Finding Our Way Home Through Trauma Informed Dance
By Payton Kennedy, SHE RECOVERS Dance Creator | SHE RECOVERS® Foundation
National Dance Day is an annual celebration dedicated to dance, that encourages individuals of all ages to incorporate dance into their lives. By creating a focused day of celebration to show support for dance as a valuable form of exercise and of artistic expression, American Dance Movement aims to educate the public about dance and its many benefits, as well as make dance accessible and inclusive to everyone. American Dance Movement (ADM) believes that participation in dance (such as trauma informed dance) connects the mind and body, promotes health and wellbeing, connects us with others, and enables us to find joy through dance and movement – and so does SHE RECOVERS!
The Pillars of SHE RECOVERS Dance
A sense of curiosity is part of what makes the ‘conscious’ in a conscious dance practice. We lay our body down, we sit in a variety of shapes and forms, we stand, we sway and jump, shake and wiggle. Why do embodied shapes, flowing transitions and vigorous movements produce such an emotional wellspring in us? It’s a fascinating journey and proof that our mind, body, emotions, and spirit are intrinsically connected! Tapping into the right hemisphere of our brain to access creative exploration brings a deeper sense of embodiment. It may take some time to create the space we need to let ourselves truly feel into how we want and need to move in our practice. With curiosity as a guide we keep at it and we keep dancing!
There is saying that it is no coincidence ‘dance’ is found in the word ‘avoidance’. The experience of dancing for many can be frightening; there may be shyness and shame around it. Fear of exposure or even connection with our physical body in a public setting is enough to send people running. I often say that on the other side of all those feelings is a spaciousness where one may begin to find some freedom. If we approach dance with the same kind of willingness we bring to our recovery, we may be surprised at what we can create for ourselves. When we find freedom on the dance floor, we find freedom in all areas of our life!
Recently I was asked to choose three words to communicate the experience I want to share when teaching and facilitating. It took me no time to come up with AUTHENTIC, EMBODIED, and AGELESS. In my 50’s, I dance my way into this vision of what ultimately feels like home, like the place I started when I came into this world. I invite you today to create your own vision and explore how your physical body and movement can help take you home. Rumi, a 13th-century poet, scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic, believed passionately in the use of poetry, music, and dance as the sacred path and I believe it truly is. I end this bit of writing today with his timeless poem:
“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
SHE RECOVERS Dance promotes the exploration and embodiment of willingness, curiosity, acceptance, joy, and freedom. Join us on Sundays via Zoom at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern, in the SHE RECOVERS Dance Group, or in-person at a SHE RECOVERS retreat/event coming soon!
If you aren’t ready to dance, that’s ok too.
Connecting one-on-one with a therapist may be a great place to start. SHE RECOVERS Partner BetterHelp provides a network of licensed, accredited, and experienced therapists who can help you with a range of issues including substance use, depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, loss, and more. Until December 31, 2021, BetterHelp is providing the SHE RECOVERS Community with a 35% discount on the first month of therapy. SHE RECOVERS is grateful to BetterHelp for making a $100,000 donation in support of our mission in 2021.