Do babies dance in the womb? Did I? It wouldn't surprise me. I have always equated dancing with freedom, creativity, ecstasy. It was shocking to hear a person say outright, "I can't dance."

It is true that to dance is to speak a certain naked truth. Beneath the costumes, the armor, the mask, a body feels. It feels pain, joy, anger, lightheartedness, bewilderment, grief, boredom, peace. Of course a body can be laced down, tied up, repressed, ridiculed, until it can no longer hear its own music, until it can no longer access its limitless vocabulary.

Alas, this has been too severely the way of civilization. To sit still, to be quiet, to ignore one's body. To cut oneself off at the neck. Except, of course, for the consolations of sex. Or, of late, to train one's body like a marvellous animal, to run, to pump iron, to be "fit."

The authentic body, with its vigorous repertoire, is lost. But it doesn't die easily. Witness break-dancing in the ghetto streets; witness Saturday night at a country western bar. Witness generation after generation of adolescents shocking their elders with their own versions of movement display.

The body wants to speak. The body wants to be heard. The body wants to glide, leap, vibrate, fling itself, twirl, crouch, stamp, reach, and sway, to release its powerful communiques of emotion and intuition. Hello, it has its way of shouting, is any body home?

I've studied ballet, and modern dance, I've folk danced, boogied to rock and roll, danced around fires naked to the beat of drums, I've studied and taught yoga and expressive movement, mixing and matching the modalities that all add up to freedom, to expression, to strengthening the body's voice, but I was in my forties before I discovered “Authentic Movement”, in Roanoke, Virginia, where I became friends with a dance therapist who had studied this healing form. I danced with her through courtship, through pregnancy, breast feeding, child-rearing; later I studied in Amherst, Mass and later again in North Carolina, meanwhile incorporating the principles of authentic movement into my healing arts work here at home.

Each is drawn to her own pleasure, in movement; each reaches for that which can unleash and transform the delicate and ferocious and tender experience of being human. I love the mover/witness mirror - the way energy can be communicated so precisely without language, and affirmed, later, thru dialogue. I love the intimacy of "taking in fully" the experience of another who is moving without shackles, or who is moving to shake off her bindings. I love the way being attended to, with that open gaze, while I dance, frees me to discover hidden messages in muscle, nerve, bone, and psyche.

As a teacher, I am always a student; as a student, I am free to explore uncharted terrain; there is no failure in the offing, no one I can disappoint. I simply become more fully who I am, and the edges of my self become soft. Perhaps I am intimately linked with you now, with the air that separates and joins us. I want to enter freely that spiral labyrinth that invites us in, that welcomes us each time, that says dance, and we do. Saying yes is a mercy, is a peace flag in a time of war, to listen to one's body a reprieve, and an act of faith; we live, we dance, we mirror the abundance, innocence, and hope of the world.

Katya Sabaroff Taylor, M.Ed., (1996)

See Studio in the Community for a variety of movement offerings.