These qualities have been my focus for quite awhile for my dancing and teaching dance. Taking up more space when we move and constantly striving for the most expansive range of movement within our bodies–those are two ways to create exciting dance that is full of possibility.
Recently, I’ve realized that this somewhat obvious notion of capaciousness is only part of the picture. That roominess in our minds, in our thought processes, are at least as important.
For instance, when we take dance class, if we keep our minds and hearts more open, more available, we can learn new ways of moving, of both “the steps” and how to execute them. We are also more efficient in our learning because we haven’t boxed ourselves into a smaller place, a place of “no” or “I can’t,” which we then have to work to extricate ourselves from. Or, worse, we stay trapped in that limited space and don’t grow in our art. Spaciousness allows ideas and emotions room to breathe and multiply.
So, lately, when I teach and talk about spaciousness, I make sure I invite the dancers to sustain a roominess in their approach to class. I remind myself, too.
These reminders came back to me today when a loved one was digging her heels in on trying something new that was likely going to make her life easier, more pleasurable. Looking back on the conversation, I can even see her body language reflect restriction, constriction.
I know how challenging and even scary it can be to cultivate expansiveness. We’re not sure we will like something or be good at it or will understand it or recognize ourselves in our new territory. In dance, I’ve seen time and again dancers build a wall, whether consciously or not, where no wall was needed. And they ended up walled off, walled in, instead of bursting out into the sunlight and fresh air of possibility.
You can sense the limitations in dancing like this. It’s small, somehow. Whether cramped spatially or conceptually or soulfully.
I’ve come to understand that the same can be said of living. Sure, it takes courage and doggedness and awareness and practice to plumb vastness. The result is a greater vibrancy.
Challenging? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!
Photo credits–2nd from top courtesy of Nikki Cararra © 2016; bottom–Christina Goldberg; Sculpture–Gil Boro