For the last few years, I have seen my business of teaching dance to children and adults closed with a pandemic. I had never imagined that the end of 4 decades of dance education would conclude with a sudden closing. I remember sitting at the Inverness School waiting to teach on the Friday night in March, and the principal indicated that the kids may need to go home on the bus and dance would be canceled. There was a pandemic. What did that mean? How could you cancel when we were all there already? Inconceivable! That was the last in-person class that I taught before the pandemic began. I kept saying “just in case this is the last time we practice until after the March break” thinking it would just be a few weeks. How wrong was I? How much we did not know!
Fast forward through the pandemic and attempting to teach online. The Cape Breton Partnership piloted a program for artists and I was among them to offer online classes. The kids didn’t want to be seeing me online, they wanted to be dancing with their buddies in person. I offered ExtravaDanza sessions to highlight what parents, educators, and dancers could be doing to explore dance at home in their own spaces, and I added these to my YouTube channel. That led to 13 episodes and venturing into the world of online teaching.
Fast forward to the schools finally opening for extracurricular activities this fall, September 2022. We were 3 years without dance and the whole system that functioned to allow me to teach in 6 communities had disintegrated. What do you do?
The skills of a dancer and a performer are never wasted. We develop so many skills that we can move forward with. Challenges are always met with problem-solving and creative inspiration. This was true this fall. When I could not afford to continue to teach in all the communities and travel to each district, I needed to think differently. I had to let my love of being a dance teacher go so that I could think about other ways that I could support and inspire wellness in others – namely, the adults who were suffering from all the challenges the pandemic brought.
This fall I have focused on stress, anxiety, fear, mental health, movement challenges, pain, and fatigue. In what way does my knowledge of the body and movement support well-being practices? How can I support entrepreneurs, educators, parents, and seniors with activities that can break the binds of stress? Last year, we (several colleagues and I) self-published several books to help people. (You can find them in the shop). This included the BioEnergetic Essentials book, Self-Care Essentials for Educators, the Affirmations for the Body and BioField Book and card deck, the It’s in the Cards deck and many different specialty teas to help with stress. These tools have been helpful for those willing to try something different, but we discovered something profound. People actually don’t want to feel better!
What? How could that be? How could people be happy with stress, fear as a base of action, anxiety and panic attacks, allergies, rashes, headaches, aching bodies, sore feet? People were numb! They had so much to cope with, they could not hold on to anything more and that included assistance and support. What do you do with that?
For weeks I have been agonizing over what my specialty is. How can I hone in on the one thing that I can offer to people so they can reach out and hold on to the wellness skills that could be supporting them. This was no small feat. My years of training have led me to know many tools, protocols, opportunities, and directions. But, what would allow people to stop and engage with me? Yes, it was a challenge.
I have determined that I cannot go back to teaching dance to children. It is not a feasible aspect. But, I can support adults with programs that help them realize what their stress is doing to them and how their posture, thoughts and actions are all a mirror of their well-being. I can help entrepreneurs who have struggled through the pandemic, or who have neglected themselves for the best of the business. This is not new to me. In fact, I taught Balancing Business to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association in 2021. I also had more tools and ideas for them with my own struggles and challenges with running a business for more than 35 years with health challenges.
In the coming weeks you will see Dance Debut Inc transition into a company that uses the knowledge of the body and movement to realize the way stress is affecting the body, the muscles, the systems in the body. This knowledge I have gleaned from Touch for Health, Therapeutic Touch, dance, and Tai Chi. In fact, they make an amazing collaboration of knowledge.
When we are stressed our breathing becomes more shallow, our posture begins to stoop, our strength becomes weak and our joints stiffen. We may have headaches, sore feet, eye strain, chaotic or repetitive thoughts. We begin to move less and try to rest with no movement as a solution we term “pampering” or “relaxation.” It is really starving. We are starving ourselves of the nourishment that feeds our structure, our mental well-being, our emotional engagement, our nutrition and our spiritual growth. It is a multidimensional challenge that we try to fix with caffeine, sugar, sedentary choices, long hours at a screen, and less connection with others. And most of all, we don’t realize what we are doing. We no longer recognize the signs of stress, challenge or neglect.
I aim to use my skills as a dance studio owner who offered classes to many families of all ages, to repurpose those skills for entrepreneurs who may not have listened to their bodies. I will be offering some of the best tools in the bioenergetic wellness industry that don’t require a machine, a clinician, or a certification to use – just plain energetic restructuring to bring balance and flow to the body. I can use movement patterns from dance, Tai Chi and Touch for Health, with tools from NeuroReflex integration and Therapeutic Touch, as well as many other trainings I have under my belt with over 20 years in the bioenergetic wellness industry, to accompany my 4 decades as a dance educator and business owner.
My focus is to realign entrepreneurs with the signals from their body about their well-being and create a link to understand what that means for the success of their business and the effort into running their business. This can include working with staff, colleagues, and other entrepreneurs. This program will be shared in the coming weeks and has a very specific timeline and depth of discovery. If you are an entrepreneur interested in your self-care and aligning with your goals, then stay tuned.
For those of you who are enjoying the classes of Tai Chi Cape Breton, Qi YINtegration, Touch for Health, Movement Made Easy and Stepdance class for beginners. These classes will be offered in the new year as well. You will see them posted here. Thank you for all that you are as a community with Dance Debut Inc. It has been such a privilege and an honor to have supported your wellness journey in whichever program you have resonated with along the way. Thank you for you continued support.