One Dance: Toni’s Personal Journey

In this blog post, dive deep into my personal journey that led to the creation of JourneyDance. From battling perfectionism to finding liberation through movement, I share how dance became the key to unlocking self-love and healing. Join me in reflecting...

In this blog post, dive deep into my personal journey that led to the creation of JourneyDance. From battling perfectionism to finding liberation through movement, I share how dance became the key to unlocking self-love and healing. Join me in reflecting on how ONE DANCE CHANGED MY LIFE!

In June 1993, I was in grad school at NYU for a Masters in Education.

I worked my way through school at a public relations firm for Art & Culture and in my spare time I took yoga, dance, improv and comedy classes.

And I was having a hard time because I was dealing with body image issues, disordered eating, self-abuse and severe mental negativity.

I was conditioned into a perfectionist mindset that meant:

I would never be good enough

My self worth was only felt through external approval

Self-hatred ran deep in my family of origin

so I had grown up with that conditioning

On top of that… I had become obsessed with exercise and dieting

that was preventing me from having deep relationships and maintaining friendships..

My wild emotions frightened me, so I numbed them out.

I was drinking, smoking, partying, and (dancing in clubs was my favorite release…)

No one knew what I was going through behind my mask. Underneath I knew I had some serious problems and I needed help. I was stuck in the perfectionist culture of the success train, trying to fit into societal norms and the achievement trap…

I was failing at healthy relationships…

In a search for hope, I began my spiritual quest. I went to many many therapists. And it wasn’t until I met a Gestalt therapist who helped me uncover my childhood trauma and the dysfunction that I was trying to hide with my perfectionism.

To deepen my own healing, I decided to go to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for a personal retreat.

It wasn’t until the dance/movement session that I realized just how disconnected from my body I truly had been and how limited I was because of it.

In that monumental moment of my first free form dance I found myself, literally, crying on the floor in a puddle of tears and realizations… I felt self-love for the very first time, and in that I knew I could heal what I thought was brokenness into someone whole!

Then I experienced how much better life could be and I was hooked.

I never stopped dancing from that moment on….

I found love for my body, a new profound love for what I hated and tried to control, for so many years. I felt my sensations, my sensuality, my whole being, I fell in love with my body and my life.

I found room for my emotions, my heart, my soul’s expression….on the dance floor…

I knew at that moment that music and movement would be my medicine for reconnecting to my body, this one and only temple that I live in!

And then things all started to fall into place, my life was coming together, I felt like something clicked and I was home and I was whole. That’s when I started studying every type of movement I could, every type of psychodrama, theater, and voice work! Then I started teaching classes.

I entered a deeper understanding into my own healing, and I witnessed others having deep healing experiences of their own.

I owe it all to finding my body on the dance floor for the first time in years. I returned from dissociation to fully inhabit myself…

That’s when I knew I needed to offer this so others could heal like I did…

Imagine if you led one dance that changed the course of someone’s life. Imagine if a phrase you said while dancing like “Listen to the whispers of your heart…what does your heart really need?”, or “You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are enough” opened a new possibility for them and they really heard it for the very first time?

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