You dance? What kind of dance?

What I talk about, when I talk about dancing

Kaya Olsen
3 min readFeb 12, 2021

Dancing is my natural habitat. It’s been like this for years – ever since I first came across this wild place of endless possibilities back when I was 18. It’s the one place in life where I feel completely comfortable in my own skin. Where anything can happen, yet nothing (nothing!) can throw me out of balance. I can just surrender to it and move with, to, through it. Dance myself utterly and completely. Pure liberation.

But what exactly is it about dancing that makes me feel so at home?

In a word, dancing is the one place where I don’t have to fit into any box. Most people think of choreography when I say dance, but that’s not the kind of dancing I’m talking about. I’m talking about the raw, taking off my armor, peeling away my skin, exposing my inner world kind of dance. I say this with no offence directed to anyone loving choreography – it can look super cool for sure – but it’s not my cup of tea. I need the freedom to be myself and the freedom not to follow any rules.

Cause I’m tired of rules. The unspoken ones, the ones rooted in tradition, the ones needed by our ego. We live by so many rules today written down yesterday and with no connection to tomorrow. And we follow these rules blindly, because that was what we were taught when we grew up. Having nearly suffocated because of an overwhelming amount of nonsensical rules promoted by my culture and the community I grew up in, I’ve developed a strong allergy to bullshit. Dancing is my allergy pill – is my way of rebelling against it all.

But if it isn’t choreographed dance, what is it then? Just pure freestyling? Partly yes, partly no. To answer that question properly, I need to backtrack a little: I call it “dance”, but actually, I struggle a lot with using that word to describe what I do. It looks like dancing, but there are too many connotations already connected to that activity, which makes it hard for people to grasp what it is. I’d love to call it Moving meditation, but it quickly sounds too hocus pocus. Embodiment also comes close to what I mean, but it requires too much explanation. Usually I end up talking about Expressive Dance. If possible, I prefer to just show it, though.

So how does it look?

Imagine hearing a beat and feeling it in your feet, just allowing them to move along the rhythm of the track. Maybe in a circle, maybe in a spiral, maybe endlessly back and forth. Once your feet feel comfortable (or some body part just cannot restrain itself) more and more of your body join the dance. It happens without any control and is more a practice of bringing awareness to different bodyparts and letting them move in whatever ways feels right in that particular moment than something along the lines of I’m-moving-around-prettily. That’s how it looks (if you want to see me in action, click here).

In that particular moment might be what I enjoy the most about the dancing. There is always new movements to explore, new emotions to express, new sensations to feel. In that particular moment means that nothing needs to be a certain way or stay a certain way (no rules!). I’m flexible. I’m transformative. I’m never stuck. Pure liberation. And a great reminder that we’re ever-evolving beings.

In a sense, this kind of dancing, for me, is simply a metaphor for life. It’s a place for me to practice moving with whatever comes, staying grounded no matter what happens, expressing myself truthfully in any situation, and relaxing regardless of whom I meet. These are skills you can use anywhere and at any time in order to be fully present in the moment. Making dancing my natural habitat, makes life my natural habitat.

Pure liberation: that is what I talk about when I talk about dancing.