Dance and Tell

Table of Contents

By: Patrick  Shaffer

For as long as I can recall, dancing has made me extremely uncomfortable.  Don’t get me wrong, I love music of all types, when singing in my truck I have been called, ‘the songbird of my generation.’  I am not sure if fear, perception, or inexperience inhibits me, but I was presented with an impromptu opportunity to further explore.  Ron Armstrong and Heather Hayward made their way to Colorado for a visit, and after hearing them describe their vision of Dance and Tell, I felt obligated to share my vulnerability.

As a man in recovery, I have learned to thrive in uncomfortable situations; to walk through them with support of others around me.  Ron detailed how perfect he can be in a professional environment, yet, struggle in raw self-expression and dance, I relate. I thought, “shoot, this is one of those times I have to speak up.”  With humility, and gratitude for Ron I shared my personal struggle with self-expression through dance.

Our discussion, differentiating intellectual expression versus uninhibited physical expression through movement identified my lack of comfort.  The first step in this exploration process for me was to accept the fact I was going to be uncomfortable, and trust a process that Ron and Heather would guide.

That evening, dinner was served, AA meeting was solid, “maybe,” I thought, I would get out of this whole dance thing.  With an excited anxiety, I drove to the house and walked into see all of the furniture moved out of the living room, music loud, and everyone dancing.  I was welcomed into a room of smiles and an invitation to join.  Having expressed my anxiety participating, Ron and Heather graciously accepted me into the group with direction keeping it simple.  I called this Level 1: Willing to explore and express in a way that previously makes me uncomfortable.  This is all it took.

Heather and Ron coached myself and others on movement, and gave solid direction, keeping an exuberant atmosphere.  Three simple movements and we were in it.  Acceptance, expression, and laughter followed our session.  We processed the experience together and revealed a level of comfort I previously had not known.  The next step was to share my experience with my wife, Ron, Heather and I decided we would initiate a morning dance session when my wife arrived and surprise her.  My wife was in awe, as the last time we danced was two years previous at our wedding.

Dance and Tell opened my heart to expression of dance.  I have been tasked with taking my experience to another level and will have to ask for help to do that.  Trusting Ron and Heather to guide me in this process took radical vulnerability and trust.  Going to any lengths to explore spirituality, self-discovery, and pursuit of happiness is beautifully expressed in dance.  Thank you Ron and Heather for opening the floor.




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author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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