Dance in Your Own Backyard

Every place has its own character, its own gifts to share. Often those gifts can be seen more readily when a place is fresh and new, when it offers some respite from our daily lives, a contrast to our familiar routine. We dream of walks along the beach or strolls on the Champs-Élysées. We want mountains, quiet, solitude or restaurants, culture, excitement. We want a bit of adventure, an experience that will nourish us and add some spice to our everyday life. Travel is one way to do that but what if we go the other direction?

What if we shake up our routine and discover adventure and nourishment right where we live?

We become so accustomed to our city, our town, our neighbourhood that we stop seeing its gifts. And we’re so busy and drained from life’s demands that we often stop going out to play, savour and explore. If we’re not careful, we stop having new experiences at all. We stop filling our wells and expanding our horizons. We remain on our everyday treadmill while waiting for a vacation or a trip we will take ‘someday’ instead of engaging with beautiful, nourishing experiences that are available in our own backyard.

This can happen even in a city as big and dynamic as Toronto. This city has so much going on that every day there are literally oodles of wonderful things to chose from – a cultural festival, a class, a charitable event, a conference​, hundreds of restaurants, concerts, art exhibits, theatre performances, dance, even ax-throwing!  I mean, Justin and I went on a date night where we learned archery in a castle!! That’s the kind of city this is. In fact, there’s so much to do that choosing becomes a barrier. Can’t decide? Another night of Netflix it is!

Now, I love a night of Netflix! But not every night. Not all the time. I want it to stay special too! So sometimes, I want to make a different choice, have a new experience – and I don’t want to wait for a trip!

What new experience is available right now in your own backyard?

Jamie Ridler at Porch View Dances

I asked myself that question this week and Justin and I ended up at Porch View Dances, a dance event that is known for having “real people dancing in real places.” This is how they describe the event: “Audience members travel from house to house to see new dance works created by professional choreographers and performed by local families on their porches, front yards and driveways of their own homes.”

So on a beautiful summers night Justin and I went to one of our favourite neighbourhoods to watch creative hearts dance. The streets were blocked off by volunteers on bicycles and the audience felt like a community. We sat together in the middle of the road and were immersed in a culture of dance, celebration and inclusion. We moved between locations on foot, on bike and in wheelchairs. We watched community dancers and professional dancers and we had the opportunity to dance ourselves. It was beautiful and memorable.

Walk with me through the Porch View Dances…

Porch 1: ec * o * sys * tem

Porch View Dances ec-o-sys-tem

Porch View Dances ec o sys tem

Vignette 1: Path

Porch View Dances Path
Porch View Dances Path

JRS Porch View Dances

Porch 2: Around the Moon

Porch View Dances Around the Moon

Porch View Dances Around the Moon
Porch View Dances Around the Moon

Vignette 2: Weyó Na Miyó

Porch View Dances Weyó Na Miyó

Porch View Dances Weyó Na Miyó

Porch View Dances Weyó Na Miyó

Vignette 3: 2 Go

Porch 3: Mino Bimaadiziwin – The Good Life

Flock Landing

Ultimately the event did exactly what it was intended to do: “PVD was designed to celebrate the stories of neighbourhood residents and to bridge the gap between professional art and everyday people.. PVD sends the strong and powerful message that art is for everyone.

No wonder I loved it.

For years one of my Focus Areas has been what I call “Experience Life”. There are a million ways to do this and one beautiful way is to get out there in your community, in your town and engage. Find what there is to love, wherever you are. Each place has something unique and precious to share – just like we do.

This week, I hope you’ll get out and “experience life” in your hometown.

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