shannon leith ///// movement from within: a dancer’s soul.

April 17, 2012

////////////// on shining & letting yourself be seen.

One thing I really believe about dance is that it’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t dance, your body was meant to move. In particular, move to music. Move as an expression. Get connected with your body. Why do you think clubbing is so popular? One could argue that dancing at clubs is a a courting ritual because it seems in many ways so sexual. But I don’t think that’s always the case. I think dancing to music is a really easy way to let go of any pent up emotions, and simply feel free.

& I think that everyone wants to feel free as much as they can.

Meet Shannon, a beautiful soul who discovered her love for dance only about two years ago. For nearly her entire life, she turned away from dancing, actually telling people that she didn’t dance. It wasn’t until about two years ago that she did The Artist’s Way, and realized that deep down, she actually had a dancer’s soul. & she could no longer ignore that. So she began to dance.

In many ways, Shannon is a fledgling, a baby bird. Getting to know her wings, getting to know her body in this new way. Experimenting, trying, and stretching her muscles. Often, with something this new, we will be cautious, and not let others in to our new venture. This new part of us. We don’t feel quite confident enough to let others in often because we fear their reaction. What if they ridicule us? What if I look silly or stupid? What if they don’t like it?

So we don’t let others in. We keep it to ourselves. The thing with that is that when we don’t let others in, we don’t let ourselves out. When a wall goes up to protect oneself, neither side can connect to one another.

For the first half of Shannon’s shoot, this is what we experienced. She would dance, but she would keep me out, so I couldn’t see her. It was if she was dancing in her own world, keeping it all to herself. While I understand the desire to do so, I also wanted to be included in the magic she was creating within herself. I wanted to connect, I wanted to listen to what she was saying — & I wanted to see her.

Specifically, I wanted to see her SHINE.

When I brought this up, I remember she looked at me — wide eyed. The thought of connecting to another person while dancing had never occurred to her. The thought that someone actually wanted to be included & listen to what she was saying surprised her. All art forms are born from communication & expression. Dance especially. It’s visual expression through your body.

For people with dancer’s souls, this is something that comes from deep within. And we have to let these emotions & feelings & movements out or we’ll feel stifled. It’s like not being able to talk, even though you have the vocal chords & ability to.

Dancing isn’t just about the lines that we can create, although they can be beautiful. It’s about the energy, the soul, the person deep within. You’re essentially sharing yourself with another person through the language of movement.

So I encouraged her, and reached out my hand to her. I wanted to see her, I wanted to feel her emotions, and I wanted to be there with her. More than anything, she deserved be seen, she deserved to SHINE.

Shannon is a beautiful soul and should to share herself & her spirit with the world. Not only as a photographer or a person, but as a dancer. Everyone should see her spirit through her movement, and go on that journey along with her. It deserves to be seen and it will allow her to connect with others in ways that may not be possible with simple speech or actions. This, is the power of dance.

Thank you for sharing, my lovely friend, I hope the world gets to see more of your dancer’s soul.

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The story of Shannon & I meeting & connecting is actually a special one. A couple of months ago, a stranger had told Shannon that she had a “dancer’s soul.” She wondered what that meant, so she went home to google it, and upon doing that, she found my blog & my dancer’s soul series & immediately connected with it. She sent me a lovely email, and I remember being so pleasantly surprised — I had actually been following her blog for some time. Funny how life works, doesn’t it? :) It’s as if the dance fates brought us together <3

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past dancers: kyle filleymathew paul chounlamontry | melissa sanchez | tiffany kadani | emily pepper

4 Responses to “shannon leith ///// movement from within: a dancer’s soul.”

  1. Love this!!! I love the emotion in her face, really beautiful work!!!

  2. I’m in love. She moves the way I’ve always wanted to: humbly and organically.

  3. Christen says:

    BEAUTIFUL work!! You captured the free-spirited soul of Shannon in such a profound, moving, honest, vulnerable way! Shannon, you are GORGEOUS!! LOVE.

  4. Brandi says:

    I wonder what kind of soul I have.
    Shannon looks like so much fun — and I love the locations you shot in. It just feels right for her. I imagine her dancing wherever she goes.