In a recent Sheila Kelley S Factor dance class, our instructor was quoted as saying…..
Let Your Body Wail.
This class is full of joy, celebration and all things sexy. However, our bodies, our thoughts, our experiences and our moods are varied. Sometimes in class I am fiesty, coy or downright pissed the fuck off. Exploring these emotions and feelings through movement have been eye opening, refreshing, theraputic and healing.
I immediately am thinking of our “Sentimental” assignment, in which I danced to Adele’s “Someone Like You” while wearing the dress I wore on a first date with a man who’s no longer in my life. The extent to which he has affected me can not be contained in language and in the past year, I had been struggling with memories, desires and the endless possibilities of the future. I’ve filled journals with my musings. I’ve talked the ears off my closest confidants. I have laid in bed sobbing and yearning. And on one too many occassions, I have even reached out to him. At times, I just wish I didn’t feel a thing.
But then, an assignment of sentiment in dance class let me close the door. Who knew wearing the dress, hearing Adele and dancing goodbye would allow me to move forward.
These classes heal. They are a balm over the places that have been deserted and are in urgent need of care.
This most recent class was no exception from this phenomenom. We were only in the beginning of our warm up and Jill said, “Let Your Body Wail.”
This particular week, class was bittersweet. We had just discovered that one of the original sister’s who has been with us since the beginning of level one would no longer be taking classes with us. After more than eight months, there have been five of us who have gone through this journey together and starting next week, there will only be four of us. A huge part of being able to continue week after week has been because of the bond we’ve shared since day one. Losing one of the girls is harder than it may seem. There is simply a sadness there.
There was also one classmate who had missed a lot of classes for personal reasons outside of her control. This week, however, she was able to join us… but only for part of the class. Before class began, I ran to hug her in the locker room. “We’ve missed you. We ask about you each week!” I exclaimed. She sat down and began to tell me about some of the things she was experiencing. At some points as she shared her story, she cried and I had to fight back tears as I listened.
These two things permeated the air.
Once class began we began to discuss our excitement for level five. One of the original CORE girls talked about how she wasn’t sure if she was going to come back. “Maybe I’ll take a break,” she said. “WHY!!!” we all asked. She explained how there were certain moves or tricks she still struggled with. She felt stuck and was afraid to keep moving forward with the class. Before she could even finish, every single women in the class explained how we all struggle with certain things, even after years of practice but we each encouraged her to stick with it.
Another person mentioned how they were in a certain mood that particular day. In the past few months more than five of their friends had left New York and there was just this feeling lingering in the air.
After class, there was even another girl who mentioned she’d been in the same dance class for two years with the same girls and recently, she had to find a new class because the girls had all gone their seperate ways. Whether it was due to schedule conflicts, changes in lifestyles or moving away. So this particular girl found herself beginning again.
These additional three things permeated the air.
I suppose our instructor could see this. There were just these moments in class, when the weight of the world still existed even though we had stripped ourselves and exhaled all that we carried. It was in this moment during our warm ups when the instructor said to “Let Your Body Wail.” And perhaps because we didn’t want to cry and we were too tired to scream but we couldn’t hold it in, we let our bodies express the feelings.
This probably meant different things for each woman in the class. I took it to mean, that if I couldnt use sound or words or anything except my movement, I was going to let that express my wailing. This meant I pushed myself as far as I could, as big as I could and as much as I could. I let my body say what I didn’t have the words to speak. And somehow the sadness was pushed out. It worked. By the time we got around to pole work and dancing, I was as good as new. Ready to devour anything in my path! (I’ll have to tell you about my strip tease later!)
I’m grateful that there’s room for me to express all sides of myself in class. It’s not just about being sexy. It’s about being real, authentic and in the moment.
Sometimes our inner siren sings sweet songs of seduction but then there are times when our sirens need to wail.
In this dance, I believe they let their bodies wail. I realize I couldn’t find any lyrical pole dancing videos that seemed to work with this theme. I suppose I’ll have to add it to my checklist of dances to record when I start uploading my own videos.
SLY’s other S FACTOR WRITINGS