The Healing Art of Dance

The Healing Art of Dance

June is an emotional month. Four years ago, in a span of just 22 days I underwent a mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsies, MRI, further biopsies, genetic testing, diagnosis, and then a mastectomy. It was a whirlwind of fearful emotions. It was all too raw and real. And each June I relive these moments – these cancerversaries – yet with each passing year I find myself pausing, taking time to reflect, and focusing on all of the healing that I have done. It has been a journey.

Throughout my journey I have worked hard at finding ways to heal. I recognized when I needed help and I had the courage to seek it. I implemented coping strategies into my daily routine. I journal. I blog. I stay active. I have massage therapy and physiotherapy to heal the wounds. I build new memories around difficult cancerversaries, and I am learning to harness the power of essential oils – for mind and for body. All of these beneficial remedies have encouraged healing, yet reflecting on this, I realize that I have neglected to share [with you] a form of healing that has given me great joy – it is my experience, pleasure, and gratitude for dance.

Yes. Dance. It is my antidote to pain. It is my preferred form of exercise. It is my soulful place.

A little over a year ago when I was searching for a dance studio [for my son], I found Propel Dance Centre. I reached out, and I was immediately impressed with Savannah’s warmth, helpfulness, guidance, and knowledge. After several conversations with her, I knew this was the right studio for Liam. So, I enrolled him in dance class. Over the course of the year I watched him blossom under their guidance and tutelage, and as a result, his love for dance is colossal. But little did I know that Propel Dance Centre would profoundly impact me.

I have always loved to dance. It is one of the things I miss most about performing in live theatre. I miss dancing – and I miss dance class. I started late in life (I was 19yrs old when I took my first ballet class), but I worked hard, and from my hard work and dedication I steadily improved. I quickly realized how very personal dancing is. You work within your body’s limitations, always challenging your boundaries, but remaining attentive to your body’s needs. And with dedication, commitment, and consistency, you will feel the changes within and witness the strength from without. Nothing has offered me such pleasure and such peace as dance.

Post-baby, and then post-cancer, I simply stopped dancing. I was scared to do anything that may cause me pain or setback. I committed myself to my workout routine, which was carefully developed for me by a team of Kinesiologists; and my physiotherapy. I did not deviate from my prescribed exercises. But I felt restless. I felt unfulfilled. Every Saturday I watched as Liam came out of his dance class – face aglow with pleasure – and I realized just how much I missed dancing.

Taking courage, I once again reached out to Savannah, peppering her with questions about the Adult Barre class that her studio offers. I explained my setbacks and my challenges. I was concerned about how my personal limitations would affect my ability to partake in the adult dance class. Savannah assured me that they would be able to teach within my limitations as well as provide a safe class environment. I took a leap of faith and I took a class. I have never regretted it.

The Adult Barre class at Propel Dance Centre has been an integral part of my healing process. I have regained full range of motion, mobility, and endurance. My body is stronger. And the beauty of the class is that you don’t actually require any previous dance training. You just need to have a basic love of dance and a desire to be healthy. The class provides an all-around workout, challenging your endurance, your stability, your flexibility, and your strength. Each week I experience harmony, joy, and gratitude all while working within my limitations, very gently pushing my boundaries.

I am healing through dance.

Just as parents provide for their child, they must also provide for themselves. You need to take the time to do what you love. You need to give your body and soul a safe place for healing, for harmony, for balance. My safe place is at Propel. Go out and find yours. And perhaps, just perhaps, I will see you in class oneday soon.

The Healing Art of Dance. Published by Crystal Joy Hall

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