Kamla Sufi on the Open Floor

What was your life like before dance?

Before dance, my life was smaller: I was in touch with all of my feelings, but I didn’t have a way to express them in my everyday life. In my early dances, I wasn’t clear on how to express my personal boundaries in terms of space, giving energy to other dancers and receiving it from them.   

What happened when you stepped onto the dance floor?

A feeling of absolute freedom and being home. Feeling that I belonged there with the music, with the energy of everybody else. But, I needed to learn how to navigate other people and stay in my own practice. I learned to let the music move me, but not necessarily be swept away with the energy of every one else.

I felt safe in that every time I danced, I moved through something and left that emotion, feeling or thought there. Now, I come off the dance floor with more space in my heart and my mind.

Open Floor helps my body to move out of the linear into more spirals, stop and go, turns… it takes awareness and presence to be danced. I have healed past sports injuries, emotional pain and hurt without needing to say a word. I don’t need to explain my huge smiles or tears to anyone. I can express it all there, and I was giddy about that. 

Was there a turning point moment?

The turning point was Emptiness Dancing with Andrea Juhan. I had no idea what that meant. I never even read the description until after I took the workshop. I was changed forever.

Again, this practice’s ability to heal on such a deep level using music to move my body - until I WAS COMPLETELY EMPTY! Andrea is a Master at creating a safe and energetic container to let you explore your self and emotions.

My background is education, hiring teachers and administrators at the middle and high school level. I have never met the quality, capacity or care of teaching that Andrea is gifted with. At the end of the workshop, there was a long line to chat with her and all I could say was: “Thank you. I really want to teach this.”

What would you say about your life now that dance is in it?

Now I’m so much more in the know of me – me and my space, me and my energy, how I feel. I don’t live near dance, so now when I’m energetically low, I get up, play eclectic music and move.

I already move a lot, being a single mom of two, yoga teacher and hiker, but when I let music settle somewhere on my body and let my breath guide my movement, wow!

Dance has brought me back to the pleasure of exploring world music. And the best part: dance has introduced me to this incredibly conscious, sweet, caring, hearty community that I didn’t even know existed for all of the 26 years I have lived here in Bay Area.