As I read the second and third chapters of Making Connections I am introduced to a more than the concepts of fundamentals; I am introduced to a hidden understanding of myself. I’m writing about how my reading intertwined with the beginning of my journey to ballroom dancing. If not for this assignment this journey would not have been as eventful.
One of the first things that my ballroom teacher, Ms. Herbert, talked about in class is how everything new feels odd at first. By the third class I had dismissed this completely and ran to the bathroom for a sense of safety after seeing that we had to line up for partners again. I had known that dancing closely was something that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with but I didn’t think that it would lead into such a negative emotional reaction. How was I supposed to follow someone’s lead it I wasn’t even comfortable with being vulnerable? Why is this happening? As I meditated in the stall I realized that I had unconsciously been associating closeness with intimacy which triggered the threat of sexual assault. I remembered how, as I stood in class, I had retreated within myself which led to body language that had amplified the emotions and thoughts associated to when I had been sexually assaulted. My retreat out of the classroom was only a natural event to follow.
Later as I’m reading the about relationships in the second chapter, I came across the example of the “large metaphoric leap”. When in a situation where a person feels confined their physical actions can be the response that they need to help them break a pattern. This is the relationship technique of fundamentals, and seeing how body-world interplay could make a difference on the quality of life around me I began to feel a sense of hope. “As movers and people training others to move and take action, we can influence the attitudinal context that initiates that action in our world.” Now to find how I can best use my body to overcome this emotional state.
“Sometimes returning to earlier patterns in movement also brings up memories and feelings from early pleasurable or traumatic times in an individual’s life. When this happens, it is important that the movement facilitator be aware of stages of early patterning in order to be able to provide a safe environment for the movement explorer.” By being aware of this I was able to understand the problem more and how I could overcome my anxiety. I have had a long history of performance anxiety, but in hip-hop and ballet it was my stance and my costume that I found would provide me with the security and confidence that I needed. This premed pattern of getting into state led me to call my mom to ask if I could get new skirts and dance shoes.
When I knew that the classroom was cleared I hesitantly re-entered the classroom to discuss with my teacher what had happened. I had reached a breaking point and was prepared to take the option of dropping the class rather than sticking it through to overcome. I felt defeated, and I didn’t feel like trying to work through another nightmare. As I got into my car I receive a response text from my dance mentor, Melissa. After she reassured me that what I was feeling was not irregular she told me, ”Don’t limit yourself from learning another style of dance because it’s uncomfortable in the beginning.”
The thought lingered in my mind as a read through “Why Return to Fundamental Patterns?”
I soon found comfort in the later passages about form. When Melissa expressed to me why she felt I should push through she spoke to my passion, rather than my anxiety, and as I read I realized how form was the only way I was going to be able to express how I want to feel. The only way through is through. Intimacy was not a necessary variable in learning ballroom dancing. My end goal is to become more articulate. I want to become more whole, and a philosophical meaning of articulate is, “Organized into a coherent or meaningful whole.” from the reading, I learned that in order to grow into something you must first depend on the patterns that will get you there. The more I’ve put this concept at the forefront of my mind the more I’ve allowed myself to progress and evolve in my ballroom dancing class, my language learning, and many other things. Had it not been for the introduction of fundamentals I would have never gotten to that.
“We learn to ‘listen’ to our inner bodily language and ‘speak’ with our bodies from the truth of who we are. The heart of that lively expression is movement – movement in patterns of changing relationships.” If nothing more I am glad to have gone through a process of allowing change to occur in a relationship. I am hopeful that this experience will propel me forward in relating to those who I will teach in the future.