ESSAY // Movement as Language, Healing, and Liberation

I have been dancing since I first felt the flesh surrounding me in my mother’s womb. Dance for me, like many and most I know, is my purest form of expression. It opens light inside of me, and has been a language between my brain, my body, and my spirit that only I can fully understand. 

When I think of dance, I think of movement, performing, being in motion. This dance, this movement really, is the way that I heal. I use movement to not only exist and navigate through the world, I also use it to survive and thrive. I communicate with my ancestors in movement, I sanctify my body in movement, I question, I reflect, I research in movement.

I am not a formally trained dancer, and this has surfaced as more than a challenge in New York City dance spaces. I often become my own worst enemy, allowing self doubt and insecurities to interrupt opportunities that arise for me. Through my experience without professional or pre-professional training, I have dived into self-research as the basis for creating work, and developing technique. 

Technique - ballet, jazz, hip-hop, etc - was developed by people. As a person, I realize I too, have the power to create a technique on my body, balanced with training and rigor. Self research in the forms of writing, film making, moving, questioning, reading, interviewing, and meditating, is the way that I find and get lost in technique. I find my natural movement, distill it, expand it, morph it, root it, and allow it to inform me. My body is a moving source of information - information that is trustworthy, honest, and true; information that is rooted in Black Queer Femmehood. This information that flows from my body is the way in which my body has learned to survive, to thrive, to carry sadness and expand in joy, this information is experiential and experience based. My source of movement is informed by my lifelong journey of healing and liberating as omu singular body, and in the bodies of my communities.Thus, my technique  comes from my body's natural choreography and embodied way of being on this earth!

I teach “Healing the Black Body” a program, fellowship, collective, and workshop offering to use performance as a tool for healing and liberation in Black Queer communities. In my pedagogy I ask participants to find their stories that their body is holding and tease them out. My own process as a mover deeply informs my facilitation as I lead participants to find strength and technique from one's own movement and embodied language of survival, thriving, existing and experience in this world. We have always been multilingual beings, and when we decolonize the ways in which we identify language, we can see that within one person contains at least three languages: the language in which they communicate with themselves, the language in which they communicate with their community, and the language in which they communicate with others. 

For me, I speak in Black vernacular, in English, in Code-Switch.  I also speak in movement, in embodiment, in stillness. Technique, to me, is a language. Movement informed by my experiences, is my healing and liberating language. The ways in which I move and build technique are the ways I place power to my knowing, my being, my self as enough

Movement, dance, performance are more than just a mode of expression; they are intricate languages that are not 100% trainable in the form of someone else's technique. For me, they are a language of healing and liberation deeply informed by my self experience. As I move forward in my lifelong journey, I continue to use myself as a training source, and place deeper value in intricate, decolonized languages that need not be interpreted. 

 

I continue to use movement to heal my Black body. 



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