The Healing Power of Moving Together in Times of Division

by Lauren DeVera, The Lion's Den

Photo by: Traye Gilliam

Photo by: Sarah Noelle Photography

Photo by: Traye Gilliam

Photo by: Cornerstone Captures (at Goodies Frozen Custard)

Photo by: Traye Gilliam

Photo by: Sarah Noelle Photography

“The positive energy from the entire group was contagious and made me feel “young” again. The drive to Alexandria was worth every minute.”  —  Words shared by one of our 50-year-old community members who makes the long drive for a weekly dance class at The Lion's Den in Alexandria. 

What if I told you that no matter how old you are, no matter where you came from, dance is for you?

Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with a dance class, or were traumatized as a kid and swore to never dance in front of anyone ever again… take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. I invite you to reconsider.

Now is the perfect time to dance, to dance with reckless abandon. Between work, home, and family obligations, movement is vital not only to our physical health but our mental health as well. Some benefits include better sleep, improved memory, more energy and it boosts your mood!

We need dance and movement more than ever. We don’t always have a solution to the world’s problems, but we can find a solution in ourselves, in our bodies, our forever home.

“But for many of us, there is no form of self-expression that makes us feel more vulnerable than dancing. It is full-body vulnerability.” — Brene Brown

We get it. Asking someone to dance is vulnerable, requires courage and a dash of not caring about what others think. All the ingredients we need to live life boldly and unapologetically.

The thought of adding music, movement, and coordination can be absolutely terrifying! But here’s where COMMUNITY comes in. 

There is power in numbers and when we have accountability and a group of people to show up to on a regular basis, we’re more inclined to continue to show up for ourselves. Community is the bedrock of what we do at The Lion’s Den. We gather because of the people who show up, and we dance because we need it. 

The Lion’s Den is known for our infectious, familial vibes while providing quality, professional teaching in an inclusive, learning environment. As a daughter of immigrant parents, belonging & representation matter. 

We dance and educate at the intersection of mindful movement, artistic expression, and community care.

Being in a space where you feel comfortable to show up as you are, as your body is today and to release and express yourself. Dance is about liberation, expression, and passion! It’s not about looking like Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Dance, however, if that’s your goal, this is also the place for you. Your reason to dance may be different from mine, but what we do have in common is being human and needing a space to release our stress, and HAVE FUN! Pure, unadulterated fun. 

Can you imagine for a second what it would feel like to be at your next party or concert, and just dance without a care in the world? Here’s a secret: Noone is judging you except for yourself.

If there’s anything this pandemic has shown us, it’s that life truly is short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I don’t know about you, but if I were to die tomorrow, I’d want to die knowing I did what I wanted to do with no fear of judgment, and be surrounded by people who care.

That’s what being in a community means. Doing things that we care about, together.

And the best part is doing it right here in Alexandria. As a fellow resident for the last five years, my biggest joy has been collaborating with local businesses and families. Our very first class was held at the Safeway on King St., in their vacant conference room. Those few months in the grocery store sparked the energy and momentum for the love we have for Alexandria. 

We hope to shift the narrative around dance, freedom of expression and remind folks that adults deserve to make time for play and rest.

Here are a few tips on how you can make the most out of your first dance class experience:

Seems doable right? The perfect time to start something new is not tomorrow, but TODAY.

Can you make time to sprinkle in a few hours of music, fun, and movement into your schedule? This is your sign to DANCE.

For more information and for new student specials, visit lauren-devera.com/thelionsden. Follow The Lion's Den on Instagram at @thelionsdendmv.

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