Spring 2014. Sweaty palms and a heart of mush. As I sit across the table from my teachers and mentors, I think about my uncertain future. Warm memories of learning choreography in the studio, messing around in the green room after a big performance and student/faculty holiday parties in the parlor of the dance building float around in my mind. Fond memories, but I long for something more. Suddenly I hear, “What are your plans after graduation?”
Winter 2019. Sitting bones grounded, soft smile. Parents fill the room and I settle into my skin. I am a registered dance/movement therapist and I get to do what I love every single day. Some days are exhausting. Others challenge me in ways I could have never imagined. Today, I start my day teaching parents body-based techniques for grounding and relaxation. We laugh, we breathe, we move, we connect.
Summer 2017. Pounding heart and tight chest. My first group at the hospital. What am I doing? That was stupid. I shouldn’t have said that. Am I doing it? They are moving. Everyone is moving!!! People are smiling. The room fills with laughter. What is happening? Should I do something else? No – let’s see where this goes.
Fall 2016. Flowing, diving in. I move with, between and around my classmates. Relationships form. Carving, slashing and floating through space. I close my eyes and feel the rhythm of my heartbeat, swaying from right to left. The studio is our classroom. An incubator. A laboratory. Our temporary home. The growth is tangible and scary and exhilarating. This is only the beginning.
Back to 2014. After hearing my response, that I wanted to pursue a degree in counseling and teach yoga part-time, one of my favorite professors shoots me one of her signature stern yet loving looks and says “You know that you won’t be able to dance. As a dance/movement therapist, you will.” In this pivotal moment, my decision was made. Despite the next few years of various part-time work, teaching jobs and researching graduate programs, I knew at that moment that I needed to follow my path – my intuition. Dance/movement therapy was it.
-Aliza Roth, R-DMT/former student