A ray of light in dance

When artistic inspiration comes from loving.

joelma By Joelma Regis

I’ve always loved to dance, even as a small child back in Brazil. However, when I understood that I could dance as an expression of love, everything changed.

One day I read: “If love penetrates every moment of my life then my inspiration will be a true art, one that never dies because in it I express my soul, which is a reflection of heaven.”

These words changed my approach to art. I began to love my neighbor in practical ways, even in small ways I would say, and I saw that it was true: by loving my neighbor I reached a new level of inspiration. For example: one day I was trying to find new steps for choreography, and I was struggling because I didn’t have many ideas. It was almost lunch time. I remembered that “if love penetrates every moment …” I ran home and started setting the table and preparing lunch so that when the others arrived, everything would be ready. That simple act gave me such a joy that the worry about the dance was not there anymore. However, when I went back in the afternoon the ideas flowed, and I was able to finish the dance.

Another time, I was asked to create a dance for a special occasion, and I asked a friend to compose the music for it. She was really happy to do so. I began to have some ideas for the steps, costume and lights. However, time was passing and there was no music. I was getting so frustrated. I understood that my friend was very busy with college and work so it was also hard for her. So I thought that I could just look for other music and solve my problem.

However, I realized that it wouldn’t be love for her since she had already spent some time working on it, and she wanted to love me by composing that piece. So I decided to be patient, not to judge but see things from her point of view. The music was ready just a few weeks before the performance, which made me think that there wasn’t enough time. But I threw myself into the preparation, continuing to love and being patient.  Sure enough, a dance was actually created just in time for the event.

Several years ago, one of my dance teachers asked me to perform with her other class because she said that the dances in that class were kind of “dark” and “negative,” including the one she had choreographed. I did what she asked just as a way to love her. After the performance she told me that my dance was a ray of light in the midst of the darkness. Since I knew that my dance was so simple compared to the difficult jumps and pirouette sequences of the other students, I realized that it was not my dance alone, but the expression of this life of loving and listening to the Artist inside of me that had impressed my teacher.

Now, I have my own small dance school called “Ray of Light,” giving classes in after school programs. I teach my students first of all to dance as a gift for others and that they always should dance out of love instead of just showing amazing dance steps. I often tell them that we should give to the audience something that they might not find in other performances: that light… the beauty of love’s presence in each dancer. My students realize that the more they love during class and outside of class, the more beautiful their dance will be. And this is the sole reason I teach and I dance.

Reprinted with permission from Living City Magazine – Nov 2013.