Raw: A Dancer Steps from Darkness into the Light
I spent many years witnessing beautiful dancers in the dark haze of the strip clubs. A dancer myself, much of that time, I was blessed to see utter beauty in their artistry. But there was also always a disquiet in my mind, a piece I just wasn’t getting.
I often found myself wondering, All this beauty…why is it here? Why has it been relegated to the lowest of low places?
I couldn’t understand why this exquisite expression of female sexuality was being demeaned and given the worth of only a dollar.
Will it never be celebrated in the light of day? Why were we as a society not celebrating this incredible art form of sensual and erotic movement?I asked myself.
One dancer, a good friend of mine, was so talented, that her own mother came to watch her. Seeing this for myself confirmed I wasn’t alone in my perception of what I believed was a divine expression of feminine sensuality.
Many years have passed since I initially asked myself those questions, but the sentiment never really left my mind. A while back, I returned to the town where I had worked as a dancer all of those years ago. I asked around hoping to reconnect with my old friend. I was sad to find out she had found religion and would not dare to speak to someone from her old “days of sin”. It was especially troubling for me because she had been one of the purest-hearted individuals I had ever met. I felt disappointed by so many things…things I couldn’t put into words or make cognitive sense of at the time.
Now, I finally have the conscious awareness I need to be able to put the disappointment I felt into context. I also have the ability to articulate these feelings and experiences and share them with others.
Underneath my vague unease and disappointment, I sensed the depth of the lie society and religion were feeding us. The lie that female sexuality is so dangerous it must be penned in and considered illicit.
My sweet friend was convinced she was wrong to dance the way she had, and society and religion were right. She drank the damn juice! I can’t express the beauty has now been covered and cloistered with yet more layers of chains and shame.
But now widening my lens from what is personal into a broader perspective, I understand that without a new cultural paradigm surrounding women’s sexuality, we will continue to live in the dark ages where female sexuality is exploited and sold all for the cheap price of a dollar bill.
And since I’ve been gifted the opportunity to explore the darkest of dark places and return not only fully intact, but shining even more brightly, I want to tell you beauty exists in every single facet of life, but especially so in the darkest places. For the ego has a fragile hold on the broken hearted who find shelter among each other.
Regardless of where you have been or what you’ve been told, I am here to tell you this: The light of your spirit cannot be diminished or extinguished. Not ever.
You, my friend, are divine. You are the light you seek. And until you can believe, I’ll be the proof you need, that the same seed within you is the blossom you see in me.
For Cathy Reed, a third generation burlesque dancer, dance is in her blood. Unrestrained by any formal training she breaks all the rules and boundaries that would inhibit her innate expression.
Drawing on her experience from over a decade as an exotic dancer, Cathy has committed to bringing this art form, usually reserved for dark smokey rooms, from the shadows and into the light of conscious awareness.
In doing so, Cathy created, Dance Yourself to Life, a series of dance workshops that harness the ancient power of music and dance. Blending sensual movement and exotic flow with the powerful shamanic beats of ancient indigenous cultures she helps others reconnect with their authentic selves.