EXPERIENCE THIS // Dancing Freedom Under The Full Moon
Step [& Dance] Yourself Out Of Your Busy
Sara-Jane Cleland is a bit of a Southern Highlands health and wellbeing legend. Plenty of Highlanders have enjoyed one or several of her specialist services given she’s a gifted naturopath, herbalist, nutritionist and massage therapist.
And, just for more fun, she’s also an inspiring Dancing Freedom facilitator – lucky us! We wanted to find out a bit more about what Dancing Freedom is so went along to one of Sara-Jane’s Dancing Freedom Full Moon Dance sessions – yep, it’s a thing. And yep, it’s fabulous!
So, what is Dancing Freedom?
It’s a form of conscious dance, which means to dance with a more embodied and connected awareness of your body, soul and spirit.
“Think of it as a free form dance practice, a moving meditation where you can express yourself using your own quirky and unique way of moving to the beat,” Sara-Jane explains.
“It gives you the chance to release physical tension and pain, to unwind energy that’s held in the body, to express emotions and sounds, to play like a child, to connect with yourself and others in the dance, and importantly to have FUN and remember that you LOVE to dance!”
Isn’t it a bit scary and out of most people’s comfort zone?
Soooooo, I was thinking something like “Isn’t everyone going to stare at me for being so ... uncoordinated ... two-left-footed ... or something?”
And apparently I’m not the only one! But Sara-Jane is really reassuring about this.
“There is only one rule in Dancing Freedom – you can’t do it wrong!” she says.
How liberating to be told that the ONLY rule is that there ARE no rules?! So, you don’t need to be a super-skilled Dancing with the Stars-level mover and groover, you just need to be willing to move your body however it wants to be moved.
And guess what, it’s for EVERY body – of any age, gender-fluidity, or shape. It sounds so easy and so much fun, right? Absolutely!
So off I head to one of Sara-Jane’s monthly Dancing Freedom Under The Full Moon events..... to try it out for myself.
Dancing Freedom Under the Full Moon
I headed to last month’s event with a huge sense of anticipation and excitement. I stepped out of the darkness of a Highlands night into a beautifully inviting and magical space in the upstairs supper room of the Mittagong Playhouse.
The room was lit by fairy lights and candles, complemented by the arched ceilings and lived in, danced on floorboards, with plenty of stories to tell. A discrete altar represented the Dancing Freedom theme for the night: Earth and Sky.
I could tell the other dancers were excited, too. All of them had been to one of Sara-Jane’s Dancing Freedom events before, so they knew that the night was going to be special.
A small group of eight dancers, it was just the right amount to feel cosy and safe, and to ease any Covid concerns.
After some initial chatter and plenty of friendly smiles, we started by sitting together in a circle, listening intently to Sara-Jane’s explanation of what to expect.
She told us the music would progressively change to reflect the elements, from earth, water, air, fire and finally to ether. The key theme was Earth to Sky, and we were reminded how the earth is our foundation - it provides for us, nourishes us, supports and hold us.
Sky expands our vision, it is spacious and infinite, full of potential and possibility. As we walk on the earth connected and grounded under the big open sky, we can live life solidly and expansively.
We can also dance between earth and sky with a huge feeling of freedom.
We each shared an intention for the night, things like connection, love, power, purpose, then lay on our backs onto the floorboards, ready for the music to start.
Sara-Jane eased us into the music with gentle, relaxing words via a microphone, as we each contemplated what it felt like to have our bodies so close to the ground, listening to the music and responding to its beats in ways that felt right and necessary for us.
I stayed on the floor for about two tracks, until I felt moved to get up onto my feet and start dancing to the water-themed music.
Sara-Jane encouraged us to connect with the other dancers if and when it was comfy. As daunting as it seemed, it was beautiful to share special moments with other joyful, gracious faces, enjoying the chance to connect in such an unexpectedly liberating way.
We moved into the breezy vibes of air, to the stomping, highly energetic and energised pace of fire, then floated into a more calming and relaxed etheric feeling.
The fire felt cathartic and celebratory to me, a chance to release all those pent-up emotions brought on by busy-ness. Flailing my arms around, stomping my feet, shaking myself around ... all of these things were a welcome and powerful outlet ... and a chance for me to discover so much inner passion and zest for life.
As the music became more inward – so beautifully conveyed by a Gurrumul song – we settled back into a circle together, so pleased for what we had just experienced together.
Each person shared some words about their experience, each person content and grateful before we parted ways into the darkness, albeit lit by the full moon.
Guys, Dancing Freedom is a fantastic way to release endorphins and to get you feeling more energetic, creative, expressive and alive. You’ll feel this way, while being supported by Sara-Jane and your dancing companions.
Absolutely give it a go! It is so much fun and Sara-Jane’s enthusiasm is so catching! You’ll feel liberated, energised and connected with yourself again.
And such a great way top step out of your busy!
Sara-Jane runs Dancing Freedom Under A Full Moon on the last Friday of each month [or closest to the Full Moon]. She also runs workshops for women – here is the info for the next one kicking off at the end of July.
And if you want to get the kids involved [such a great way for the kids to burn some energy and ground themselves], Sara-Jane runs Dancing Freedom with the Family in the school holidays. So cool!