There are two flights of gray wooden stairs leading up to Athena’s Music Sanctuary. They are old and creaky. The building itself is a Victorian era factory, now mostly inhabited by artists and healers and other self-employed locals. Other than the stairs, it’s usually very quiet. But today I was greeted by the sound of Athena’s music when I stepped through the front door. I followed it through the hallways, louder with each step. She told me she turned the volume down before I got there, but I her smile said she was happy to have her music heard throughout the building. So was I.
It’s Wednesday, the day Mandy and Athena and I meet for lunch and meditating or dancing before that. Mandy had a last-minute appointment and Athena banged up her knee in a bicycle accident so I assumed we wouldn’t be dancing. But Athena had another idea. “I’ll play piano” she said “and you can dance”. A year ago I couldn’t have done it. A part of me wanted to tell her not to watch me, but I didn’t. I actually just loved the idea too much.
So Athena played and I danced. Maybe moved is a better way to put it. Her music was rich and full of emotion, her vocals not words, but sounds. I could feel what she was playing and my body responded. Sometimes I felt like I was swimming under water, fluid, the space around me tangible with sound. A dance partner that molded to my movements. Giving up my feelings of self-consciousness, knowing I was in a safe place, I danced until Athena stopped playing. And I knew something special happened in that old factory building in my small Upstate NY town. A new level of trust and creativity sprouted between friends. And then we talked about spreading the joy and imagined a room full of people dancing around Athena’s music. Not professional dancers, but people who want to move their bodies in a form of self-expression. People who want to toss away their self-consciousness in a safe and healing environment. People who want to dance.