It Feels Wrong to Dance



It feels wrong to dance

when there are people out there

who prioritize weapons over the welfare

of their children,

Who choke on power and greed

while the rest of us struggle to breathe.


It feels wrong to dance

on the graves of the thousands of people

who die daily

from war,

from hate,

from fear gone viral.


It feels wrong to dance

when respect for ourselves,

our neighbors,

our country

has been reduced to a sad, tattered rag

flapping in the wind.


It feels wrong to dance

on the surface of a planet

that has done everything it can

to support and nurture us,

and that we have only deceived and decimated.


Who are we to dance?

When so many can’t walk

or run

or sleep

without being targeted.


Who are we to dance?

When so many can’t safely leave their homes,

and so many others don’t have homes to leave.


Who are we to feel the joy that comes

when movement meets music

and creates magic?


It feels so wrong to dance,

to float across the floor to a beautiful melody

when there is so much chaos, darkness

and ugliness in the world.


Maybe that’s the point.


Maybe dance is the antidote to this poison,

a light in the darkness.


When you dance, you can’t scream hateful rhetoric.

You can’t throw rocks or blame.

You can’t break windows or bones.

Your anger is channeled

and transformed into calm.


When we’re calm, we can hear each other.

When we’re calm, we can help each other.


So even though it feels wrong to dance,

perhaps we must.


Perhaps we must dance

because we need its magic.

The magic that happens when chaotic emotion is transformed

into powerful rhythm.


Perhaps we must dance

to reintroduce balance, flow,

beauty and peace

back into the world.


Perhaps we must dance to save ourselves

and to save each other.


So dance, my dear dancers,

but do it with purpose.

Dance here, now, so your light can shine.

Dance to listen.

Dance to understand.

Dance to empower and inspire good in this world.

Dance with trust, reason, and compassion.

Dance for others

and dance for yourself.

An illustrated outline of many figures moving in different ways.


We are the music makers,

    And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

    And sitting by desolate streams; —

World-losers and world-forsakers,

    On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

    Of the world for ever, it seems.

-Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy


Katie Flashner, a.k.a. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo, is a published author, blogger, and dancer based in mid-coast Maine. She loves exploring her creativity through nature, movement, and the written word, and revels in living in a place where there are more trees than people. You can catch her wandering through the woods on Instagram at @thegirlwiththetreetattoo.

Sarah Groth is an interdisciplinary performer, choreographer, teacher, poet, and mixed medium visual artist. After achieving a degree in Contemporary Dance and Intercultural Communications from the University of New Mexico, Sarah set out as an independent artist and traveler. She has had the privilege of moving, creating, and performing with renowned international artists across the world. Sarah has been published in the Albuquerque Journal, Blue Mesa Review, Daily Lobo, Stance on Dance, and Forty South. Sarah is committed to addressing the complexities of humanness in conjunction with self and community — aiming to bring the intensely intimate forward, creating openness within juxtaposition and identity.