Welcome to Art and Healing Wednesday!!
I’m always amazed at how impactful art can be in every aspect of our lives. Last week I was watching my summer indulgence, “So You Think You Can Dance”, when they introduced a contemporary piece to be performed by two contestants. The choreographer, Travis Wall, had been a contestant in the competition in season 2 so he knows the ropes. Last year he began choreographing for the show bringing a fresh new perspective to contemporary dance.
The piece he choreographed was about his mother who had undergone some major surgery. It depicted her struggle and the support she received from others throughout the process. One of the two dancers performing the piece was able to identify strongly with the piece since his mother had breast cancer and had not only undergone surgery, but chemotherapy and radiation. Before the dancers danced, the choreographer shared his perspective on the piece and that’s where the piece took on a life of its own. Travis Wall stated, “Every step is a storytelling experience.”
When I heard him utter those words I was awakened to the possibilities that dance provides for self-expression. I was also impressed at how he was able to share his story and how it resonated with so many in the studio audience and the viewers at home. He was able to model how powerful our stories are and emphasized that there are a multitude of ways to share that story; his is through dance.
We’re all creative beings; it’s just that some of us have easier access to that creativity because we nurture it and use it. The goal following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness is to access the resources that already exist within you. We’re all not going to be professional dancers, but most of us can move; even if it’s only tapping our foot. If we have mobility in our hands we can write words that express our deepest thoughts and share both our struggles and our triumphs. If we have speech then we can hum or sing a tune that resonates with our soul. I always recommend that clients find a theme song that punctuates their story. In fact, have a few so that as things change you always have a song to sing.
Travis Wall gave us the gift of his talent and his heart. He was able to capture a part of his story and interpret it in a way that could be shared with all of us. Even if you feel you can’t create, you can certainly enjoy, connect, and experience others’ stories by being an observer/participant. I hope you find the single step that will tell your story.