“When the music and dance create with accord….their magic captivates both the heart and mind.” — Jean-Georges Noverre
The integration of music and movement begins in childhood. Though we may take these experiences of singing and dancing for granted, they shape us, encouraging cognitive growth, problem-solving, self-expression, social development, hand-eye coordination, balance and more.
When music and movement are intertwined, you can feel the rhythm, which can become innate when you’re exposed at an early age. The two are inexorably linked: listening to music activates areas in the brain that are used for movement and that’s why we are taught to “feel the music.” We do this through dance.
For me, as a child, dance, gymnastics and singing had my whole heart. I learned all the words to songs, just so I could dance to them. I don’t think I knew what I was doing except being happy and in the moment, yet it was so special and what made me shiny and bright.
Going to the ballet and seeing plays and Broadway shows also seemed so magical to me. I was transported by these experiences, sensing the underlying passion of the performers as they moved or sang to the music. As I grew older, I channeled that fascination into going to concerts and being a cheerleader, which included a lot of dance, music and practice. It felt so innate to who I was—a part of my identity.
But I lost a little of this as I grew older. I took dance classes here and there, but it wasn’t the same. That is, until I found yoga in my early 20s and that became my movement and music connection. That practice ignited something in me that felt similar to those childhood activities that shaped my world. I found my connection to myself and so much more.
Yoga connected me to my childhood and, ultimately, drove me to create a brand and collection that focuses on everything I wished I could have worn and also what works for today. At Live The Process, our first style was a leotard and bodysuit. Because what I wear when I practice is still as important to me as it was when I was a kid, dancing and competing.
A few years into creating the brand, I was introduced to the ladies from SkyTing which really opened my heart as they also came from that world of dance and made the transition into yoga. I haven’t relived my adolescence and gone to ballet classes or dance recently, but I know I really want to. As I think about it now, I’m not exactly sure what is preventing me and maybe that is why I wanted to focus on this topic this month. It has been on my mind and, with this, I will make it my mission to go. Maybe my resistance is about a fear of going back to such a significant time in my life—will I still be good? Will I know what to do? Will my body move the same way? For me, movement is also about self-knowledge.
I love dancing on my own, but to be in a group atmosphere is a bit intimidating. But, on the flip-side, our bodies hold onto memories and, when we tap into them and listen to the music, our bodies do the rest. As the iconic Martha Graham once said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.”
So, for this month, I wanted to delve into this connection between music and movement. I am surrounded by friends and people I admire who have created rituals and businesses that literally focus on just this. They found their callings in creating joyful moments, providing that dopamine rush to the brain that we all desire. I am in awe of what they have created, as it takes so much of them—their passion and love for music and dance that goes so far.
Dancing free of self-consciousness and thoughts about tomorrow is the most present thing you can do. Get lost! It’s a creative process that helps you get to know yourself better, while captivating the heart and mind. Enhance your now by bringing dance and movement in. It may be just what you need.