During the fall semester I previewed Mind/Body Fitness Dance at UMA-Bangor. I had positive feedback to this fitness class, and I decided to offer it this spring as a two-part series. While I have struggled to keep consistent attendance at this kind of fitness/dance class at the YMCA, I think that teaching this class on campus allows me to more fully share all of the nuanced aspects of this fitness form.
Starting this Thursday I will be offering Mind/Body Fitness dance on campus, Thursdays from 5:15 to 6:15. I have created a pamphlet that explains a little more about this form of fitness and dance, but it is really something that has to be experienced and embodied.
I found confidence in fitness classes that allowed me to follow directions--and to give those directions when I became an instructor. In both cases, movements were rigid, linear, contained. In group exercise classes we generally know what to expect and the rise of manufactured fitness classes (like Zumba, Les Mills, and MOSSA) make for consistent, predictable workouts. While not everyone enjoys classes, many find safety in proscribed movements.
Invitations to try Mind/Body Fitness Dance are met with: I can’t dance. I only dance when no one’s home. I have no rhythm. I can’t follow directions. I need to be told what to do. I am so out of shape. These are excuses I hear often.
I also hear the unspoken reasons. I am insecure about my body (too fat, too thin, too something wrong). I am uncomfortable trying new things. I’m scared. I have anxiety. (I have made all these excuses too.) But all of these discomforts are exactly what Mind/Body Fitness Dances offers to alleviate.
Movement helps us let go. Music gives us a landscape. Structure and freedom help us feel safe while we also have literal and figurative space to explore.
Mind/Body Fitness Dance has changed my approach to fitness and has helped me to find more confidence, wellness, balance, and joy in my life. Sharing this movement--my art--with those who are brave enough to try something different is scary and rewarding. I share Mind/Body Fitness Dance as a tool of self-care; it is my gift to my community.
Eastport 124, on a Thursday afternoon, is private and the environment is conducive to freedom of movement. Music fills, but does not overwhelm the space and the play of light and dark enhance the dance fitness experience.
I want to invite students, faculty, staff, and community members to try this form of mind/body fitness dance. When we step into the dance, we leave these roles and become movement. Lose yourself. Find Yourself. Move and Be Moved.