This dance journal follows author, researcher, and university lecturer Laura Kline as she embarks on a unique journey towards heightened awareness. It records her daily insecurities as a fifty-five-year-old dance student—doing undercover research for her next lesbian romance novel—at her own university.
Nervous about joining this high-risk contact improvisation class, she soon realizes what a tremendous opportunity it offers the protagonists, two fictional female dancers who fall in love. Little does she suspect how this course, along with her weekly 5Rhythms® dance sessions, will impact her personal growth and worldview, by forcing her to slow down and experience the intense flavor of each moment. It even enhances her survival skills.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hits, her daily journal reflections broaden to include noisy neighbors, walls closing in on her, her partner, and their cat during the sudden stay-at-home order, struggles with teaching remotely, loss of sleep, weight loss, etc.
Without realizing it, Laura becomes the protagonist of her own book—this journal.
Her lively and humoristic adventure through dance illustrates how becoming present—even for five short minutes while standing still in pure silence—what she calls the Happy Dance—can literally lift people up, providing a safe space to traverse unexpected rocky roads.
Her expedition is pebbled with injury and stress, yet she continues dancing. Page by page, with Laura’s stick-figure illustrations, we gradually see how Laura unearths a youthful buoyancy in her musculoskeletal system, lubricating her achy joints, giving them a bounce as she treads barefoot into the kitchen—or masters the moonwalk in her school’s photocopy room.
Through a deep exploration of mindful movement and contact improvisation, we observe Laura as she dances her way to greater health, stability, healing, and happiness.