Although the feeling of joy is universal, it can be revealed in many different forms. Joy to a football player comes with execution. Joy to a child comes in the form of a fat man in a red suit. Joy to a studious student comes with long hours. Joy to a brand new mother comes from hard labor. Joy to a newly married couple comes from finding “the one”. Joy to a dancer comes from the freedom of movement.
When I was 8 years old, my mom took me to my first Irish Dance class. I loved everything about it. The Healy Studio of Irish Dance became my second home and second family for ten years. I spent every weekend in San Francisco at the main studio and became best friends with all the other dancers. But greatest of all, I learned to appreciate the joy of dance.
On September 8th 2007, I had my last dance class at Healy. I lost one of the most important things I hold dear to my heart. I went to college and moped for months. I finally decided to give up the pride of only dancing for Healy and I looked up another dance school. I went to class the very next week and felt like an outsider. Then my teacher had me show her what steps I knew, and the instant my feet started to move, I felt at home: the joy of dancing returned. Almost one year later, I am friends with all the kids I dance with. Even better, I am now teaching beginners and hopefully transferring the joy I feel when I dance with them.
The other day at dance class, I was trying to teach this little girl steps to a reel. No matter how many times I broke down the step, she just couldn’t put it together. It was so cute to watch her because even though she couldn’t do the exact steps, she was dancing; and she was smiling. She looked up at me and said, “I love dancing Miss Becca”. Hearing a five year old say these words brought tears to my eyes. This little girl was able to realize the joy in dancing.
I know not all of these kids will grow up to love dance, but it is my hope that the kids who do stick with it are doing so because of the way it makes them feel. When the music starts up, I am already lost in thought of my steps. Reveling in the fact that I am about to execute a “didly” or a “drum”. When it’s time to do “full dance”, I don’t even realize how tired and out of breath I am until I stop dancing. The freedom of movement captures my body, mind, heart, and soul.
I believe in the joy of dance. The freedom of movement is one of life’s greatest gifts to a dancer. To be able to move in a certain way to express oneself is so organic and compelling. There are many different types of dance, but every kind of dancer shares the same feeling of bliss when they start to move.
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