Olivia Vigil and I had come up to Bodega Head to take some shots for the new expandance website (coming soon!). It was a pretty typical Bodega Head sunset in that it was stunning, and windy, and much colder than you think it's going to be.
I had moved through a lot of ''body stuff'' in the weeks prior to this photo shoot, mostly around the fact that I was about to get photos taken for a dance website, of a body shape that, in the world of dance, we are told is not a ''dancers body''. I'm still unpacking all that that means - the fact that if you're not incredibly slim, with perfect feet and no curves - you cannot be truly taken seriously as a dancer (at least not a ballet dancer; things have changed *slightly* in the contemporary arena). I've also realized how rooted in white supremacy this idea of beauty is. It is a colonialist (think corsets), Eurocentric, racist idea of beauty and honestly pretty unattainable for most people. Even for dancers I've known who trained hours and hours a day for decades.
So with this photo shoot coming up I decided I'd had enough. I've been working on ''embracing'' my body for *years*, but in order to get through this shoot, I needed to up my self-love game. I needed to confront where I'd bought into this idea. I needed to not just be ok in my body and *how it looks and feels right at this moment in time* but actually embrace and be grateful for all of it. I needed to be happy with my body as it is so that anyone who walks into an expandance class also has the potential to feel happy in theirs, regardless of shape, color, age or ability. Thankfully, I had the honor of working with an incredible photographer who helped me feel at ease, worked out a shoot plan with me, and I'm happy to report that we ended up having a lot of fun.
This is still a work in progress for me, and maybe it is for you too. Let's keep exploring it as we move through our expandance practice, as well as showing up for the myriad reasons we do.
I'll see you in class.
p.s. for more of Olivia's work check her out on facebook.
"I’m still reveling in the harmonious sensations after an hour of expandance class” - Charles, UK
55 mins every Friday that’ll get you back in your body and feeling groovy
8am pacific time 11am nyc 4pm Ireland
“I did expandance this morning with Rachel Wynne. If you have been thinking about doing this, Do It! I am not a dancer, I don't exercise regularly and I have chronic pain. I loved the unconventional warm up she lead us through and the visualizations with movement. Afterwards, I felt relaxed and energized at the same time. Most notably, I was able to release a considerable amount of tension that I was carrying in my body. I did all of this a short amount of time and in a small space.” - B, California
you don’t have to be a dancer you don’t have to be “fit” or look a certain way all you need is zoom and you
Friday expandance classes are FREE for Black, Indigenous, and People of color, as well as for undocumented immigrants (regardless of what country you're in). For everyone else, please pay what you can; $5 - $25 suggested.