One little known fact about me, is my passion for dance. I grew up doing what was termed ‘creative dance’. I loved movement, challenging my body, trying to do new things, albeit slightly difficult due to being born with my hips twisted. Dance was something that enabled me to express myself. Watching shows like ‘Solid Gold’ or ‘Ready to Roll’ and seeing the latest dance moves, was a quiet passion of mine. I loved it when Mum and Dad would go and milk the cows, and I would turn up my favourite music loud, and dance my brain out!
Then I met a friend who equally, loved to dance! Ah the magic of sharing that passion with someone!! She was far more flexible than me, but she had a way of both challenging and helping me to bust out, as much as my body would take. We often would dance all around high school, and when there was dances, it was nothing for us to be the high kicking sisters of soul!
But then dancing in general, changed. It was less about moving and expressing yourself, and it became more seductive and sexual. I didn’t like that much. The images I saw on tv were less and less desirable for me to mimic, and yet still….still I wanted to dance. Going to nightclubs was my favourite thing, not for the alcohol – which helped with me shyness – but more for the ability to just lose all sense of control on the dance floor and leave it there.
And then something happened. I’m not entirely sure what, but somewhere along the way, through different things I experienced, and traumas that I had to deal with, the dancing stopped.
Becoming a Christian, then moving back home for a while, was wonderful. I would dance and sing on the lawn, and all through the paddocks, until the sun went down. I was dancing and singing for my King. No one else. I was so alive, so fully present, so complete. But then that too stopped. I got married, and then became a Mum, then full time ministry happened. Dancing stopped, and seemed to be frowned upon back in the early 90s. Along with it of course, all secular music left the building, and I became one of ‘those’ Christians who only listened to Christian music, read Christian books, watched Christian tv and movies – I became very dull indeed.
So much of the passion and fire that lighted my soul, remained simmering away, and occasionally a Christian artist would put out a funky song, so that at least the old hips could swing for a few minutes! But then, it would all be put away again until…..Riverdance!
My God! And I really mean My God! When I saw that show on VIDEO, I thought I was going to combust!! I knew I had Irish heritage; and boy I just couldn’t get enough. My girls were kindergarten and school age, so any moment I could, I would put on that video and dance my brain out again 🙂 But the magic appeared, when the segment of Flamenco Dancing started up, courtesy of Maria Pages, a beautiful Spanish dancer. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. She twisted, turned, stomped, smiled, looked pained and impassioned, all at the same time – and I had finally seen something that resonated so deep within me, it never left. When I was taken to see the show live, my knees wouldn’t stop shaking. Several of us went to the back of the theatre and busted out!
A number of years later, and more trauma to add to the mix, I found myself wanting to seek out proper Flamenco lessons, here in New Zealand. It was nigh on impossible to find, so I allowed a friend to convince me to join her for Belly Dancing lessons. Turns out I wasn’t so good at rolling that belly, but I sure did try. I so appreciate the form and passion for which they dance, but in the end, it just wasn’t me.
More time passed, and I realised through life and experiences, that I had started to distrust my body. I couldn’t dance, even if I wanted too. I longed to move, I longed to feel that fire, passion, creativity and freedom again, but I just couldn’t express it anymore. I live in suburbia, and I just can’t express myself the way I want or need too. I need open air and space, and that eludes me.
I’ve also come to realise that through different traumas that I have walked through, I have completely lost confidence in my body, and indeed feel like trauma is trapped within me. In my imagination, I am stomping my way through a magic dance routine, but my body just can’t seem to do it right now. I’m not sore or in pain, and age shouldn’t be a factor, but in my mind, I just feel so boxed in and caught in a fishbowl existence, I just can’t seem to conjure anything up regarding movement, now.
Interesting that back in 2019 at the Dead Sea, I was dancing down the hallways, dancing down at the Shabbat celebration, and we even got Neil up dancing away, shaking his hips!
I’m praying that as I identify the traumas and the toll they have taken on me, that Abba Father will allow me to dance before Him again.
But on this side of Heaven 😉