Basic Sanity with master teacher Andrea Juhan

23 August 2019

This is an excerpt from my journal during an Open Floor workshop called Basic Sanity with Andrea Juhan in Mountain View, March 22-25, 2018

It’s overcast. It rained last night in Mountain View, California. Early in the morning, I sit in a corner of the dark dance floor next to a pile of pillows. I’m overcome with tears of recognition. This is home—dance, transformation, an altar, and a smooth, worn wooden dance floor. The wood feels buttery and satiny under my bare feet. It’s worn by years of dancing, like a rock worn smooth by a stream. It’s worn by years of dancers’ sweat, tears, drool, hopes, fears, thoughts, and dreams. It feels so rich and full and I am overwhelmed.

As I sit in my corner, I see the volunteers in their sacred scurry as they prepare for the dancers arrival. I see the teachers sweetly talking and smiling behind the desk. I notice the lights have been turned on in the space; the heat beginning to warm my stiff fingers. I see students arrive, embrace, chat, stretch… I can feel the space transforming from dark and resting to alive and welcoming. I see all the things that I would do to create more order in the space, like sweeping the floor, rearranging the pillows, and keeping the dance floor silent and sacred. But I’m not in charge and I surrender to the messiness, or at least I try.

I think about where I was just a decade ago—trying desperately to find contentment through avenues that could never lead me there. And here it is. It seems simple, but it’s not easy. When I release the myriad of judgements I have, I find more similarities than differences. I find kindness, friendship, and yes, even love. I feel full.

I feel like a runny cake batter that, before being baked, needed containment and the protection of metal walls. But I’ve been baked. After three days of dancing, I now feel more like the fluffy, delicious cake that can stand on its own without the walls. And I am delicious.

Donna Carroll

Donna Carroll is the founder of Ecstatic Dance International and cofounder of Ecstatic Dance Oakland. She is a social entrepreneur who believes dance and music transform lives.

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