Dance is one of the very first human art forms, and yet you won’t see it in just about any museum you visit.
Why? Dance is a living art, one that needs to be experienced firsthand, ideally as a participant.
This is the core idea behind Dance Freedom, which is both a dance space as well as a dance movement, founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts was back in the 1960s.
It originally grew out of unstructured events held on the Cambridge Commons, including small concerts. People just started dancing, and they were free to do so alone or with others.
Dance Freedom, also referred to as DanceFree, developed organically out of this spontaneous expression.
It’s no coincidence, of course, that all of this was happening in Cambridge, MA, in close to proximity to Harvard University and MIT, two institutions which, to this day, house renowned forward-thinking intellectuals and artists.
Dance Freedom has a long legacy and has earned its distinguished reputation. Initially holding events in a church basement, it became too popular for this small space.
Dance Freedom has since established itself as a distinguished charitable organization, holding events that allow participants to experience the powerful intersection of music and dance.
Recently, internationally renowned Biodanza Expert/Facilitator Caroline Lindsey Churba agreed to begin working with Dance Freedom as a key part of their current operation.
Churba has led a long and distinguished career in the area of dance and movement, including the founding of Biodanza South Africa. Fortunately, Churba found some time to speak with LNGFRM about the power of Dance Freedom events and dance as a whole.
Churba very strongly believes in the inherent value of Biodanza and the power of dance and movement and how it enables well being and self-development. It can be a powerful tool for alleviating stress and opening people up to enjoyment and relaxation. She has been involved in Biodanza for many years and is also a trained Physiotherapist and understands the human body on myriad levels.
What was your first contact with Dance Freedom? Were you already aware of their prestigious reputation?
Churba: I heard about Dance Freedom from several different sources, including from MIT and Harvard graduates. I also heard about Dance Freedom in South Africa back in the nineties and I am amazed and impressed that they are still going strong after fifty years.
How does your own approach to dance and movement align with Dance Freedom’s historic and groundbreaking approach?
Churba: We share many of the same core elements, especially the same sense of community spirit. We both share a deep understanding that joy is inside all of us, we just have to access it through music, dance, and genuine human connection.
Do you have big plans for how you’d like to influence Dance Freedom?
Churba: My most significant contribution to dance freedom will be the building of community and adding something new but old into the mix. I enjoy being a facilitator of human emotion and the magic of human connection. If we can do that together, then my work with Dance Freedom will be successful.
Prior to your work with Dance Freedom, you had already established yourself as the Founder of Biodanza South Africa, a distinguished organization. You pioneered bringing Biodanza to the English-speaking communities and established successful schools in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Do you draw on your many years of experience with Biodanza?
Churba: I’m definitely immersed in the music of Africa. I have worked with diversity and worked through the challenges of racial segregation. Through all of this, I have developed a set of tools to facilitate the melting of human barriers.
What would you say is your favorite aspect of Dance Freedom and how it operates?
Churba: I definitely appreciate how Dance Freedom accepts absolutely everyone, beyond age, race, religion, and any of the other lines we tend to draw in the sand. When it comes to dance and experiencing human connection, these labels don’t matter.
Dance Freedom has been doing this every single week for the past fifty-two years! That takes a serious amount of dedication and commitment. I can’t help but be impressed by that consistency.
Are dance and movement crucial for overall health and wellbeing? Do you often encounter individuals who don’t feel comfortable dancing in a public space? How can you help these people overcome this hesitation?
Churba: Every form of movement is valid, as long as you move. It’s pretty common for people to feel shy when they first come in, but then we laugh and within a few moments the music works its magic. Once they start tapping their feet,
How does Dance Freedom compare to other dance centers you’ve visited in the US?
Churba: The atmosphere is unique, the acoustics are very good, and the environment is ideal for barefoot dancing. Roberta Williams makes it all work, she has a team of people that take care of everyone and stay attentive to their needs.
What would you like to say to any readers who are thinking about exploring dance for the first time?
Churba: Take the plunge, don’t wait. It’s fun! When you open yourself to the joy of movement, you’ll start to enjoy your daily life so much more.