I woke up this morning to see the news that an innocent man that worked at a school just miles from where I grew up, was shot and killed in front of his daughter and girlfriend, 9 days before his birthday. Continued to scroll and saw a striking video of a young man, dancer, fiance, and recent law school graduate was killed in an ISIS bombing in Baghdad, along with 249 other civilians.
Shooting in Orlando. Hate spewed by Presidential Candidate. Gun Violence in schools. People of color being continually and senselessly murdered. Terrorist attacks. The list continues. It ignites indignation, anger, frustration, outrage and a feeling of helplessness, impotence that simply makes the cycle of aforementioned feelings stronger and more unbearable.
This is why dancing, art, self-expression, passion are so important. In this time that we live in, where the violence isn’t new but the platforms for it’s broadcast are ubiquitous, we must continue to be our most true and positive selves, as I believe this is the only way to effect positive change in the world.
As my particular passion is dancing, I feel it is not just important, but necessary to dance on days like this. Days when we are in pieces, days when we are enraged, days when the weight of everything feels like too much to bear. I dance for the people who live in places where it is forbidden, I dance for the people who are injured, I dance for the people who have been taken too soon without explanation, I dance for my students in hopes that I inspire them to continue to do what they love, and I dance for myself, because I know that when I am free and happy, I am creating tiny ripples in the enormous ocean that we inhabit.
I have danced with people of different races, genders, sexualities, ages, economic statuses, and the thing that becomes instantly apparent, is that dancing is truly a universal language. When we dance, we are often expressing a morsel of joy that was inside waiting to get out. Watching peoples faces and body language, you see this. Dancing is an equalizer, a force of nature that brings people together to celebrate life, if only until the song fades. In this time of turmoil and injustice that we are living in, we could use a bit more of that.