On being fearless

At risk of sounding like the fired ‘Suralan’ Apprentice, a journey starts with the first step.

I took the first small steps to becoming a DMP when I observed the transformational power of dance whilst teaching different groups of women Egyptian dance. They came in all shapes and sizes, different ages, different abilities, different expectations and lots of baggage which wasn’t left on chairs at the side of the room with the shoes and outdoor clothes. Prior to that, my own feelings about dance and the emotions it disturbed, soothed or amplified, had been confined to myself. Witnessing bravery, fear, resistance, anxiety, joy and connection made me acknowledge the power of dance for emotional insight that went way beyond the studio walls.

That observation ignited a fire, fuelled further by experiencing verbal therapy myself, and studying for a counselling qualification. I found there is so much more to say than just words – words hide feelings, confuse and obfuscate: the body doesn’t lie – or lie still.

So, here I am, three years on with an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy from Goldsmiths, London (there’s another here in LGC and it wasn’t there to avoid any confusion); I am truly grateful I had the opportunity to take the J-word with such a wonderful, inspiring and supportive group. DMPs rock (and sway, and twist and jump and so much more).

I took a huge leap of faith to apply for the MA – not having a first degree but professional quals from my past life – and plunged into this creative, exploratory, revelatory world.

It’s not been a journey so far without fear: at times I have faced painful self-truths and internal conflict and shredded many a tissue. Fearless? Perhaps a little: I can face uncertainty with more equanimity and less panic than before and can almost enjoy the chaos that creativity needs to breathe.

I am now embarking on a new life as an RDMP – thank you ADMP UK – and if not making a step towards work in my chosen field than I am at least preparing my feet and choosing the right shoes. For those who know me well, THAT is very important and a potent symbol.

I am starting where I am, using what I have, and doing what I can, to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, and ready to take my own path less travelled, wherever it might lead. This is a lovely pic of Niki de Saint Phalle’s ‘Three Graces’: to me it depicts the joy and freedom of dance, acceptance of body and self, connection, empathy and love.


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