Now that my ballet career is behind me I find I want to dance without shoes, without direction and sometimes even without walls. I like the feel of a smooth wood floor under my bare feet, dancing to music that elicits a response… music that demands you get up off your butt and move. More importantly, I prefer to dance the way that I want to dance, when I want to dance and where I want to dance, to move purely for the joy of moving.
This coming Friday, March 22nd offers a really cool opportunity to do just that: dance anywhere®, a public celebration of dance… everywhere, around the world… simultaneously. Artist Beth Fein first created dance anywhere® in 2005, and for the past 9 years, people across the globe have made dances in parks, museums, street corners, schools, work places, community centers, offices, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Anyone can participate. Anywhere.
The idea is to not only blur the line between art practice and art, but to dissolve the line that often separates art and dance from our daily lives.
Over the years, the gallery of images from past events has grown. Should you feel inspired you can add your own. You can also click on the map to find events in your area.
One Billion Rising, a global dance revolution slated for Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2013, invites the world to take it to the streets and dance in support of ending violence against women. Imagine one billion people all over the world, using the power of numbers to spread this message…. And you could be one of them. Call it the world’s largest flash mob –and who doesn’t love a good flash mob – especially one with a purpose that aims to serve the greater good.
As a sticker on the OBR website states, hard times require furious dancing.
The catalyst of this dance phenomenon is V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls started by playwright Eve Ensleur (creator of The Vagina Monologues ) and a group of women in New York City. Each year Eve allows groups around the world to produce a performance of the play, as well as other works created by V-Day, and use the proceeds for local individual projects and programs that work to end violence against women and girls.
V-Day also stages large-scale benefits and produces innovative gatherings, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes towards violence against women.
The legendary dancer Debbie Allen has choreographed a simple dance sequence to the One Billion Rising anthem “Break the Chain” written by acclaimed songwriter Tena Clark. “Break the Chain” was recorded by young women and the flash mob features teens from around the New York City area.
Feeling inspired? It’s easy to get involved. Search the website to find a local rising in your areaor start one yourself. You can also download the toolkit and help promote the event or start your own rising. There’s still plenty of time to learn the choreography; it’s simple and straightforward.
Here’s a video to get you started. Learn the moves directly from Debbie Allen:
All over the world, the word is spreading and people are rehearsing. It’s easy to see why when you consider:
• IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.
• ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY
• ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION
I’m in the middle of writing a YA novel about a young ballerina’s struggles in the dance world. Needless to say it’s given me the opportunity to think about what helped me to achieve success as a dancer. I’ve concluded that the ingredients for success are the same for anything: dedication, discipline, persistence and confidence. The last one, confidence, has always been a bit of an achilles heel for me and it’s only in recent years that I’ve learned some techniques to help with that.
So how do you “get” confidence? I mean, it’s an intangible thing, right? It’s not like you can hop in the car and pick up a little extra whenever you’re running low. So many of us spend time looking for approval or validation from others, thinking that this will give us the confidence we need, but in reality this is a losing proposition. Other people don’t give us confidence; we give it to ourselves. How? By changing our minds.
Oh sure, you say, if it were that easy I would have already done it. But what if it was that easy? Think about it: we all wander around with an internal dialogue playing in our minds about our lives; it’s a never-ending commentary. Every waking minute of every day we are telling ourselves a story. Have you ever stopped long enough to tune in and see what kind of story you are telling yourself? Does it match with the story of what you want for your life? For most of us, the answer is probably no… and the inner story sounds something like, “I’m not good enough” or “I could never do that” or “it will never happen because my life never works out”. But it would follow that if you are telling yourself a story all the time anyway, it may as well be a good one, right? Even better, make it the best possible story you can think of.
Words of wisdom from Louise Hay about confidence:
It’s time to write a new story. A good story. An empowering story. And once we get that story straight, guess what will follow? Yep, you guessed it. Confidence.
So, take a moment to get a clear vision about what you want before you begin to write your new story (also called an affirmation). There are only two rules to follow: your story must be written in the present tense (as if it is already happening) and must be simple, short and easy to remember (because you will end up writing and repeating it many times). Let’s say you want to be a dancer. Your new story might go something like this: “every day I am taking steps to be the best dancer I can possibly be” or “my love of dance and my love for myself moves me ahead in my career.”
Dancers on confidence:
Once you’ve re-written your story it’s time to glue it in your brain. Repetition is key. Write your story on a piece of paper ten times every day. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day while you wait in line or ride the subway (although I don’t recommend repeating out loud or people will think you are a crazy person). Sing it in the shower. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over time it will become your new story.
Confidence is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Not only is it empowering it’s also incredibly attractive. It may even be contagious.
Here’s Brazilian psychologist Chris Lenarres’ method: