GOOD MOVE founder and dancer Jules Bakshi on dancing to resist the patriarchy and embrace yourself.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Jules Bakshi is the mind and body behind Brooklyn studio GOOD MOVE’s signature programming. While the studio is a physical — and now digital — manifestation of her years in choreography, she lives and breathes dance every day. Bakshi shares how movement plays an integral part in her wellbeing, and the way it could do the same for you.
How did you become a dancer?
I honestly think I was born to dance. I have been exploring movement ever since I can remember. Climbing trees, hanging upside down by my knees, bopping around anytime there was music on… I was always curious about what my body could do and what might feel good. I started taking gymnastics when I was seven years old, and I loved it so much. When I discovered modern dance and choreography in 6th grade (I went to an artsy public school that had modern dance, which I realize now was like the luckiest thing ever for me), that was kind of it–I was like, “YESSSSSS this is so ME and it feels so right, this is who I am.“
Since then I have never stopped dancing. I have had a career as a modern dancer, choreographer, and teacher, and now as the founder of GOOD MOVE, a dance and mindful fitness studio for movers of all levels, genders, shapes and sizes.
What impact does dancing have on our bodies and minds?
Dancing shows us a way to be more present in the world, a way to be awake with all our senses and all the parts of us coming together as a whole.
When I’m teaching improvisation, I’ll say something like, “Imagine that your fingers and toes are antennae, absorbing information from your surroundings.” The funny thing is, they already are! We just dissociate from our bodies so much that we forget how much we physically absorb, how much each physical part of us takes in from our surroundings. It‘s easy to get stuck in our heads, in our computers and technology. When we start to come into deeper awareness with our bodies, we can have much richer experiences and learn to feel not just with our brains, but with our whole selves.
Then of course there is the literal physical strength and grace that comes when you make dancing a regular part of your life. When we are in the practice of dancing, we are able to express ourselves better, move through the world with more confidence, and physically take up the space we deserve to occupy in a world that tells so many of us to be smaller and that wants us to be less powerful.
Do you have any advice for those looking to incorporate movement and/or dance as a regular practice into their own lives?
The first step is to give yourself permission. You (yes, YOU!) deserve to experience a full, integrated mind-body experience in this life. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s about seeing what kind of freedom, joy, and empowerment is possible — and staying in a space of curious non-judgement as you explore. It doesn’t have to look cool or be “good.” What matters is that you give yourself permission to let your body speak without judging it. Our limbs and muscles and bones hold on to so much, and each of our bodies has a story (or 1,000 stories) to tell. When we can turn off the mind-chatter and just let our bodies show us what they need from us, we can release so much stagnant energy and start to heal and care for ourselves on a deeper level.
How can we use movement in healing?
It’s a healing act of rebellion to reclaim our bodily autonomy in a patriarchal society that tells so many of us what we should look like, how we should act, how much space we can take up, where to go, and who we can be. Remembering and nurturing [our] inner child is an important part of this process. Dancing and finding our joy is essential for empowering ourselves and each other.
If you want to realize your potential and heal your trauma, the first step is remembering that you have a body, and that it’s YOURS. Take your body back from the media, from capitalism, from everything in our society that says you need to look, dress, feel, be a certain way. Dancing is an incredible way to do that. It’s a beautiful way to spend time getting to know or re-know your body and its wisdom, finding your joy, and flipping off the patriarchy while you do it.