dance (r)evolution

Good morning good morning. I just spent about forty minutes in the notebook, drafting out my addition to this Saturday’s Fierce Hunger reading, and now I get to be here in the blog with you. That’s a good morning’s writing. How are the words arriving for you today? On the page? Via the radio? In the mouth of your heart?

I’ve been working on the schedule and lineup for Saturday (when I’m not editing our amazing chapbook!) — here’s the basic schedule:

6:00-7:15       Mingle & Silent Auction (music by DJs Zanne & Junkyard)

7:15-9:15       Reading & Raffle & Celebration

9:15-10:30    Dance dance evolution (more with Zanne & Junkyard!)

So, first you get to hang out with amazing folks and check out the silent auction items and enjoy some wine and/or appetizers. Then you get to listen to some powerhouse readers, after I tell you a smidge about how grateful I am to everyone who’s supported Writing Ourselves Whole over these last ten years. Next we announce the raffle and silent auction winners. And then you get to dance it all out.

I believe in the healing power of a dance floor. I believe I have written about this before, the way that I began to find the contours of my free body when I went out dancing on Friday and Saturday (and Sunday, sometimes Thursday) nights in college. We listened to house music, techno, electronica, we danced to 80s remixes and 70s anthems. Straightgirl freshman me and then queergirl into the beyond, all of these selves found a surprising kind of release when a bunch of friends and I slid our undulant, bouncing bodies into the middle of a floor that, the rest of the week, was just the student center’s reading room. The DJ switched off the overheads and put on the colored lights and the strobe, turned on that smoke machine, and put the needle on the record. (Like, for real, the needle on the record. I can’t tell you how often I made the song skip ’cause I was dancing too hard and too close.)

What more can I say about the dance floor? I want to tell you that, for me, it has been a place only of joy and reclamation, where I learned to take up space and power, where I learned that I could sweat without fear of retribution, that I could be in my sex and my desire without having to take my damn clothes off, where I could fit something that needed healing into the fissures between the bassline and the beats and, as I kept on moving, healing worked its way back into my skin and muscles and breath. For this girl who was, fully into my senior year of college, still being raped and controlled at home (and, then, in my own college rooms), the dance floor was a miracle. How do you language for a miracle? How do you thank the sweat and smiles of strangers, the awful aroma of chemical fog, the way a piano break in the middle of a heavy beat can give rise to chills and the shock of something locked and hidden in my own body finding its way to release? How to describe the way that the music offered me a pathway back into my skin and musculature, to acknowledge the grace and bravery it took to move  onto that path and to allow this body to learn again how to sing?

I was all bounce and laughter on the dance floor until I learned to drink — then I stopped dancing. I can’t do both, can’t both drink and dance, ’cause the dance can’t find its way through me to the floor when I’m inebriated. So, for many years, I didn’t dance so much — I chose alcohol to disappear into instead. But dance didn’t leave me. It’s been, next to writing, my truest healing place.

And on Saturday, after the hobnobbing and the tasting and the offering and the listening, after the words and the laughter and the maybe-tears, after the heat we find settling itself into our good thighs, we can get up and make our own new and blessed magic of the dance floor at the Center for Sex and Culture. The DJs, Zanne and Junkyard, they know what the fuck they’re doing. They know what kind of remedy a well-sculpted dance floor can make.

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Have you found openness or playtime or joy on the dancefloor? At a club or maybe in more formal dancing? Does dancing bring you (or your characters) into your skin in a way that works, or a way that’s frightening (or both, or…)? Can you take ten minutes with this today (or more, if possible)? Write about the dance floor, the music, the movement, the smells, the lights — write whatever comes for you as you consider this prompt.

Thank you for the generous presence you have allowed yourself to reoccupy. Thank you for your movements today, your brilliant stretching, your song, your words.

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