Winter Dancing Joy

As we move into December and the shortest day and longest night of the year where this dance is held….the awareness for how sweet, almost necessary, and what a gift the dance can be is palpable.

Last week, the sound of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluia, sung in Hebrew by Cantor Azi Schwartz of Park Avenue Synagogue, still rings in my ears. We love honoring the spirit of all nations and humanity and traditions through the music offered in FreeForm Dance Dance.

The practice of opening up to whatever movement this body would express, and the general body of the entire group in the dance together, is unique every time. In some ways, every dance is unlike any other.

We have a pattern…we begin around the same exact time on the clock on a Saturday morning, end around the same exact time, people come and go, some are familiar and some are brand new, the weather is sunny with shadows dancing through the huge windows or dark and wet, the dance hall is bright or dark, the decorative cloth we hang are always different….and yet there is only ever a dance like this one, today. It can never be repeated, it can never go in the same way.

As we approach the anniversary of our fifth year of dancing together on Saturday mornings in Seattle, we see no signs of stopping this glorious ritual, this playground of fun and joy, and authentic spontaneous moving to the songs of the world.

Can’t wait to dance with all the people and bodies who enter this wonderful experience with us. If you’ve never tried freeform dancing before….come join us! It’s a moving meditation and an adventure you may find as exquisite as we do. We welcome you.

Facilitator Grace

November Sun & Shadows

What a spectacular dance this very morning.

A moment on the dance floor seeing the deep, bright, November sun streaming through the tall windows…making a perfect dark shadow of my hands and arms on the floor.

10:00 am: Glorious huge dance hall space, empty. Hanging splashes of color on windows with our bright fabrics.

10:02 am: Three new people come in, even though our signs are not yet posted and the chairs are not yet set out. We tell them what to expect, and feel so delighted to have them all.

10:03: Wires plugging in, huge heavy speakers set on tables, laptop fired up, electric chords taped above doors

10:06: Table laid with bright cloth, money-receipt box put out, sign up sheets for peoples names and emails, big notebook storing all the punch cards people have purchased for their dances, all alphabetized and filed and kept with us so no one has to remember to bring their punch card.

10:07: warm up music begins to play through the speakers

10:08: someone helps line up all the black chairs in one area of our dancing room, where people can sit and rest during dance whenever they like

10:10: floor swept, mats taped over metal squares on our wooden dance floor to protect people who dance in bare feet or sock feet.

10:12 yoga mats, yoga blocks, and musical instruments set out for people to use if they’re inspired

10:15 people coming, more and more, talking and greeting and saying hello, putting their things down in piles. Hugs, welcomes, the faces of folks who are curious and wondering, the faces of folks who are familiar with this dance.

10:20 warm up music stopped, everyone is rounded up for an opening circle to welcome newcomers, say names, begin

10:22 dance set list begins. We start very slow with gentle music, followed by a little faster, a little faster, a little faster. Music includes recognizable anchoring songs we all know: Sly and Family Stone from the 1970s, early disco from the 1960s, Another One Bites the Dust from the 1980s, George Michael Freedom from the 1990s, Beyonce, I’m So Fancy Iggy, dance from the 1940s and broadway show “Swing”, a gorgeous spiritual everyone breaks into singing along “Been in the Storm So Long”, all interspersed with music from India (Bollywood), Hector LaVoe (Latin), Madagascar, Japan, Total Eclipse of the Heart cover sung by Sleeping At Last. And that’s not all. There was more. 75 minutes of a joy ride through a lifetime.

11:45: everyone sits in a circle on the floor or brings over a chair. 3-4 people can share one short poem, quote, or song. We hear a song about the November Harvest from an elder. We hear a quote from a song we just danced to. We hear a song about water–one verse only. We hear the Tao Te Ching, which opens to #7 for today. To close everyone briefly shares one thing they appreciate (we learned this from Puget Sound Community School long ago).

11:52: We stand up, gather our things, don coats and scarves and bags…and head into our day, joyfully. Maybe there’s an extra bounce in our step, an extra relaxed calm in our bodies because of the energy spent. All is as it is. Very well indeed.

October dancing

We danced this morning to a most eclectic and varied set list, honoring many themes and people today: A gorgeous tune from Puerto Rico, a slower Bollywood than normal, Tom Petty (The Waiting is the Hardest Part), mambo, salsa, Joni Mitchell, and the film score today (we always include something from film or broadway or a musical, or even TV) was from UP called Carl Goes Up. This was played in memory of Carl who danced with us many times in the first few years, but who got sick and died of cancer last Saturday.

Another gorgeous song played today for the first time was from the band MaMuse, “Glorious”. What a day, what a song. What a beautiful way to bring on the dance.

We’re also delighting that many gray haired beings enter our dance space, along with children under five. A huge range and a place to truly honor your ability and nature. We respect elders and their movements.

We love dancing in the autumn and so delighted to have so many new faces and beings with us today. Dance Dance!

Much love, Facilitators Grace and Jon

May 2017 Seattle Dancing !

Hello fabulous dancers one and all,

We’re into our fifth year of dancing at Northgate and loving every single Saturday morning with all the amazing folks who come to dance.

If you’ve found us here, we tend to generate a lot of activity and Q & A over on facebook–so you can also check there for our facebook page FreeFormDanceDance.

Any questions? Just ask! Bring your friends of all ages and skill in dance (including zero skill). This is about moving YOUR way. Resting, moving, being as you are.

We look forward to dancing with you!

Grace & Jon (dancing facilitators)

January Dances–every Saturday morning! Woo!

Glorious to be dancing in the morning on these fine frosty VERY cold Seattle days. See you all on the dance floor! Woot!  We have such a fun set list for tomorrow, January 14th….and already building up with some fabulous ideas for January 28th (Grace’s birthday dance, so of course it’ll be good)! Come enjoy the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, new, world from all continents and countries, and Bhangra will be played tomorrow for sure.

 

Dance In the New Year on Saturday Morning December 31st

Dancers one and all!

We are so excited to say, we’re open for the morning–same time, same place–on December 31st. What a fabulous way to kick off the last day of the year 2016 .

If you haven’t been to Free Form Dance Dance before, perhaps today is the perfect day to start. We always cobble together an amazing set list of music from all over the world, and you’ll be sure to hear old favorites from many eras (1940s through present) all interspersed with lively world music, melodic, gorgeous, creative.

Plus, we have toys like jump ropes, balls, shakers and drums. Yoga mats, yoga blocks and chairs are all available for anyone needing rest and pause during the music. There is no requirement to move, no choreography, no instruction during the actual dance. Only to be yourself.

Join us afterwards if you like at Masala Indian food restaurant for the lunch buffet. It’s one block away to the north–walk over with us. Yummy food and fun friends. Everyone is welcome!

See you on the dance floor–can’t wait for this amazing set list of fun songs with amazing artists from all over the world, some honoring important musicians we loved. We’ll have a Bollywood song, as always (to inspire our pallets for Indian food later) and music from Mexico, South Africa and Turkey…plus much more. 80 minutes of music.

Every Body welcome.

Thank you!!!

Today we played awesome music including I Give Thanks by Katheryn Mostow and Grateful by Nimo.  We are so grateful for you… all the folks who’ve found us and love to dance.  As we complete our 4th year in these next 7 weeks we begin to look forward to all the fun times ahead in our 5th year.  We couldn’t do this without you.

Jon & Grace

November 2016 Dancing Seattle Saturday mornings have arrived

Today was a brilliant dance. Rain pouring outside, and such joy and immense positivity inside as we danced in the dark natural light of a fall Seattle morning.

We include “November” in the set list by Tom Waits…very dark humored (everyone burst out laughing at the end) and Sade’s Paradise for a complete opposite affect, and everything in between from Senegal drummers to classic Bollywood to Brazil to a Zydeco tune called Gumbo. Thanks to all the smiling and happiness, and honor to it all, including ancestors who have gone before us (Phillip Phillips helped with this one through Gone, Gone, Gone).

Happy Birthday to R who loves to dance with us and celebrated by being on the dance floor today (we played a special request for her).

Finally, thanks to facilitator Grace’s mom Betsy for coming. She’s still got it on the dance floor, turning 80 this year. Lucky, lucky us.

October 22nd – fabulous dance (for my dad)

My dad would have been 87 years old today.

I sure would have loved him to live this long. He was kind, gentle, loving, a professor at the University of Washington….and I think of him with great appreciation every October 22nd.

How sweet to have his birthday fall on the day of dance!

Long ago, my father returned from a trip to his homeland (the Texas panhandle, surprisingly). He said in his rental car, the radio played the most delightful song. “Don’t worry, be happy!”

Of course, we included Bobby McFerron’s happy song today on the dance floor. My father died 25 years ago. But I was lucky to have such an open-minded, learned and welcoming father.

Thanks dad, and thanks to all the fabulous dancers who came to dance with us today.

We always end every dance with a circle-up for about 10 minutes only, and everyone gets to express an appreciation for anything they want.

I had so much I felt appreciative for….but dad, today you were with me.

Much love, Grace