Just something to share, I read this a couple of months ago and was so inspired but the truthfulness and sincerity of this message. This is from this dancer to other dancers out there, written by an amazing dancer/choreographer, Mariel Martin of Movement Lifestyle =) _________________________________________________ [Note: This is not written by me, all these words and thoughts belong to Mariel Martin]
He has a dream.
Warning: this is going to be long :)
Sometimes I feel like my heart is so full that it’s going to consume my entire abdomen. My chest swells and I feel like a giant hand is inside there in a fist, and it’s slowly opening itself until it’s fully extended. Like the fingers are so straight that the sinews going from it’s palms to web to fingernails are stretched to the point of almost snapping. And every time I breathe it’s like I’m overwhelmed with silent joy. I don’t know what to call it, inspiration, passion, blood pressure, but I do know that movement in there is there pushing me toward something beautiful.
Recently I took a trip to Washington D.C. in the midst of listening to the new John Legend & The Roots album called Wake Up! Walking around the capitol of this country, around these giant monuments, these enormous tributes to things that have happened, you can’t help but reflect. Combining that with John Legend’s almost angelic voice drifting old activist lyrics through my mind, I felt the overwhelming expansion in my chest, that familiar feeling, and I felt it pushing me. There’s so much in my head that has swum upward from my heart lately. So many thoughts and ideas that I feel like are stuck in my brain right now treading water. I need to get them out and I’ll try my best to tie them all together because to me they all swim together in harmony.
In D.C. we walked around the new WWII monument, looking at the names of countries and cities that fought, certain ones struck me, Colorado, California, the Philippines, all for personal reasons. We kept walking, up to the stairs of Lincoln monument, where I came across the picture I took. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous words “I have a dream,” were engraved on one of the steps. By chance it was still in the shade and some water had stayed inside its crevices, leaving those historic words I have a dreamstaring at me from the ground. I felt like I was the first person to ever see those words carved into the steps, I was so excited to discover them there. Somehow they sort of planted themselves on my shoulders and followed me from that moment, even until now as I sit and write this. We continued, We took pictures of Lincoln, the Washington monument across the water, and the Korean War memorial. It was really heavy by the time we got to the Vietnam War memorial, something about seeing all the names of the people who lost their lives made them more real, then thinking about their families, and thinking about the countless Vietnamese people and their families and the losses they experienced. With each step two thoughts kept nagging me. This country is so young, yet so many bad things have happened, so many people have sacrificed there lives, have fought to be treated right, and thinking about the pain and suffering made tears well up in my eyes. Yet at the same time, I heard in my head that even though yes, bad has happened, that historically not that long ago our country was still segregated. Look how much has changed with each generation. I was teaching that weekend at a workshop run by a Filipino-American and a Spanish-Chinese-American, the instructors were African-Americans, and then me, a Caucasian-Filipino-American. As sentimental as it is, I couldn’t help but tell MLK Jr. in my thoughts that his dream was real. That it was happening, it wasn’t finished, but it is real. Now my question to us, being young people now: to our generation, what will we do.
Now this brings me to 2 main things I want to say. One is dance. If you are reading this blog, there’s a 97% chance that you’re a dancer. You know how it feels to run through your sneakers until there a hole in them, you love it when you wake up the morning after a tough rehearsal and you feel like you got run over by a truck, your heart beats to be on a stage. I cannot describe how much dance means to us dancers. I don’t believe any of us can accurately make another understand, only to know that someone who isn’t passionate about dance is probably passionate about something else and can relate on that level. Even if you see dance as a hobby in your life, or maybe it competes with other things for your time, you know that love and how deep it can go. For me dancing is a blessing, it is a gift that God gave us in the world and put it on some of our hearts and in our bodies to desire to do. That’s my belief and I am so grateful and thankful for it whether I keep dancing for another 50 years or for another week. Dance is a gorgeous thing not just to watch, but what you can do with it.
In September, a friend and great leader in the dance community, Melissa Adao, threw her 2nd Annual Outreach Through Dance’s Dance for a Wish show. Her charity show works with the San Diego chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation to help grant wishes for children in need. Not only does this show help give light to a child’s life and family, but she has the wish child participate in the show. This year Emely, a sweet 4-year-old ball of energy who has gone through more medical treatment than most adults, came to rehearsals, tech, took pictures with the cast, and came out for the bow at the end of both shows. I know for me, other dancers at the show, and maybe even the audience, we felt humbled, motivated, and had our eyes opened to the potential of our gifts. Outreach Through Dance brought together all those people who love dance to do something good for someone else. That was more rewarding than any trophy, youtube views, compliments, money; you name it. And I know we all gotta work, we all gotta survive, and I don’t want to make you feel guilty for not giving away all your money and time to charity. I believe in the resources that God provides for us and that we are to use them wisely. But what I do want to ask is how are you using what you’ve been given? Do you use it only for yourself? Or do you include others?
We are a new generation in dance. So much has changed (that is an entirely different blog haha), but out of change can come good. Movement Lifestyle is one of my resources, you reading this is a chance to say something worthwhile. As a person, I have so much to work on, but let’s do this together. How can we do good with what we have? I want to encourage our community toward togetherness. So often I travel somewhere and I hear about rivalries between studios, between crews, and even animosity between styles, but where does that get us? Nowhere. It’s sad to hear that there are students who want to take class, but are prevented from learning because a leader (and that is very disappointing) is telling them not to go because it supports the rival studio, crew, etc. You need to let down that pride, let down those barriers, and let people grow together. When you do, when people can get over differences, we can work together to make our particular kind of dance more legitimate, but also to do something amazing in the world. If we all did a little bit, what could we do? It’s nice to think about it, to be moved, to be inspired, to pray about something, to write about it, but it’s another to do it.
In light of all of this, the holidays are coming up. I might be being a Westerner to think that people identify with the “holiday spirit,” and I don’t want to assume that anyone believes in anything or celebrates anything. I am nostalgic about Christmas, but I do think a good amount of people relegate the winter months with a sense of giving and peace toward our fellow man. This is my challenge for all of us. If you felt anything reading this blog, if the words touched you or made you feel like getting up out of your chair and doing something good, then act on it. Give to somebody this year that you normally wouldn’t. Be creative, use the gifts that you have to benefit someone else. Here’s an idea for people in SD: Cye Bongolos, a young dancer here is throwing a charity show, Thank You for the Music, on November 12 to raise money for VH1’s Save the Music Foundation to keep music programs in school. All the info is on facebook, go and you’ll be helping another person who may be making the music your children end up dancing to. Here’s a link to the fb page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128396210514867&ref=ts If you’re a person of faith: Keone and I are going to participate in Operation Christmas Child put on by Samaritan’s Purse where people pack shoeboxes with gifts and they are delivered to children in poverty all over the world. Last year they delivered 8 million boxes to children in over 100 countries and had countless opportunities to share the gospel. Go tohttp://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ for more info. You could even let down your pride or fear and reach a hand out to someone, someone at your rival studio, someone who you has hurt you and you haven’t forgiven, someone you forgot to tell how much you appreciate what they do. There are so many ways, runners run races to raise money for all sorts of causes, I know our dance community can spread that love that we feel from dance, that power of unity that it has, and use it to make this world even more beautiful.
So what will you do? Whether you take some change out of your wallet and put it in a little plastic bin for breast cancer, or you hold your tongue and don’t assume things about people you don’t know and instead bother to find out, or you start a huge campaign to help people far away who don’t know what it’s like to drink a cold glass of clean water, let’s do it. We can all contribute. If you’re reading this now, you are given enough in your life to have eyes to read this, a hand to click a mouse or hold a phone, and an education that enables you to read. Let’s do something guys. That beautiful dream that MLK Jr. had, I think that dream was from God. And I believe that God gave us each other so that we can come together to do amazing things.