much humor, playfulness, and spirit as I could muster.

What I have noticed in this process is that the more that I allow myself permission to let go, to take up space, to be strong, to be authentically me; the more that others give themselves permission to do the same.  My dance classes have become a way for us to inspire each other by letting go of our inhibitions, enjoying our bodies for all the amazing things they do, and smiling and singing as we sweat and move.

It is my absolute honor to help people find pieces of peace within, while outwardly expressing this life process though dance with our bodies.  I invite you to find ways to reclaim being uninhibited, inspired, and to live fully and lusciously. Breathe. Smile. Sing. Dance. Repeat in a different order with other fun things sprinkled in, turning up your personal volume.

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