Healing through dance by Stacey Lewis

A few weeks before my husband left me, I had started attending dance classes. Unfortunately my passion for dance is not matched with technical ability. I was thrilled when I found a dance form called NIA.

For the first few weeks after my husband left, I was completely immobilized with grief and sorrow. All I was able to do was drink water, smoke cigarettes and sob for hours on end. I felt so abandoned, rejected and grief-stricken. I felt as if I had not progressed from my place of sorrow and devastation for a good few weeks. One Sunday, when my children were at my ex husband, I decided to return to the dance class. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and constantly made eye contact with my sad image throughout the class. It was so weird for me to be dancing now, in the state that I was. I was emaciated and it hurt to move too much. My body was stiff and sore.

By the end of the class, my body felt slightly better and there was a wonderfully upbeat song that allowed me to be momentarily transported from the doom that was my life at that time. Although it was tiny, there was a palpable shift. I returned to dancing as often as I could. With each class, I could feel the energy moving and the grief lifting. The fleeting moments of joy became longer and I found a place, a space, where I could process my grief in a way that was comfortable for me. I did not need to try and think of the words, I did not need to try and find reasons or explanations. The form of dance that NIA is, allows one to experience joy through movement.

I physically witnessed my own transformation – from a fragile, vulnerable, devastated ex wife to a vital, bubbly, energetic and powerful woman. I knew that I had reached a turning point when I could look at the reflection of my dancing self and not feel pity. I knew I had experienced some soul healing when I could dance to beautiful music and feel the joy pulsating within my body. When people asked me what were the most important factors that contributed towards my healing, I can most definitely say that NIA featured in the top five.


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