This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I wish I could contra dance every day.  Or at least a couple of times a week.  Unfortunately, the regular dances here in Cincinnati are on Monday nights, when I have Anatomy and Physiology class.  This leaves me going on Saturdays once a month (when I’m not out of town) and on those rare Mondays I have a holiday from school.

I love the way the physical and the mental are all caught up with each other in contra dancing.  There are so many complex patterns involving so many people, the math could make you dizzy if the twirling didn’t.  But the memory, the math, the anticipation and planning, they’re all rooted in the body.  And while you’re weaving complicated figure-eights around three other people at once (hey!) you’re also socializing, laughing, flirting, and letting your personality shine through.  Some dances are elegant, and some are goofy, and nearly all of them will leave you breathless.

It’s my body working in unity with a community of bodies, creating something big and beautiful.  It’s the dancer’s choir.  It gives my mind just the right amount of challenge to keep it from worrying, “Do my clothes look funny?  Why aren’t I as talented as her?  Do I have enough in my checking account to pay tuition next week?” giving my body the chance it needs to take over and do what it does best.

(Just a video for those who’ve never tried contra. It’s not a group of mine, although they’re very good!)