Rockin' Out with Girls Rock Roanoke
Rockin’ Out with Girls Rock Roanoke
Who rocks? Girls Rock Roanoke does!
I love to hear what various organizations in my hometown are doing to make a difference in the world on a larger scale. Girls Rock Roanoke is one of those organizations.
Girls Rock Roanoke is an “all-volunteer, community-based organization in the Roanoke Valley whose primary focus is to empower girls and women through music, creative expression and collaboration while supporting positive change in their own lives and communities.” The camp, which serves 8-16 year olds, provides girls and gender non-binary youth with opportunities to explore their musical creativity in the context of forming friendships in an empowering, women-supported environment. During the week, campers form bands, learn to play a musical instrument of choice, and write an original song together with their bandmates. The capstone experience is a live music showcase where the bands perform their original songs.
And that’s not all…campers also learn empowering life skills such as communicating through conflict, understanding consent through the metaphor of Latin dance (check out Malinda Britt’s work), self-defense techniques, songwriting, stage performance, body confidence, yoga and breathing, respectful dialogue, and collaboration on a team. A catchy slogan of Girls Rock Roanoke is “amplify your voice” – helping young girls to value what they have to say and be courageous in sharing it. Plus, in 2019, Girls Rock Roanoke is partnering with Roanoke City Schools to provide after-school programming focused on similar themes and life skills.
I spent Friday morning teaching Qoya with Girls Rock Roanoke campers on the day of their big showcase. Through Qoya-based movement, we explored the theme “Choose to be seen.” We talked about how choosing to be seen is something they will courageously do in their showcase later that evening; however, we also choose to be seen any time we decide to share ourselves authentically with someone else. We are choosing to be seen when we take a risk and speak up about something we care about, especially when others may have a different view. Through our movement, we explored our relationship to the experience of choosing to be seen. We circled, opened our hearts, and felt the strength of our hips using the class theme as a guiding metaphor for our movement. We explored the shadow experience of what it’s like when we don’t want to be seen – perhaps in those times when we hide our authenticity or feel timid or shy. Then we shook to release those feelings so they would not be able to take hold or stagnate in our bodies.
I am always blown away by the shift of energy in the room following shaking. In this group of brave girls and non-binary youth, the release of tension and anxious energy was palpable. Smiles spread across faces and connections bubbled up between and among them, drawing them closer together.
When you’re among a group of people that support you for who you are and what you have to offer - it feels good to be seen, doesn’t it?
If you are interested in exploring your own movement as metaphor in your life, come check out the next Qoya class series I’m offering in August 2019.