Image: iStock. By Sarrah Chaoukion.
It doesn’t look pretty. In fact, a lot of times, it is aesthetically awkward and non-rhythmic.
That’s because unlike popular versions of dance, this style is not about aesthetics. It’s not about the performance or even the audience. It’s about the mover — the dancer and their process.
I danced a lot in my younger years, but it was different. My early relationship with dance was not exactly a healthy dynamic. It was one influenced by many things—mostly advertising and media, where a woman is often portrayed as a product for a man, her worth determined by the value he gives to her.
Back then, I played along in this dynamic without giving much thought to how my interactions with men were shaping and moulding my inner belief system—but they were. If I didn’t get the attention I was passively seeking from men, my self-worth plummeted. If I wasn’t desired, I concluded that I must not be worthy of love.
I would question why I wasn’t found desirable, and my answer was always that I was not enough — not sexy enough, not pretty enough, not witty enough. I would then project that feeling of lack onto the women around me, judging those who were receiving the attention I desired.
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Of course, this only increased my pain and alienated me from women in my life, because I saw them as competition. My closest women friends were also my enemies at heart. My subconscious demonised these women and so I was caught in a no-win situation that I had created.
How does all this apply to dance? Dance isn’t necessarily where this self-hate or lack of self-worth began, but it definitely had a big impact on it.
The clubbing/party scene perpetuates the myth that a woman’s worth is based on her level of sexual appeal to men.
As I grew older and wiser, I saw the need to remove myself from this toxic environment, and over time, I discovered different spaces that felt more welcoming.