Release your inner child!

Release your inner child, even if that child is the L’enfante terrible!

We are so terribly serious in our lives and in our dance. We are on time, in charge, ever-present and prepared. We multi-task even when we are multi-tasking… We feel we must never fail, we must always be “on”, and there is no time for unexpected silly fun. You see, we even plan out our fun time.

Remember when you used to see imaginary critters down the street?
Remember when you used to see imaginary critters down the street?

As dancers, we carry our adult seriousness and responsibility into our dance and our dance practice. There is of course nothing wrong with this…we need to be serious and responsible with our performances and practice, however, we also desperately need to PLAY! Our inner child is crying out for us to have some fun, to lighten up, to maybe even throw an occasional temper tantrum!

I have been thinking about my inner child a lot lately, and especially after my return from the Asheville Bellydance Festival. (The Festival was amazing BTW! I met so many talented dancers and instructors. I met so many good people. I even performed in the Saturday Night Show.) Almost the entire time though, I had on my planner hat. I took notes about how it was run. I also had my very serious performer hat on. (Don’t worry, it is a sparkly hat.) I was standing back stage, extremely nervous, going through my routine in my head, and simultaneously making myself sick to my stomach. Thank goodness my good friend shook me up a bit, told me to relax, and go and have some fun…just dance like you don’t care! So I did and since then I have been thinking that my inner child needs to break free more often than she does…

So…here is a list of some ideas (for dancers in particular) for you and your inner child to try:

1. Dance to something you would never dance to professionally, close your eyes, and then go for it! Shake everything…and don’t care! Just do it! Be in the NOW!

Obligatory picture of dancing cats...and  people dancing like they just don't care!
Obligatory picture of dancing cats…and people dancing like they just don’t care!

2. Clap your hands!!! Before or for your warm-up, start clapping your hands over your head, enjoy it, make a lot of noise! Enjoy the smallest of simple pleasures! I taught a drum solo in my class that involved a lot of clapping and we always felt incredible when practicing or performing it!

Even the ancient egyptians clapped ;)
Even the ancient Egyptians clapped when they danced 😉

3. Why walk when you can gallop? Pull a Holy Grail and start galloping down the street. I promise you, it is exhilarating and will bring a big smile to your face! And perhaps, a smile or look of horror from passers-by!

4. COLORBreak out the crayons or markers, buy yourself a crazy coloring book if you need a wee bit of structure, pour yourself a glass of wine, and go to town. Coloring is completely underrated! 

5. LAUGH! Laugh out loud till you have to hold your middle to keep it all in. Laugh during a meeting. (Come on, you know you want to…) Laughing triggers the release of those feel good chemicals in your body and it also reminds us of times past, when we laughed when we wanted to rather than trying to stifle it behind a cough.

What do you do to release that inner child? 

Janim dances with two of her little princesses!
Janim (me) releasing my inner child…with the children!

2 Replies to “Release your inner child!”

  1. What lovely ideas 🙂 It’s so important to keep a sense of playfulness in life and in dance. I like to sometimes get my dance students to imagine being different characters (e.g. a tiger, or a little girl skipping through a field) to get them to relax and enjoy moving rather than constantly worrying about technique. On my own, I also like using mental images sometimes for weird improvisation exercises (I find Eric Franklin’s books really useful for this) that can be fun and playful, e.g. putting on some good music and imagining I’m a leaf blowing in the wind or dancing on top of a giant whale or something… Pulling funny faces at myself in the studio mirrors and making myself laugh… And of course, randomly running or leaping about when nobody is watching, though I’m not sure I have the courage to gallop up the street just yet 😀

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