Every year, at the precipice of spring,
I get a little cerebral,
grieving the loss of those summer-grown ego feathers
under the snowy lay of winter.
Having shed so much,
I become uncertain what to wear
and where to stand
so I teeter at life’s threshold,
underdressed and chilly,
asking for guidance but taking none of it,
choosing instead to laugh my grief loose,
making funny word-things,
a slow-cooked porridge of sense;
my heart grows slowly back again.
Dearest strangest city,
In love with you
I’ve lost myself;
On the train, my being
retreats from a face full
of street lights, falling
backward into an empty heart
than the canyons of the West
from two feet longing
for the red mother’s clay.
There we breathe, alone.
There we cry.
There my heart fills again
with the vast
oceanic question I call
I consider death.
I allow the earth to heal me slowly.
At the end of the day
and the end of the year
and the end of this life
and all things I know,
I allow trust to replace vision.
The night sky’s deep celestial face emerges
again from behind its sunny blue façade.
What is dream but a midnight
porthole into invisible infinity?
Tonight, the bumblebees that fly
around my vulnerability, stop
allowing the space to yawn
wide and open.
A cozy tide beckons release
of these weary lids,
and the dream.
~ Julia Daye
When people think of dance they usually think of a certain structure, of choreography, of a time and a place and a ‘look’ that society has assigned to this thing we call ‘art.’ We are conditioned to think of it in this one narrow way, the way we are conditioned with anything else, internalizing our own society’s painfully specific representation of that which is movement.
When it comes to physical gesture and embodiment, we begin to think that any deviation from this ‘look’ is ‘ugly’ or ‘ungraceful.’ I’m ungraceful, we say, I can’t dance. However, that benchmark structure against which we are comparing our own physical gesture was created by somebody, in his or her body through movement that felt subjectively good. And just like an outfit might fit one person, you trying to adapt what worked for somebody else is like trying to wear a stolen outfit. It may work for your body, it may not. And whether is does or not doesn’t really matter.
I think that healing and empowerment through movement can come through through a dismissal of these arbitrary benchmarks and structures, this idea of falling out from under your brain and just moving. Moving the way your body wants to move and express itself without the rigid mindful skeleton of what looks good or what someone else told you to do, or what you’ve learned is ‘graceful’ or ‘attractive.’ Every single body is different. The body can create its own gesture of healing when given freedom of movement expression.