what if you danced more?

Like, everyday?
10 minutes, right after you wake up perhaps.
Roll out of bed, find your way to the floor.
Notice your breath, see what arises and follow the thread, first thing in the morning.
Two students of mine have been doing this for awhile now.
They made a pact with each other — a simple nod when they see each other in class — “I’m dancing every morning…you?”
What’s happened is that they are able to “drop-in” more quickly, with more depth, and for longer periods of time.

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2015-09 NRBC 15s

Remember When You Were Ten?

Do you remember turning 10?

How exquisitely sad that moment was for you?

You were – and would be for the next 90 years – a double digit.

Never EVER would you be a single digit again.

The agony of that.

I cried for hours the night I turned 10, cuddled in bed with my sister and my mother.

My sister, only 7 at the time, was curled up behind me. 

She clutched a handful of my pink flowered nightgown in one hand, and patted me on the back of my head with the other.

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2015-07 Jo & LA NBRC38s

You Might Now Want To Read This

But you’re reading it did anyway, I see.

So I guess I have to go ahead and bite the bullet then, huh?

I have to tell you about that thing that I’ve been putting off telling you about.

That thing that I was hoping would never come up in our conversation.

And that thing is that I’m terrified:

Terrified of dancing in front of people and looking like a fool.

Terrified I’ll be found out to be a fraud.

Terrified no one will show up.

Terrified that they will.

And on the other hand, I’m eager.

Eager enough to engage in the work of showing up so that the terror is quieted.


Sometimes the terror is so immense, I freeze in place and can’t move until the sun comes up, and even then it takes me a few more days to completely thaw out.

There was a long period of time when I was dancing in a way where I couldn’t feel anything.

I couldn’t feel my body.

I couldn’t feel my mind, my spirit, or my connection to something bigger.

If I wasn’t dancing though, I felt itchy, antsy, and unsettled.

So I kept dancing.

I kept executing the movement as it was presented to me, carefully following the instructions.

If I was dancing for long enough stretches of time, it kept the terror at bay.

And then….

Well, then the terror welled up in such a way that I had to stop, disengage, and withdraw from dancing altogether so that I wouldn’t disappear.

And what I have to tell you, which I don’t want to tell you, is that I’m in a place of terror again.

Something is different in how I’m approaching dancing, living, being, experiencing, sensing, and I am uncertain and afraid.

But this time, I’m not disengaging or withdrawing from the dancing.

I’m not freezing

(That is so not true: I’m totally freezing. But at least I can recognize that I’m freezing).

This time, I’m listening, as best as I can, and I’m leaping in.

I have no idea if this “leaping in” thing is the smartest thing to do in this situation.

What if I twist an ankle?

What if, mid-leap, I disappear?

What if, god forbid, I look like a fool?

I’m leaping in anyway, because I need to know where I will land.

You have two dance missions this week:

Take your long arms that you imagined last week, and now dance from the fingertips of those long arms.
2. Notice when you feel afraid. Keep showing up anyway, and when you are ready, leap.

Feel free to post a comment here.

And if you like what you just read, please share this newsletter far and wide.

The more people who read this, the more dancing there will be.

Which we need right now, desperately.

With Warmth and Jivey Vibes,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending

2015-04 Jo & Leeny 20s

i don’t think you can dance


Last week I asked you to stop whatever you were doing and just move for 10 seconds.

Let’s do that again.

Stop reading and start moving.  

However you want.

In whatever way feels good to you.

Fast or slow or clunky or smooth or unsure, with longing or without, with a calm mind or with a crazy fast moving mind that just won’t stop.

The only rule is to notice your breath, and notice how you feel.

Just do it:


I will count again:










potato….etc., and you can count the rest.

How did that feel?

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2015-04 Jo & Leeny 07s

stop making excuses



If you just took the time to read that sentence, you can take that same amount of time to dance.
Let me be more specific:


At this very moment, stand up from your chair, or stay seated, either works, and move your body RIGHT NOW for 10 seconds.


It doesn’t have to be lovely or dancerly or witty or smart.


You can be as slow or as fast as feels right to you at this moment.


Just move.


And if you are in a public place, do it anyway, ‘cause in the end, who cares?


I’ll count so you don’t have to:

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tue_adult_class 2

are you moving slow enough?

One of my favorite things to do is to lie down on the floor and to start moving as slowly as I can for as long as I want to, anyway I want.

When I give myself permission, really give myself permission to move as slowly as I want for as long as I want, I usually move in that snail space for about an hour and then naturally my body begins to speed up and take up more space.  Sometimes it doesn’t though, and I stay slow for a very long time.

I made a dance with Melinda Buckwalter  when I was in grad school called  Falling Slow.  Me and Melinda found staircases all over the Bennington College Campus and rolled as slowly as we could up each staircase.  

I loved doing that.

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why are dance classes so scary?


I just got this email from a student I had while I was at the Midwest RAD Fest last March.  

He was writing in response to my last email about wanting to cut off my legs  (here’s the link to that one if you happened to miss it…it’s a doozy).


I wanted to share his words with you, because I think he speaks to many of our fears/trepidations/struggles with dancing in a way that is raw and profound.

His words reminded me of how hard it can be to get one self dancing, which is just so paradoxical and strange, and yet so universal 


actually I don’t know about that.  

Is it actually universal?  

Or is it cultural? 

Or familial?  

Or personal?

I would love to hear your thoughts about this, ‘cause I just don’t know).

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