Updated: Oct 24, 2019
Written by Amy Connah Hudson
Have you ever had a friend who was right under your nose, and you didn’t even know it? That’s how things transpired with my next door neighbor, Kristy Gordon. For years, we’d wave from our cars and have the occasional neighborly interaction. Our lives were busy and we stayed in our lanes. That all changed several months ago when we discovered we were both embarking on new endeavors. We enjoyed catching up and learning about each other’s adventures.
Kristy’s eyes would light up when she talked about her new business, JoyDance. I’d gathered from what she told me that participants spent the time in class doing their own freeform dancing. Without fail, she’d say, “You should try it sometime!” And without fail, my response was, “Maybe I will!” But I had zero intention of going. That was not for me.
The more time I spent with Kristy, the more I realized I’d met a kindred spirit. Our friendship progressed naturally, and it didn’t take long for me to come forth with my true feelings. “I’ll be honest,” I said. “The thought of doing JoyDance makes me really uncomfortable. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way!” She laughed. “It can be a little scary,” she said. “But my gut always tells me the people who don’t want to try it are usually the ones who need it the most.”
Ugh. I knew inside I was that person she was describing. I decided to go out on a limb and give this JoyDance thing a try. Kristy filled me in on the versions she offers for adults: one is set to secular music and meditations; the other to Christian music and prayerful meditations. I’m always seeking ways to come closer to God, so I chose the Monday evening Christian class.
When I arrived the first night, I noticed there were candles and Christmas lights surrounding the perimeter of the space, which made the room feel cozy. I met the other participants as we rolled out our yoga mats. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Kristy turned on some soft music and guided us through breathing exercises and stretches. Then she cranked the music up and it was time to dance. I wasn’t quite sure how to begin.
As if on cue, Kristy said something simple, yet profound. “The whole purpose is to just join with the Holy Spirit.” I realized that’s exactly what everyone was doing. Each woman was going at her own pace, and no one was watching anyone else. I found myself listening to the words of the songs and moving to the music. As we progressed, I actually began to feel that God was with me. I had this sense of being treated gently, of being cherished and held. That peaceful feeling extended into a time of guided meditation. Before I knew it, the hour had passed and I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time.
It’s been many weeks now, and I haven’t missed a dance. In fact, I find that I crave these magical Monday nights. Is it the surprise of a new theme every week or the playlist that always includes wonderful songs I’ve never heard before? Is it the sense of community I feel when I come together with this group of women? Is it the feeling of release in just letting go and shaking off the stress of the day? Is it the depth of the meditation? It’s all the above and more. Coming to JoyDance is like taking my heart, soul and body on a new journey every week. I’d recommend it for anyone who loves music and wants to get their body moving; anyone seeking peace, joy and release - and especially anyone who wants to connect their spirit with God’s spirit.
You’re invited to the dance. Come and give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!