There is something about movement of the body that can express what words simply cannot. My entire life, I have gravitated towards dance as a form of emotional expression, often without realizing it. When there were no words, I would turn on a song that belted them for me and move my body until I didn’t have any energy left. I remember wanting to join ballet but never having the opportunity to fulfill that desire. I also used to love watching figure-skating, often adorning socks and “skating” around my kitchen on the tile floor, pretending that it was ice. I also kept a Michelle Kwan poster on my bedroom door, which is one of the few, if not the only poster I’ve ever put up. Similarly, I have always loved wearing heels. So, naturally, I would put them on during some of these dance sessions and I would follow along with my favorite music videos of that era. I “performed” in my room for hours on end and what I now realize was an audience of One. God has been with me along this journey and has helped me to understand my emotions through the songs I gravitated to in each season.
During one season, R&B was my dominant genre of choice. All of the relationship-focused and break-up songs expressed deep, painful emotions that I related to on multiple levels. I remember distinctly, listening to “Too Little Too Late” by JoJo and weeping in my room with only the thought of my mother and how empty I felt without her. While those lyrics never seemed to match up to anything I was going through at the time, that song encapsulated those emotions and still brings that memory back a vividly as if it happened yesterday. In another season, I heavily gravitated to music by Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and Evanescence. That season, which ebbed and flowed throughout my adolescence, represented a persistent depressive state where I couldn’t feel anything but emptiness, pain, and anger. I loved the energy of the music because it helped me to express what I was never able to otherwise. Beyoncé was a major influence of mine at that time and I would dance my heart out to songs like “Crazy In Love” and “End of Time.” Performance has always been in me, it was just hidden behind all of the weight of my insecurities and the pain of my childhood.
In addition to my own movement, I gravitated to shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” enamored with the way that the choreographers and dancers were able to put together a piece that so poignantly told a story, usually with the creator’s deep memories attached to them. There was a responsibility the dancers had to share that message accurately which made it that much more meaningful when they were able to accomplish that goal. Dance has followed me everywhere. It was with me at home, at school during annual creative arts festival performances, within my community as a I co-choreographed dances with my friends to our favorite songs, and now as I’ve recently joined the dance ministry at my church.
Dance has been more meaningful to me that I have ever realized. It has been a gift that has blessed me during the highest and lowest moments of my life. Even during a season when dancing followed me to places and positions that seemingly exploited the purity and genuine enjoyment of the experience, I am now able to view them as a part of my growth journey and appreciate, with more sentimentality, the moments when my “performance” didn’t feel forced or orchestrated. I am now learning to embrace dance again, this time with one audience member in mind, God. This is how it began for me and this is what I desire it to be for me moving forward. I have always dreamt of having a dance studio in my future dream home. God recently showed me that I don’t have to wait until I move into that future home to have this desire fulfilled. Today, I am grateful for the ability to have the space in my apartment to make that dream a reality, now. So, without further ado, I present to you, For Her Temple Studio.
For more on how this blessing came about, keep an eye on my Instagram page. I’ll be sharing it there later this week! My account is: @forhertemple
Thank you for reading and I hope that what I’ve shared inspires you to revisit a memory that reminds you of who you have always been, even in the face of life’s difficulties. Our identity has a way of resilience that manages to outlive even the most painful experiences and disruptive life circumstances.
Song Selection: “Make You Happy” by Celine Dion
Until next time,