(Photo, Larry Osgood)
Excerpt from "Discovering Creative Movement" chapter - Jolie Pate
Dancing was forbidden in my family. My parents were both brought up in fundamentalist Christian homes where they were taught that dancing was sinful. This prohibition was passed on to me by the Church of the Nazarene and my family.
As a child, I did not even suspect I had an interest in or talent for dancing. Instead my love of movement revealed itself by being an active child. I was rather tomboyish in my outdoor games of cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, and tree climbing.
In young adulthood, I was active in aerobics and ice-skating, but it never occurred to me to explore dance, even though many times people pointed out that I seemed to enjoy movement. Dance was simply not an option in my awareness.
Today, ten years after my first dance experience, I remain grateful to my friend Marilyn, who stretched my awareness into the world of dance by convincing me to attend one of the local dances with her. In that dance world, I discovered Contact Improvisation, which has influence my way of being in the world........
After gaining a few beginning skills, I attended a dance on my own. I simply sprawled on the floor. Lying on my back, I waited for the urge to move to arise from within my body. I held no preconception of how this would show up.
I waited with curiousity to let my body speak its desire. Within a few minutes, my arms and legs wanted to stretch and slide across the floor. I responded by slowly moving each body part as it requested.
Soon I was moving smoothly, one movement blending into the next, staying on the floor as long as my body desired. In this movement, as I rolled over to my belly, I began to cry, a sob deep from within.
For the first time I can ever remember, I was fully aware of being in my body. This contact of body and floor touched a place in me that was beyond desire, beyond body. It was in my soul. It was sacred. It was home, finally home, after all this time. My very being welcomed itself home.
Hear editors Johanna Leseho and Sandra McMaster in conversation with Keran Sanders on the Weekend Morning Show Sunday June 5, 8:40 a.m.
Dancing on the Earth will have two book launches: June 9 at the Elephant Room, Knowles-Douglas Building at Brandon University and June 13 at McNally Robinson Grant Park, both events 7 p.m.