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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

At a recent gathering of women writers of a certain age, we were discussing and listening to music that moves us. One woman said, “When this song comes on I leap and twirl like a crazy woman. You wouldn’t believe it.”

But do we have to be crazy to dance for the sheer joy of it once we reach middle age? I admired my aquaintance’s acknowledgement that she gives in to a wave of exuberance, lifted up by the pulling charms of the music, no other eyes to ply her with a veil of restraint. She, in her glory of freedom, alone but together with her music. I relished goosebumps of solidarity.

I, too, am a solitary dancer. When I have the house to myself, dancing is both celebration and balm in centering myself in a moment in time. We are given this life, this temporary state of being. The sorrows and tragedies of the world, and of our own lives, will continue to play out whether we seize moments of joyful being or not. Not that all dancing is joyful. Sometimes the most satisfying dance is sad and aching, which on occasion transforms to joy or at least contentment. Or not.

Dance is a fluid moment, fluid emotion. Whatever we have within can flow through dance. All the chores on our list will patiently or impatiently await our attention. Why not allow ourselves to carve out time for the physical expression of beauty, love, longing, bliss, heartache, all the poetry that music is? Dance embodies music- we become the music- we become poetry in motion.

1 Comment(s):
Ondine said...
How similar we are, even in name! I rediscovered dance in middle age. As a little girl I wanted to be (shock!) a ballerina. I twirled around in a fabulous pink feathery tutu that my mom made for me. I took ballet lessons, but then the teacher added jazz and tap. The classical purist, I turned up my nose and dropped out of dance to play the violin. Over nearly 40 years, I often dreamed I was a dancer. I knew I was a dancer, but I didn't dance much. I didn't let my spirit soar like it had when I was little. Once, at college, I was dancing with some guy. He made a comment about how unusual my hand movements were. He was socially awkward and I realize now he meant it as a compliment, but I was SO embarrassed and became self-conscious. My dancing became even more restricted. I arrived at midlife hungering for creativity and fun, and exercise. Nia found me when I was in my early 40's, and I am happily making up for decades of dance-deprivation. Nia is personal, adaptable, sensitive, powerful, healing, and challenging. Nia is a movement art that will nourish me for the rest of my life. I've learned how to condition my body when it wants a challenge, how to heal a pain when it needs TLC, how to try on different movement styles so I don't get rigid in my ways, how to energize myself when feeling low. Nia has even taught me how to get in and out of my car without torquing my knee, and enjoy the pleasure of planting my foot on the ground, the shift of weight in my hips... The dance of life! I found my passion for dance again, and I became a Nia dance/fitness teacher at age 42. I am so proud of my middle-aged and senior students, some discovering the joy of movement for the first time in their lives. I recently listened to a CD book about centenarians. One 100 year old lady walked to her boat and rowed on the lake every day. She said she ached, but she just kept moving. Otherwise she wouldn't be able to move. My body is changing and it aches a bit as I get older, but I'm okay with that now. I tell everyone, just keep dancing to keep your body limber, and to nourish your soul.
December 9, 2009 08:47:57
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