I have often used my art to process events, moments, transitions in my life, and the world around me. Because my chosen passion is dance, that usually means I need to find an empty dance studio or just move some furniture around in my house. Moving my body not only makes me feel better, but it also calms my mind and allows me to notice habits or feelings I have been holding onto. Sometimes I do not even know what I am processing until I leave the studio, take a big exhale and notice much of the tension has been released from my body and spirit. Bodies have stored memories and giving myself the freedom to fully embody issues in my life allows me to process and heal.
As a dance artist, I am often in the studio teaching or working on specific projects or choreography. This does not always allow me time to process through my own body, as I am focused on working with my students or other dancers. So, there are moments where it feels absolutely necessary to be a dancer and get myself into the studio and process what has been going on inside me through movement. I have found that moving my body brings a release and realizations that help propel me to heal.
The greatest experience I have had using my art to heal happened soon after the last presidential election. I remember I cried for days after. On the phone with friends, while driving in my car, leaving work. I finally had a free moment to be in the studio alone a couple of weeks later. I put on some music, took a moment to listen to my breath and began to move. I cannot really explain what happened in that studio or the transformation that occurred. I have some video. And the scientific facts that I am a kinesthetic learner and processor and that sensations, touch, and feelings are better analyzed and confronted for me when I am moving. But I can tell you that I left that room lighter, more hopeful, and better able to explain why I was so down. What I had not been able to say in words, I was able to express through movement. Dance has always provided a safe outlet for me to confront myself. My art is dance and through art I am restored.