On March 30, 2014 I had the genuine privilege of being more than a tourist in Zagreb, Croatia, thanks to my new friend, Vesna Mačković, who invited me to a very special workshop at the Zagreb Dance Center.
After a moment’s hesitation, and with a mix of curiosity and a bit of nerves, I accepted her invitation, not knowing at all what to expect. And I am so glad that I did, as you will soon discover.
It turns out that I had been invited to a session of the Integrated Movement Research Collective (IMRC), a dance workshop that encourages participation “for all sorts of bodies”, amateur and professional, regardless of any physical challenges or other disabilities.
Being there as a welcome and trusted guest was quite an honor.. and seeing the teachers and student dancers in action was absolutely inspirational. This privileged experience touched me in ways that I will never be able to put into words, but the big lesson is this: Our humanity is not defined by what we have or don’t have, but by what we choose to do with what we have or don’t have.
But the best part was yet to come, as I was invited to “take my shoes off” and participate. And participate I did… with all the dancers… amateur and professional… able-bodied and challenged… as both leader and follower… in a variety of structured improvisations.
As you can see from the smile on my face, the experience was no less than pure joy… and the impact on me nothing short of transformational. When it was time to leave, I thanked the group for their trust, generosity, and forgiveness for my horrible dancing and made a special point to thank all the dancers… able-bodied and challenged alike… for inspiring me to want to dance, too!