By Johanna Leseho, Sandra McMaster
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Extra resources for Dancing on the Earth: Women’s Stories of Healing and Dance
This codification can facilitate bodily discipline, grace, beauty, and flow and encompasses classifications ranging from recreational activity to fine art. In modern dance, however, the only limitations placed on movement are those imposed by the anatomical structure of the body. Any type of movement is valid if it portrays what the dancer or choreographer intends to communicate. This gives it the freedom for external manifestation of internal impulses, thoughts, inclinations, emotions, and attitudes, however grotesque or beautifully endearing they may be.
At that young age, I was completely taken with the breathtaking colors illuminated by the sun’s rays streaming through the stained glass windows; their brilliant colors bursting forth effervescently. The graceful lines of the elegant statuary reminded me of the women and men whose lives of love, service, and devotion were models for us to try to emulate as we grew up. The walls were graced with elegant paintings, exposing me to this art form for the first time. Inspired by this beauty at such a young age, little did I realize then that it was the art of dance that would one day open so many spiritual and communal doors for me.
I realize that we are part of a lineage where mothers taught their daughters about life through music and dance. We are a link in the lineage, which celebrates life’s transitions, joys, and sorrows with dance. On a more personal note, I made the decision to not have children at the age of fifteen. Today, I have many daughters. What a trick Margita and the Universe played on me, to be initiated into the role of mother through something as simple and profound as a dance class for little girls. I reluctantly said yes to the responsibility of being a teacher and role model to these children.