What Dance Teaches Us About Relationships

expressI feel so alive I glow. I’m in the zone. I lose all track of time.

The connection with myself, with my dance partner, with the music, with the floor, with the other dancers, with the onlookers –with everything!– is absolutely electric. It’s the very definition of mindfulness for me. It’s not possible to be more present then when I’m dancing. 

Dance has been my teacher, the dance floor my classroom. Everything I learned there continues to apply to my life as a whole.

Dancing has taught me about initiative, courage, authenticity, flexibility, creativity, risk-taking, individuality, community, perseverance, mutuality, connection, relationship, mindfulness, passion, and so much more.

Dancing is about relaxing, going with the flow, taking the moments as the come and loving them with all you’ve got. It’s about bringing all you are to the table and giving it voice –for yourself, your dance partner, and all those around you. If there is something I struggle with in the dancing world, it’s an issue for me in my larger life, too. Amazing.

 

The dance floor is a microcosm of life.

 
Dancing has made me conscious of my physical and emotional balance.

Physical balance is a crucial concept to any form of dance, solo or partner. Dancers will use phrases such as ‘be solid in your core’, ‘have a firm center’, and ‘hold your own weight’ among others that all mean the same thing: let’s you and I be balanced individually because otherwise we can’t balance ourselves together either.

Not being ‘solid in your own core’ makes you prone to injury and frustratingly unreliable to the person trying to interact with you. If you don’t maintain a ‘firm center’, you can’t truly express yourself because your flexibility and movement become limited. If you can’t ‘hold your own weight‘, you can’t hope to join in soulful rhythm with another dancer.

These same ideas apply to emotional balance. I am amazed at how, if I come onto the dance floor doubting myself, berating myself, or engaging in any other internal messages that boil down to you-are-so-stupid-and-worthless … it affects my dancing. When I lose my emotional balance and engage in destructive shaming and blaming, when I buy into negativity and lies, my physical balance will be off, too. I’ll dance horribly.

How does this translate to relationships? Well, we need to be emotionally balanced if we want to engage in a relationship — the proverbial dance — with someone else. We need to know our core selves, find balance at the center of who we really are, and carry our own weight — not expecting someone else to do our work for us.

Relationships, like dancing, aren’t so much about give-and-take as they are about mutual sharing.  It’s not sharing to rely too heavily on your partner. It’s not sharing to topple over and take him with you. It’s not sharing if you haven’t dug down into the depths of who you are, do the ongoing work of balancing what you find, and offer 100% of yourself to combine with 100% of his.

 

Two halves have little choice but to join, and yes, they do make a whole. But two wholes, then they coincide ... that is beauty, that is love. --Peter McWilliams

 

If you’re off-balance, on the dance floor or in life, there will be a lot of confusion and mixed signals. You might fall over onto others. You and others might get hurt. Your partner might feel taken advantage of, burdened, and overwhelmed. He might feel trapped and angry — you being imbalanced is limiting. He can’t lead you in a synchronized dance because you don’t have full range of motion. You might sense his frustration and feel abandoned and uncared for, which makes you defensive … but you are the one who needs to perform basic care for yourself.

 

On and off the dance floor,
we must know our core selves,
carry our own weight,
and center our own inner selves.

 

We must balance ourselves. No external source can tell us exactly what our balance is — it comes in figurative shapes and sizes as unique as each of us with our individual beliefs, preferences and personalities —but we ourselves know with certainty when we’ve found that sweet spot. It feels comfortable and true.

In dance, we practice finding our center of gravity – our balance – by doing simple closed-eye exercises, breathing deeply and shifting our weight around until we find that magical spot that feels safe, relaxed, and sturdy. In life, we need to do similar meditation exercises that help us hone in on our core where we feel a secure ‘Yes! This is it. This is me.’

 

There is peace in the center. Deep trust in your Self. Joy in living in the core of your being. There is rest, a sense of belonging, a calm.

 

It’s this mindful, internal balance that we want to cultivate.

When we succeed at finding and maintaining that ‘firm center’, it has tremendous benefits in our relationship — with whomever we are figuratively dancing. When we are balanced, we are free — free to express who we really are, free to ‘let loose’, throw in a little flair kick, if you will. We’re free to be joyously creative because we don’t have to worry about our basic safety any longer. We’ve developed beyond that.

So not only are we safe from getting hurt (or hurting others), but with the delicious freedom that comes from being balanced, we have a great span of options, we don’t feel stuck. It’s awesome — on the dance floor and in life — to not feel limited. Doesn’t everything worth having ultimately spring from the freedom to choose it, pursue it, grow it? What shall we create with our freedom?

 

Let's create environments around us in which we can can be fully present, being our authentic selves who dance with passion, bringing joy to all those out there on the floor by virtue of sharing our own inner joy.

 

Let’s balance ourselves, find that inner core, carry our weight … so we can dance in healthy, fulfilling, free, and joyous relationships with others. Let’s dive into our depths and uncover our authentic selves more and more. Let’s become a Truer Me and a Truer You. And may we inspire others to join us.

 
Warmly I extend my hand to you.  May I have this dance?

I pour myself into the music, into that moment on the floor
funnel my energy into our clasped hands, into your eyes
flash you my smile, laugh with the joy of being my ever-Truer Self
feel the rhythm, the flow, the incessant call to shine

Cares and woes melt away, there is no past nor future
It is me and you in the here and now.

As I let myself be Me, a flair kick here, an extra swivel there
heads turn to watch as we glide in wondrous synchronicity

A Truer Self glowing is always a marvel.

You pick up on it most of all
Smiling, loosening up, getting into the groove
Inspired to be your Truer You

Sharing with me Beauty at its purest and finest.

About the author

Laura Bennett

Laura Bennett

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5 Comments

  • I was so excited to begin reading this Blog, Laura! You are one of the most unique and wonderful people I’ve ever known, and I’m so happy that I get to share all the incredible awesomeness that is You with the rest of the world! I have confidence that the people who need to see this wealth of insight and inspiration will find this when they need to. So proud of you!!!

  • Thank you, Rachel. 🙂 I’ll soon post the copy I wrote a while ago about our friendship –looking forward to sharing your awesomeness with the world, too. 😉 I know that a lot of these same ideas have impacted you personally, too, so please help me spread the good word to others!

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