Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 4 May 2015

Ecstatic Dance

With unrestrained enthusiasm and joy, a three year girl greeted me at the Montessori school. Her curly hair flew in every direction as she bounced up and down, arms flailing all over the place.

“Erica,” she asked me through her breathless exuberance. “How’d you get here?”
And so the “How’d You Get Here?” dance was born. From then on, I broke out the “how’d you get here dance,” approximately two and half times per week. The flailing and bobbing is quite becoming when you’re a tall five eight with very large, very curly hair and extremely long limbs.

“Hey babe,” I said to the Boatman, bopping around in the hall beside the bathroom. “How’d you get here?” Then I went to the yoga room to meditate for 35 minutes. I think my heart remained in overdrive for the first thirteen.

Now the Founder of the “How’d You Get Here?” dance is almost five. Despite all the time she spends exuberantly dancing, hopping around like a frog and crawling on the floor like a cat, her Montessori work folder is always bulging with imaginative creations. She paints and draws constantly, often without even looking at the page. I can’t wait to attend her shows when she’s in art school.

As for me, my Montessori career is somewhat over. I have left Halifax, and before settling in Montreal for the summer, I have spent the last couple of weeks in Toronto. Here I am enjoying this odd, in-between place where I don’t exactly exist and nothing feels like it counts.

One of the great highlights of the Toronto visit has been attending Ecstatic Dance. Having lived a somewhat sheltered life, I have never attended a rave; however, many people have told me that Ecstatic Dance is a bit like a sober rave. At Ecstatic Dance, a deejay plays a vast variety of music, and everyone is invited to express whatever is deep inside their bodies. You are welcome to wear a tutu, and the tutu can be green. Halfway through, if you change your mind, you can always take the tutu off. Anything goes.  Some people crawl across the floor like crocodiles, or lions, or hop around like frogs. You can dance with long phallic crystals or magical green rocks. No one is allowed to make fun of you and this is very liberating. It is also very liberating that nobody knows that the only time you could ever dance in high school was after chugging 2 bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade concealed inside juice bottles in the Student’s council room. By the way, my sister was the student council president.

Sister and Me, Restrained Ecstatic Dancing, Halifax Harbour
So far I have been to Ecstatic Dance three times. I find I frequently pull out the “How’d You Get Here?” dance. The bobbing and bouncing and particularly the limb flailing seem to truthfully match what’s deep inside of me.  I also do a great deal of bending my crooked spine over to the right and twisting it in circles over and over again. When I get tired, I roll around on the floor in incoherent ways. If I consider the unrelenting misery that was February, I never would have imagined myself participating in anything so joyful and uninhibited. Then again, why the hell not?
Despite the fact that I wrote a book called “I Let Go,” I always hesitate to tell people to get over shit. After all, as Margaret Atwood says, Old Neurological Pathways Die Hard. Even so, if you claim to be one of those people who can’t or just doesn’t dance, I say to you, Get the Fuck Over it. Ecstatic Dance is perfect for you. Be a tiger. Be an octopus. Jump around like you’re three and a half.

At the end of Ecstatic Dance, the music slows down and you might get the chance to roll around on the floor with another person’s body in a relatively unsexual way. Not everyone has a temporary or long-term source of cuddling slash sexual gratification and I feel like this end-of-dance floor union provides a viable option. Last Thursday night, I rolled around on the floor with a man who was wearing an extremely tight and short black spandex mini skirt. Although I’d assumed that he’d chosen the skirt to reflect his deepest creative self, I guess he’d actually forgotten his shorts and had resorted to raiding the lost and found. All he could find was the tiniest spandex mini skirt in the world. I didn’t find this out until afterwards and thus, I felt quite safe and dancing with a man in a spandex mini-skirt. In some ways, it was very safe and in other ways, not so safe. Still, we managed to avoid catastrophe.

When it was all over, the Man in the Skirt and I chatted about who we were, where we were from and what our creative lives were all about. Within approximately six and a half sentences, I pulled out the “Oh yah,my ex-boyfriend jumped off a building in January” speech. All the people of Toronto have been amazingly receptive of this speech and for this I have been immensely grateful.  
The Man in the Skirt asked for my contact info and on Friday, he sent me a poem. I think it was about someone else ejaculating. Or it could also have been about conception. It seems like both of these things are popular poetry topics. It is always a bit fun when someone sends you a poem.

“You have such a wonderful sister,” the Man with the Skirt told my sister before we left. Ecstatic Dance makes you feel so wonderful about yourself. Life is very exciting. How’d we get here?
The End.

I forgot to mention that at Ecstatic Dance, quite a few people wear Spiritual Pants. It was quite a delight to see Spiritual Pants again. That said, I left my spiritual pants in Montreal and kind of feel as though the low crotch would impede my How’d You Get Here? dance.

Spiritual Pants and the Darling Canadians in Mysore, Green Hotel
So I’ve started a new creative practice routine where I post every MONDAY around 4 or 5 PM and THURSDAY around lunch time. One of my relatives who also happens to be a Social Media Expert claims that this is not the most auspicious social media time, but I have a Kale Phone and don’t tend to take this sort of thing into consideration. We’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned and free to follow me in whatever capacity seems to best match what’s deep inside your body:

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt

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Creative Practice, Simon's Genies, and the Exuberant Bodhisattva's Big Exciting Blog
Ecstatic Adventures of the Exuberant Bodhisattva
Darcy, which features a blue tutu

Ecstatic Dance takes place on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 7:30-9:30 at Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Rd.
Ecstatic Dance Thursdays in Toronto 
The Move (Fridays)


1 comment:

  1. Ecstatic Dance sounds very liberating. As someone who feels self-conscious dancing I think it would take a lot for me to get into that comfort level but it sounds fun.