I grew up in a conservative Christian home and school where girls were expected to save their virginity for marriage and be sweet as pie every waking moment. I attended a religious school from kindergarten through my senior year in a radically conservative environment. We were known for the catchphrase, “If you dance, you get pregnant.” Prom was strictly forbidden. The school hosted a junior-senior banquet dinner instead, and some of the parents threw a forbidden dance party afterward for the brave sinners.
Don’t even get me started on the abomination of clapping your hands while singing hymns or bringing musical instruments into the sanctuary.
My adolescence wasn’t very normal.
Not surprisingly, I dreaded the erotic implications of every natural instinct you can think of, such as dating. I avoided all romantic encounters until I was 18, and I had a lot of shame for the first several years of exploring my erotic body. When I look around to see how open and seemingly comfortable young adults are now with their bodies, it feels like an entirely different era. I may as well have come of age in the early 1900’s.
Growing up in a culture with strong Puritan roots, I had a lot to unlearn in my adult life. Though I shed my Christian identity in my early 20’s and started dancing until the wee hours of the morning at many nightclubs (including good ol’ Ibiza), sensual movement in my body was still a foreign concept until I discovered feminine movement through S Factor.
Dancing under the influence of alcohol is a good time. I wouldn’t try to argue that it isn’t. However, it feels more like an escape and less like an awakening. Most often we drink because we’re uncomfortable. The saying is that we drink to “lower our inhibitions,” which says a lot. I think our inhibitions to move sensually is because it feels unacceptable in many cultures and societies. Movement is relegated to dark, late night clubs where we sometimes drink so much we barely remember it next day. And yet it does on some level help to release us from the rigid, patriarchal, Puritan drudgery of everyday life.
“People are looking to fill that void with some outside source, but that empty feeling can only be filled from within.”RuPaul
Feminine movement practices awaken the spiritual, courageous, and celebratory capacities within us. It heals our wounded feminine. It can be explored in womxn’s groups or in solitude for your own personal pleasure and fulfillment. It is accessible to womxn of all age groups, shapes and sizes.
In my own practice, I make modifications to certain movements because of various (and growing) limitations in my body–wrists, hips, and back to name a few. But that doesn’t stop me or slow me down from finding my pleasure. I find that the feeling of being seen while dancing is incredible, but sometimes I need to find my flow in the privacy of my home. I have processed a whole spectrum of feelings over the past 3+ years. I have danced my way through grief, depression, anger, joy, gratitude, and confusion. It calms my nervous system and re-centers me. It is an otherworldly experience.
The deeper I go on this journey, the more synchronicity I find between it and my Jungian-rooted beliefs and practices. Dance allows my inner goddesses to come out and play. I rediscover my inner power and resilience. The dance experience is different every time, but it never fails to point a mirror back at me, as I peel back another layer.
I’m ecstatic to earn my teacher certification this year, so I can create a time and place for you to un-learn your good girl training too.