Soften Your Belly

I am in Ouray, CO., visiting an old friend, eating lunch after an exquisite hike. We are talking about soft bellies.

We are talking about how a soft belly gives you access to the juice - the life force - that drives creativity and imagination.

When I was in my prime as a ballet dancer

(which was never very prime)

and the ballet teacher walked around the room giving corrections, I would pull my belly way in toward my spine as she walked past me.

The minute her back was turned, I would let everything hang out again.

She would circle the room, come up behind me, tap my belly, and I would suck everything in.

When she walked away, I let everything go, and took as many breaths as I could before she circled around again.

Suck in.

Hang out.

Suck in.

Hang out.

That’s how it went for years.

And then this happened.

It doesn’t have to do with a soft belly.

It has to do with the soul.

I was at the barre, extending my left leg in a developé, and the teacher came up right next to me and said:

“Let me see your soul.”

I dug deep inside of myself to show her my soul.

She said:

“That isn’t your soul. Show me your soul.”

I reached as far down as I could, and wrenched my soul up from the depths of the marly floor beneath my right foot.

She said:

“That’s not your soul either. Stop messing around and wasting my time. Just show me your soul.”

I extended my left leg as high and as far as I could, summoning my soul to make an appearance from the deepest part of my leotarded body.

She grabbed my foot and said “I want to see your sole, is that so difficult to understand?”

Then turned my left foot out so that she could see the bottom of it.


My belly button was sucked in so tight throughout this faulty encounter, it just about poked its way out the back of my spine.

Your dance mission for the week is to notice when you are pulling your navel toward your spine, and notice when you are letting your belly be soft.

Let’s try it right now:

Sitting here reading this blog, is your belly soft or are you pulling your navel in toward your spine?

Just notice.

If you are pulling your navel in right now, try to let it soften and release.

How does that feel?


With Warmth and Jivey Vibes, Joanna of Joanna and The Agitators sweetly agitating/persistently upending

BIG PS TODAY: Do you wanna come dance with me this fall? If so, register here. And do it soon. Classes start on Tuesday, Sept 1st and I am almost all filled up.

If you have any questions or concerns about class, feel free to email me.

xo jo