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A friend recently sent me a link to this fabulous video on facebook. Apparently some dancers were looking for some inspiration for their new dance piece. And as they were dancing, 14-month old Ivo wandered in and started doing his thing. The dancers decided to let him lead and the result is the above linked facebook video which is rapidly going viral.
And why is that? He’s not a world celebrated choreographer. He never danced at the Bolshoi or studied with Fosse or Graham. So what is it about this little guy that has made him a facebook phenom at such a tender age?
I admit that I smiled and even giggled a little as I watched this video. Ivo is terribly cute! But I think what attracted me most is the idea that Ivo’s performance perfectly embodies joyful movement. Ivo is not calculating how many fat grams he’s burning or working on his “core”. Ivo is not wondering about calories or carb loading or fast twitch muscle fibers. Nope. Ivo is just dancing because he hears some music and because it feels good and because it’s fun. The fact that all the bigger people joined in is just an extra bonus feature as far as Ivo is concerned. Ivo is dancing because Ivo wants to dance.
I think children have so much to teach us about what joyful movement is and what if feels like. I was inspired by a talk given by the ever-fabulous Deb Burgard at last Saturday’s A Fatty Affair in San Jose (which totally rocked by the way). In her talk, Deb talked about how as an adult, she wants to bring recess back. She asks us to remember how great it felt to hear the bell ring and run outside and jump on the swings or the merry-go-round or teeter-totter. She reminds us of the release that came from just moving our bodies because it felt good, because it was a reprieve from studies and books and because it was fun!
Outside of borrowing a 14-month old kid to teach our fitness classes, I wonder how we can find our way back to this feeling again. Can we just hop on a swing and pump our legs as we taste the sky? Can we feel the whoosh of air going by as we spin on the merry-go-round? Can we respond to an elegant Cello solo by flopping on the floor and kicking our legs in the air?
Look, I’m a fitness professional. Obviously I believe there is a time and a place for integrating exercise science into our workouts. Science can help lead us to exercise and help shape our exercise plans so we can exercise safely and effectively. But I don’t think it’s the science that keeps us exercising. I think it’s the sky tasting, whoop and swoop and kicking that does it. So that’s the challenge I’d like to offer you right now. I’d like to invite you to let Ivo, and your old playground self to inform your next workout. Then, if you like, you could drop me an email or post in the comments to let us know how it went.
The Fat Chick