The Beauty of Dance

If you know me, even just a little, you know that I love to dance.  Whether it’s just dancing around with my friends, taking a Zumba class, or doing it real big at Dance Marathon, dancing for me has always been a form of self-expression and fun.  But after being here in Cambodia for a few weeks, dancing has taken on a completely different meaning for me.  Since the women do not speak English, and I do not speak Khmer, you might be wondering, how are they communicating?  Yes, we have a wonderful translator that helps us tremendously when we’re teaching them English and leading them in daily devotions, but what about the times when we’re just hanging out?  What do we do?  Well, in a one word answer, we dance.
Every time we dance, the relationships that I’ve been forming go deeper.  I don’t know exactly what it is, but when someone starts dancing in the presence of others, it automatically reveals this sort of vulnerable side in them.  It sounds silly, but we do a dance and afterward I feel like we know each other better.  As I was reflecting back at some of the highlight dance moments, it hit me that dance has been a major form of communication for me.  Let me run you through some of them:
– The time we ran out in the pouring down rain and all started dancing for a solid thirty minutes.
–  The time we taught them “The Wobble.”
– The time they taught us a dance to some Cambodian song.
– The time they taught us their dance to “Every Move I Make,” and then we proceeded to do it over and over and over again because it’s their all-time favorite song.
– When we break out and dance to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” because it’s one of the only American songs they know.
– The time we all did the Macarena.
– Or the time when I just play some of my music and we freestyle dance.
These are some of my favorite dance moments, but this week particularly dance played an even more crucial part in developing friendships.  This week we surprised the girls announcing that we were going to shoot a legit music video to the song “Wavin’ Flag.”  For the video, we went all out for hair and makeup, and we even rode in the Tuk-Tuks one day to shoot a special scene amidst the indescribably breathtaking and lush fields of Cambodia. It was so much fun getting all ready with the women, and as we started shooting it was such a success.  Everyone was dancing, laughing, and having so much fun.

Me with some of the girls at our music video shoot!  From left to right is Chan Ton, me, Suk Leap, Kun Heang, Kun Tea, and Orin 🙂

In all of these beautiful memories, I’m realizing that every dance is like a little conversation.  Can we talk to each other?  Not really, but that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate, and that is the beauty of dance – it’s trans-cultural.  Every day I am more and more grateful for God’s gift of dance, and because He has given it to me, I will praise Him with it.  In the beautiful Khmer language, I’ll say it again and mean it even more, “Kngm solang ram,” – I love to dance.

With two of my favorite girls — Kun Heang and Kun Tea — looking all crazy for another part of the music video shoot!

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.” – Psalm 149:3

More Articles in This Topic