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The Art of Dance

The Art of Dance

written by Katrina February 22, 2019

A rollercoaster of emotions

I remember when I made the decision to end a toxic relationship. It was just weeks before the wedding. I was also in the midst of a new and growing relationship with God. I was an emotional wreck, riding on a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I felt liberated, like I was set free from bondage. The next, I felt afraid and vulnerable, like I just jumped out of a boat into the ocean with no life-jacket. I decided that I would try new ways to channel my energy. I started a fitness bootcamp, took tennis lessons, bought books on faith and healing and my friend and I decided we would start taking classes on salsa dancing.

Dancing classes

We started classes every Monday after work. The dance studio was downtown Indianapolis and sat right above a Mexican restaurant. We would go to dance class and then after, would head downstairs to have dinner. When other people were dreading Mondays, we would look forward to them. What I didn’t expect is the breakthrough that I would experience in my spiritual walk during my classes.

In partner dancing, we began learning twists, turns and spins. My dance instructor looked at me in the eyes and said, “You like to be the leader, I see.” He told me that I was trying to dance on my own instead of waiting for his lead. He then proceeded to explain that traditionally in Latin dance, the man is the leader and the woman is the follower. The man guides the woman by giving her “claves.” These claves are little tugs, pushes, or checks given at the right time in the momentum of the dance that let the follower know when to turn, hesitate, dip, cross-body, etc. He explained that due to her trusting his lead, it will remove the pressure of her doing it all by herself which will make her efforts appear effortless. He concluded by saying,

“Latin dancing is like a beautiful painting. The woman is the picture and the man is the frame. His support highlights and enhances her beauty.”

I realized at that point that my dancing style was a physical manifestation of my core issues in relationships. I was always trying to lead and as a result, I attracted men who were followers.

Dancing in unison

As the classes progressed, I learned more and more about trust, submission and letting go of the need to be in control. I was also recognizing when others had trouble with their role. We switched dance partners several times each class and I often had a partner that had an issue with leading as much as I had an issue with following. They would wait on me to lead instead of taking the lead. When I would switch my partner to a man that was strong in leading, I would let out a sigh with relief because my role was much easier when I had a stronger partner. What a concept.

Marriage and relationships are much like a dance. Dancing without assuming your role makes the entire performance sloppy and fall apart. It interrupts the harmony, balance and cohesion of the pair. But when you dance in unison, it is like the melody of a bird’s song after being released from a cage.

Lessons learned

As a result of these classes, the lessons that I learned poured over to other areas in my life. I started recognizing when I was attempting to revert back to the “control freak” and also recognized a lack of leadership in others. God is always speaking to us and through us. Understanding that we were made in His image, it makes sense that we become more like Him when we receive and absorb His wisdom through beautiful gifts such as art, dance, music and writing. 

Please take a listen to this beautiful song about following the leadership of Christ and letting go of the need to fight against it by Steffany Gretzinger, called “We Dance”

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.” 1 Corinthians 11:11

Read also: Equal importance, different role

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