All morning the images and sounds of P.S. 22’s singing of “Landslide” has stuck in my mind. Their eagerness, their warmth, their hearts coming out of their throats, laced with pure joy. It made me wonder when and why we stop singing and dancing in public.
I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I’m lucky enough to have attended two of Lynda Barry’s writing workshops, where she magically uncovers images of past and present and somehow teaches us to weave them into words. Lynda, who describes herself as shy, opens the session by singing. She sites research about how singing can decrease dementia. She encourages us to not leave singing to “the professionals,” like Jessica Simpson.
I think that if we valued group dancing and singing as so many other cultures do, we’d all do a lot better. But what’s more, we’d witness joy from people of all ages. Not happiness, which is fleeting, but joy, which taps into our core.
There wasn’t a lot of joy around me when I was growing up, so when I discovered Nia and started teaching it, I was often moved to tears by the sensation that I had found “home” within myself. What I discovered was a re-connection of my mind and my body. Joy.
Luckily, my baby will have many dancers to witness – from her aunt and grandma, to the dance my husband does when she fusses. She’ll see that dancing never ends, at least in our house.
When did you stop singing? When will you start dancing again?