How Lauren got her groove back

I’ve never been shy or uncomfortable about dancing or moving my body. 

I always loved to dance as a kid, I took belly dance classes with my sister when I was 13. I was a teen in the 90s and went to raves and danced with glow sticks. Any time I was in a situation to take a dance class, I enjoyed it.

But I was never a dancer in the sense that I never did ballet, modern, contemporary, in that structured take class and dance in recitals sort of way.

I just danced. Because I liked to.

At the club, at home, on the street when a car had on some bumping jams. 

I liked to dance!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when people say I dance or I’m a dancer, they mean one of two things.

Either they’re a dancer in the way I just described, with tutus and high buns and dance shows.

Or they dance. In the exotic, adult entertainment way.

I was the latter.

Yes, friends. There’s a little tidbit you may not have known. I spent nearly 10 years shaking my ass for money.

Zero regrets.

While there were definitely things about that job that were unpleasant and less-than-savory, spending multiple hours a week dancing wasn’t one of them.

And I was GOOD at it! I wasn’t the top dancer on the stage, but I could shake and flow and toss my hair with the best of them.

That sort of unbound, flowing, lucious movement was my jam. 

I was still dancing when I started doing circus. I actually got started with aerial through people that I danced with.

When the club that I danced at closed, I was ready to move on from that life. And not long after, I went to circus school.

I have written elsewhere about my experience at circus school, and the faceplant into the Dunning-Krueger curve that I experienced there. But I don’t think that I fully realized the profound impact that it made on me until very recently.

And that’s what this post is about. 

I arrived at circus school confident and excited to take my training to the next level. Only to realize that the skills I thought I had were tenuous, with no solid foundation. And that my technique was non-existent. And that basically everything else about me was lacking in some way.

It wasn’t just the fact that the coaches were hard on me that was so crushing, though they were. But that so many of the other people in the program had formal training, mostly in dance or gymnastics.

In comparison to them, I was laughably inadequate.

And thus began my obsessive journey into training technique.

The need to be stronger, more flexible, move the right way, was all consuming. And the parameters for success were very narrow! And that meant everything outside of them had to go.

Slow, lucious movement? Gone.

Booty shaking sensuality? Nope.

Unbound, ecstatic flow? It had no place in my life anymore.

This type of movement, which for so long had been a cornerstone of my movement identity, was now holding me back from my goals. And so I put those parts of me away.

Movement became about attainment, trying to reach some sort of ideal.

And honestly, I lost most of the joy.

Because it became about chasing something that would always be out of reach. About comparing myself to everyone around me and only seeing the ways in which I lacked. The things that my older, untrained, curvy body would never be able to achieve.

I knew, in my deepest self, that I would never be good enough.

This is why I never pursued a professional performance career.

And despite all this, my training stayed on this trajectory. Trying to attain something out of reach, becoming more rigid and more constrained. I was training “the right way”.

But I no longer had a goal. I no longer had joy. My body became something I was working against, instead of the partner that allowed me to accomplish amazing things.

And eventually, I just gave up.

My body hurt, I had major gut health issues, and what the hell was I training for, anyway?

I loved coaching, I loved learning more about movement and bodies, I loved helping other people on their movement journeys. I could just do that.

And so I have.

And while I’ve done that, I’ve been learning how to apply the same compassion and understanding that I have for my students and clients to myself. Gradually unraveling the rigidity, and unbinding myself. Letting go of the shame of never being “enough”.

Remembering the fact that not only CAN movement feel good, it SHOULD feel good!

And that our physical selves deserve to be celebrated and cared for!

In December, I turned 44. For my birthday, I went to a party with an old friend.


I let go and I moved in ways that I hadn’t moved in years. I felt the music crawl up inside me, and I let go.

Recently, a new pole studio opened near my house. I decided to take a class and the teacher taught me a simple combo. And then we danced it. Slowly, and lusciously. 

My ass, it shook!

And it felt so good, to move in this way that was previously so familiar but that I had denied myself for so long.

Marlo Fiskin was offering an online class series called Drip Trip, which sounded absolutely perfect, and was at a time that I was actually available to attend live.

For the last few weeks, I’ve laid on the floor and listened to her encourage me to slosh, and feel, and circle. And be allowed and encouraged to move into a state of flow, without expectation or judgment.

To just be with my movement. To enjoy it. To be unbound.

And I feel this part of me reawakening. Some part of me that I put away, unfurling.

Like a flower, blossoming and reaching for the sun.

I found the joy again. And this time, I’m not going to lose it.

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