When I was little, I used to be able to astral project with ease.
A scene from Doctor Strange involving astral projection.
Astral projection involves an out-of-body experience—think the trippy scenes in Dr. Strange when he separates from his physical self. Sometimes, I’d observe myself from the third person, processing everything that happened to me from a more detached standpoint, separating myself from whatever seemed important at the moment. Other times, I’d take flight and leave my body behind, completely forgetting about my circumstances as my thoughts flew freely across the world. As I got older, it has become much harder to astral project. Luckily, I’ve discovered a substitute:
Though astral projecting is my secret superpower, dancing is, most decidedly, not. I am not the smoothest on the dance floor. My pops and locks look more like spasms than sharp, cutting movements. But I make up for it in my facial expressions: a cool expression, cutesy smile, or over-the-top Broadway grin. It’s not hard because when I dance, adrenaline and pure joy rushes through my veins. Through joining Movement, a new dance group that focuses on K-Pop, and Danceworks, Yale’s only non-audition dance group, I experienced those highs multiple times a week, from rehearsals to tech week to show time.
A fellow Yalie choreographed to “2am,” and I got to dance with these awesome human beings in Danceworks’ Fall 2018 Show!
Dancing, like astral projecting, allows me to step away from my immediate circumstances for a moment. Dancing is like parking all my anxieties at the door. I take off my street shoes and the weight of the world lifts from my shoulders. When I do a Downward Dog stretch I roll out the pressures not only in my lower back but in school, extracurriculars, and personal life. dancing gives me an awareness of the body I inhabit and the space I take up. Though it’s not as sweet as flying, as I jump into the air tucking my legs under me, it comes pretty damn close.
“I Like Me Better” was the other dance I participated in for Danceworks this semester!
Part of distancing myself from, well, myself is logistical. My phone is tucked away in my backpack. For an entire hour I cannot access it—so why do so mentally? It can wait for an hour. This hour is mine. No emails, notifications, distractions. Anyway, I can’t afford to check my phone, even in my imagination. Dancing physically demands me to be mentally present. It is hard to execute a pirouette thinking about the twenty million things on my to-do list, much less execute the right moves while trying to lip-sync to a K-Pop song when you don’t speak Korean.
Cassandra becomes a K-Pop star for a hot second in Movement’s Fall 2018 Show.
This past semester I got to accomplish my dreams of being a K-Pop girl group idol. I got to learn original choreography from an amazing student choreographer. In both groups, I got to make new friends–and fans. “Okayyy, I see you Cassandra!” my fellow dancers and friends in the audience would bellow over the music. I realized that unlike astral projecting, I don’t have to leave my identity behind to escape stress. All I need is a beat on the dancefloor.
Check out other amazing dances from Danceworks: