catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 10 :: 2013.05.10 — 2013.05.23


Shut up and dance

With thanks to contributing author Lori Scrementi.

“Shut up and dance.”

While those first two words are not the gentlest choice, in a room full of 36 boisterous teenagers to whom I am trying to teach technique and choreography, they stimulate the ears quite effectively. I said it because they had already come to respect me as their instructor, and I knew they would not take offense. Also, with my not-so-loud voice, I needed an attention-grabber. They knew it was time to stop talking and start working. Many of these students have difficult home lives, so it is only natural that they want to socialize with new peers. As this is a dance program, I need them to focus on nonverbal communication and connections and less on the verbal kind. Later in the session after one of our more serious discussions regarding their lives outside the program, I jokingly said, “Shut up and dance” as a transition back to work. After a quick laugh to lighten the energy, we adopted those words as a slogan for the remainder of the session. The phrase “shut up and dance” took on a positive connotation and became synonymous with leaving any troubles with life at the door and focusing that energy on fully enjoying the few hours a day they had to learn, create and dance together.

This phrase can translate into many aspects of life. It is important to remain focused. This, of course, is easier said than done, as humans by nature are emotional beings. The smallest occurrence, especially a negative one, can have a harmful effect on the rest of our day. By allowing the negative energy to dissipate as well as oneself to be wholly present in the moment, we can accomplish more and be more content in the process. A friend once told me, “I am here, right now, and there’s no place I’d rather be.” These words have resonated with me ever since, and have helped me to be more in the present. And that is what our God asks of us — to live each day as if it is our last by being true to His word.

“Shut up and dance” can also be interpreted similarly to my students’ definition: sometimes we all need to release our daily stresses through dance. Dance is a healer, just like our God. Dance has the power to allow us to be open and honest with ourselves, with others and especially with our Lord and Savior. We all want to be part of a loving community in which we are always welcome and dance has a way of bringing people together by engaging in a dialogue that may challenge what we know and steering us to a place that we are unfamiliar. But it is within this unfamiliar territory that the opportunity exists to open spaces for dialogue and the unknowing to see beyond what we can ever imagine. Dance enables us to live in the moment, to critically consider God’s world, His word and our place in it. Anyone can dance. God wants us to dance! But the movements and moments while dancing are fleeting, just as in every day life.  Just know that our God is dancing with us and we need to let Him lead and follow His steps. Remember, when you feel stressed or troubled, it’s time to just shut up and dance, and enjoy this moment with the Lord. 

your comments

comments powered by Disqus