Dance Break: Self-Care Tool

Adult life conspires to keep us still. Quiet. Controlled. Well-behaved. Appropriate. Yes, there are times and places where if you don’t conform to that, you are in trouble. But, all the time? No, no, no! Darlings, this will not do!

But, where and when and why and how does one enjoy a dance break? Must you wait for a wedding or a cruise or a club outing or a dance class? Many people I talk with say, “I used to dance” or “I’m not coordinated” or “I don’t have anyone to dance with” or “Yeah, sure, I will dance… after a few drinks … and then I think I’m the best dancer in the room.” Just for now, try dancing alone. Try dancing without self-judgment. Try it without sedation.

Where? If this is new, anywhere that you will not be interrupted for the length of two songs. Once you are comfortable, anywhere that you feel free to be yourself and will not be stopped or confronted by others.

When? So many options! Most recorded songs are about 3 minutes long. Got 6 minutes? Time enough for a dance break.

Why? 1) You have been sitting too long. (2) You are bored and feel you might fall asleep and think the walk to the refrigerator or vending machine would be the cure to wake you up. (3) A powerful emotion has hold of you and you don’t quite know what to do with it but you are tempted to sublimate, i.e. slam a beer or throw the emotions like a javelin at someone else or start broadcasting self-hating tapes in your head.

How? If you simply need to move or energize yourself, the prescription is simple. Play two songs that rev your motor. This is highly individual. Could be “Get Up Offa That Thing” or “Born To Be Wild” or “Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy” or “Defying Gravity” or anything that makes the pulse stir. Pick two. Go! Caveat: You really, truly only have time for one song? Go! It’s better than none.

If you are dealing with overwhelming emotions, especially negative ones, the prescription offers a bit more guidance. While talk and journaling can be rich fields for problem-solving and evolution, we must not forget we are physical creatures and our emotions are also embodied. We are not just massive brains being perambulated around by skeletons from one sitting surface to another. Two songs are required for this kind of dance break.

The first song should mimic in tone and pacing the feeling you struggle with or that you cannot express verbally or physically in a safe, comfortable way around others right now. This may require a bit more exploration of your playlists or CD collection. Music is the universal language and it speaks every intonation on the emotion scale. Grief? Anger? Fear? Frustration? All covered. Move freely in a way you feel connects to those notes. Let it go! If you are in a good space to vocalize, that can be a helpful add-on. It may feel weird to groan and moan and weep and wail and gibber to music but the aftereffect is a fantastic feeling of lightness and tension released. At the end of the Emotion Releasing Song, take a few deep breaths. Odds are your mind will feel pleasantly blank. The second part of the prescription is to follow up the releasing song with a positive song that brings you back into a pleasurable state of inhabiting your body. A slow-ish, sensual song helps many people come back from the negative place they were in with the releasing song. (We want to release, not wallow or ruminate.) Think Barry White or make-out music. Some people will prefer an uplifting, soaring song, perhaps a classical piece or an aria. In these precious six minutes or so, you are movement, you are music. Your body will love you for it.

Dispense your dance breaks as needed. Sometimes, you may need a Dance Party.

Author: DancerAndDasher

Strength and wellness coach. Yoga teacher. Belly dance fitness instructor. Ballroom dancer. The LUVMVMT umbrella covers most of my recent writing. I have also shared my personal dance and yoga journeys on the following blogs: "Diary of a Mad Dancer" is my journey to the competition floor of glamorous dancesport. Yes, it's a tale that probably should have begun with dance-mad parents urging on their darling lass of three, in Europe. Instead: Virginia, suburbia, mid-life. It's a dream come true. Sometimes with all the logic and consistency of a slumbering mind. "Dance of Life Yoga" shares the beauty, peace and awareness that yoga can bring into your life. It transformed mine in ways I never anticipated.

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