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  • laurasofiazep

This Skin is Our Essence

1, 2, 3 Step!

4, 5, 6 Turn!

7 and 8 Hips!

I picture the steps in my head and I imagine myself moving swiftly, like a silk scarf blowing in the wind. I look around at everyone around me and I can’t help but compare. I immediately stop myself. Breathe. I remind to feel it out, to sense every gesture and speak through my own energy.

I try it out and it doesn’t look quite like the movie scene I played in my mind. I try again and again and again. I feel the frustrating sweat running through every inch of my body. It’s distracting me and pissing me off, but I keep trying. Step, turn, hips! Step, step, step, turn, hips!

I feel tears this time building rapidly behind my eyes and they nag at me. They are yelling at the worn down version of me that is taking over and tearing me apart. Wait a minute. Why am I doing this, again? I suddenly taste blood and realise I’m biting my lip really hard. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Take a deep breath. Let it out loudly. Step - breathe - turn - breathe - hips - breeaaathe. Better.

Great question, so why do I do this? Why do I choose to spend a Friday evening dancing, putting my body through a harsh workout, mentally torturing myself over and over? I lick my bleeding lips and stare at my reflection in the studio’s mirror. I look around at these beautiful companions and I don’t have to think for long.

I do this because it sets me free. I dance and I push myself in this because I know nothing else that makes me feel like ….. Dancing is kind of like a near-death experience in the sense that, as scary as it may seem, you feel more alive than ever before. It’s a dance with life and death at the same time. They become one in this moment where you tease and you play and you feel both simultaneously. Life turns into a partner and death into a lover.

Every time I walk into that studio and feel small or intimidated I am obligated to push through it. There is no other option. I need to go through that sensation and keep going and still give my best. Every time I start counting in my head to start a performance I am shaking with death, but a deep breath brings life into the conversation and then we start this beautiful dance. Just the three of us, like old friends, telling each other folk tales, remembering stories.

I still feel like crying, but I stop myself because crying over failure is crying over something that doesn’t exist. And that’s okay, but that’s also pointless. There’s no room for pointless today, so I choose to take another deep breath and enjoy this made-up failure before I go home.

Step - breathe - turn - smile - hips - breathe! Step, step, step - wow. Much better. It’s still not the dramatic movie scene I pictured earlier, but it feels different. I am enjoying myself, aren’t I? I laugh at myself and look around one more time. We are all the same. We are all terrified human beings who choose to not allow that fear consume our essence. Who are we as dancers? Who are we as people? Who do we want to become through this beautiful art form? What persona comes out when we perform?

These gatherings have become a birthing nest for us to become new people. Not in the way of pretending, but in the way of shedding those hurt layers we no longer need. Every week we thank one or two of them and leave them behind. I have found myself crying tears of joy countless times. The lights are turned off and we become these gorgeous creatures, dangerous to the touch but inevitable to stare at in awe. We are slowly creating this fresh skin that is ours, no one else’s. The fact that we can do this altogether is absolutely beautiful and it gets me every fucking time.

Having said all this, I dance for different reasons and every day there is a different one. However, I certainly do not dance to be perfect at it or to be better than the girl next to me - even if sometimes it gets inevitable to fall into that dark place. Dancing is entirely personal and the biggest challenge is to overcome your own mental obstacles. Dancing becomes the main channel to decongest all those stuck emotions you cannot digest or even name. Dancing becomes emotional and raw and completely anti-aesthetic, ironically. It is always beautiful, though, because it is always genuine and it always leads to a fiery finish line.

I have gone through a rocky process with dance throughout the years. As in life, it is not linear and it has layers upon layers of complex emotions and steps - pun intended. Any discipline requires we pinpoint the intention and dance is no exception. Motivation is simply not enough. Sometimes you won't feel like going to the studio because life happens and many factors get in the way. Purpose, however, brings you back to your initial intention. Why is all this effort worth it? The result is important and improving is a big part of it but, above all, I love the way I transcend through movement. It creates a ripple effect in my own life and hopefully in others' lives and there is nothing out there that can compare to that feeling, the sexy sensation of seducing life and creating my own energy to express myself no matter what I'm going through. THAT is precisely why I will never stop dancing. Why do you dance?


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Thanks, darling.


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