May 21, 2014

#81: Prepare to 'Touchdown'!

My First Non-Swing
Book is Almost Here!
You're sure to do impossible things, if you know where to start. -Don Bluth

I remember teaching a Critique Session workshop at an event a couple of years ago. There was a woman who clearly loved dancing, clearly felt a lot of joy and happiness once the music was on, but danced with her head down and her shoulders up.

I could tell she was wounded. I could tell it would be hard, emotionally, for her to drop her guard while she danced. It would be hard for her to stop hiding from her partner and only letting her excitement peep out down below in her legs through footwork.

It didn't make for good partner dancing at all. The behavior would have to go. She wanted to be better, but I knew that would mean she would have to be brave - she would have to let go, and let her partner in - let the world in - to her little world of excitement.

As I stood up to start the critique, knowing I would need to be gentle about it, I shared with the group what I loved about her dancing. They seemed shocked. All they saw was her protective mechanisms. They had missed the joy.

So I made a point of it. She glowed. She was so happy to be seen so clearly - to be so well understood.

But then I shared with her the critique. I said she would need to lower her shoulders, move them back and let her clavicles be seen. And then, there it was - just as I started to say, "Now I know this will be hard for you to do- it will feel a lot more vulnerable..." her eyes pricked with tears.


I didn't point this out. No one else noticed, and I touched her hand to let her know she was safe. Then she smiled, and nodded, as I continued the critique, for the class, gently.

But it didn't go without notice. When I made the statement about being vulnerable, a man to my left suddenly sat up and looked at me with eye popped wide... and exclaimed, without thinking of anyone else in the circle, throwing his hands wide and straight out into the air above him... "Hey!!! That's... that's... PSYCHOLOGY!!!"

Um... Exactly.

Is this news to us all? Dance teachers get all of life poured out in front of us as students let their bodies move, flow and fly. But half of my job has always been counseling or therapy of some kind- always! When I taught high school in the inner city schools, elementary in the nice schools, private lessons at my studio and coaching routines for the WCS community...

...even these Notes - you know what they are. They aren't just dance. They are a lifeline. They are your tugboat. They are your way home.

And now I aim my bow higher - I move out to water a bit wider. It is long, long, long LONG overdue.

There's still a bit left to do before I leave swing completely. I'l always dance it. I'll always talk about it. But before I do anymore, I'm writing this... a book about life and the lessons I've learned to live it fully and live it well, without regrets, from top to bottom.

People ask about us all the time, Nick and I. They think we're crazy, but they think we're cool. They think we're different, but they think we're free. They think we've done more then they thought anyone could ever do in a lifetime and, quite frankly, we're just getting started.

This book is our secret. This book tells it all. I'm so excited to write it and I'm so excited to share it with you.

I will keep you posted and please feel free to join us in joy, prayer and good thoughts as I bring this project through to completion.

Love to you all,
Katherine Eastvold

From Weekly Note #81: Prepare to Touchdown! (A Special Announcement). Released December 2013. Revised and updated.