Dance is only for my “real life”

I miss dancing. One thinks that having a profession as dance movement therapist would allow me to dance enough, but it is not always the case. Having this profession is also slightly or quite unsafe (there are not many vacancies in general), so I decided to buy an appartment in Amsterdam in the beginning of the year with the ilusion of having a safe place and a safe pension.

Therefore, I have more fix costs and less money, and therefore I do not allow myself to enroll to (somewhat expensive) dance lessons in Amsterdam and therefore I complain that I do not dance and I complain that I miss dancing.

But is this just simple bullshit?

Yes. Completely. This is one rational explanation I give myself for not dancing.

And I think of Ina*.

Ina is a woman that came to dance movement therapy, with whom I barely moved. We mainly sat silently waiting for a topic to arise, tried to identify emotions and practiced short breathing exercises.

During one of our sessions something happenned that left me very touched and moved for several days. After having spoken about the difficulties to experience joy in her life, I propose ideas for the closure of the session. Something more experiential, more in movement to practice giving herself something.

  • I ask if she would like to write a short letter to herself, as she is a very intelligent and rational woman. She rejects.
  • I offer to paint a small postcard for herself. A bit more risky option as it involves creativity and self expression. I am not surpirsed when she says no.
  • My last option, definetely the most unlikely to be accepted, is if we could dance. Just sitting down, a short dance as a finishing experience.

She smiles.

She remains silent.

With big melancholy she says that dancing is for her “real life”. Not for this life now, dance is only for her real life, for the life that she could have had.  For the life when she had so many plans, when she was still strong.

She agrees to dance. I almost can´t believe it.

With Yann Tiersen´s soft music, she follows the movements of my arms and smiles. At some point I offer her to lead but she rejects. I try twice but she does not want, she rather follows me. At the end she shares very surprised that she liked it a lot and does not understand why. I invite her not to find reasons for everything and simply keep the sensation. She answers that once, half life time ago somebody told her  exactly the same.

Unfortunately, it was the only time we danced in the whole treatment.


And me? Am I not living a real life?

Why am I waiting and complaining for not dancing? Why do I criticize myself for not having the money or the discipline or the dance background or education, or simply energy to go out and dance?

Am I also between those black lines in the painting? Constrained in myself?

Why do we leave things that we want to do for other moments? For better moments? For other lives?

The treatment with Ina was closed two years ago but I have decided to call her and ask if she wants to dance one more time with me. 

*All names are pseudonyms. This short fragments of therapy sessions serve only the pourpose of: -My own reflection in relation to the situation of my clients and – Ilustration of what dance movement therapy can be. No fragment contains any identifiable information. In cases of further disclosure formal consent is asked to the client and the exact content is decided together.

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