Why We Dance at Springhouse


We have come to be danced
not the pretty dance
not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
but the claw our way back into the belly
of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
the holding the precious moment in the palms
of our hands and feet dance
~Jewel Mathieson

Dance is an integral part of the Springhouse community. We dance twice a week as a school and Springhouse offers an evening dance class for adults. Dean of students, Jenny Finn, introduced dance at Springhouse. Her training is largely based upon Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms dance practice. 

People often ask why we dance at Springhouse. I struggle to find a way to respond. How do you put into words the transformative, connecting, and mysterious potential of soulful dancing entrenched in community? Some days the collective dance is big, loud, joyful, and uplifting. Others it is dark, slow, frustrating, awkward, and filled with grief but is no less authentic or necessary. We are not learning dance steps together, but rather learning the skills to be with ourselves and bodies, no matter what we are feeling. We are learning to express a range of emotions. For teenagers, this is a vital part of their growth. 

The high school years are often filled with growing pains, fiery emotions, risk-taking, and volatile relationships. These years are confusing and disorienting. At it’s best, dance is a way to process all of the swirling emotions and change that is occurring. Springhouse adults are able to offer comfort and support for the students as emotions emerge.  

This way of dancing has proven to be effective with the students. I am humbled on a weekly basis by the bravery the students display by simply being willing to dance in front of their peers. Most of them cannot wait to dance, even though dancing will sometimes bring their pain to the surface. It is a privilege to dance with this community.

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