My Hips Don’t Lie: I Was Made to Dance

By Tanya

I was born to dance.  My mom can tell countless stories of me as a baby doing the “gooby down dance” (my mom's name for my baby bopping) to any music being played.  And of the million times I made her watch the dance performances I choreographed for myself and the neighborhood kids. Dancing has always been a way that I can express myself. When I dance every part of my being feels connected and alive. I feel fully free and fully me.
But somewhere around the 4th grade I started to gain weight and become self-conscious.  The once outgoing and fun loving girl I was became shy and introverted. I allowed my insecurities to steal my joy and silence my voice.  Afraid of what others would think, I stopped dancing. 

Of course without dance I continued to gain more weight and withdrew further into myself. I stayed in that dark place for three years until the 7th grade when I was given the choice to take traditional P.E. or Dance for my physical education credit. By that time I was pretty out of shape.  I knew I loved to dance and the thought of running the torturous mile in P.E. class made my decision pretty easy.  
What I didn’t realize was that the final for Dance class was to perform our dance pieces in a recital for our parents and friends.  When I became aware of this, images of an elephant in a tutu flashed in my mind but the more I continued to dance the more I came out of my shell. I may have been self-conscious when I put on my tight fitting dance costume, but the moment I stepped out on the stage and felt the music none of that mattered. 
High School Dance Team
I spent the next six years dancing an average of four hours a day. I would spend half of my school day dancing at a performing arts high school and the other half at a regular high school.  After school I would dance again with their dance team.  As you may remember from my history, after high school I once again stopped dancing. All my weight and insecurities came rushing back.  
Three years ago I started running because it fit into my schedule as a busy wife and mother of two. I found a love for running and used it as a tool to get back into shape.  For the first time in a long time, I felt comfortable in my skin again. The first two years were great but as I continued to run, my body began to protest.  For the past year I have been plagued with injuries and chronic pains.

During this time I have seen many different specialists and tried a plethora of  techniques to rid myself of constant pain in my hips and back.  Each specialist came to the same conclusion: I have a muscle imbalance causing an overcompensation in my quad muscles.  This leads to a very tight TFL and IT band.

As a dancer, I live my life with my hips turned out and my tail bone tucked under. This is a wonderful way to keep my body centered for dance, but apparently not the best position when my body is pounding the pavement a million times when running.
Each specialist reassured me that if I used his or her technique and was patient enough, I could stretch and retrain my body to be more conducive to running. No matter what I tried my pains continued, even when I stopped all physical activity for two months and just stretched! 

Convinced that something had to be wrong in my body I decided to go get X-rays done to see where my pain was coming from. The x-rays showed nothing abnormal. In fact the Doctor said that my bones look great and are perfectly designed to dance!  After the results I posted his diagnosis on Facebook.  My step-mom's response? - “Well than dance!” So that is exactly what I did. 

I took my painful body and I began to dance. Guess what happened? I started to feel better. Not only that, the more I dance the better I feel! My quads are still tight but as I continue to use the stretching techniques I have learned they are slowly becoming more loose and flexible. I have also begun to add back in some cross training. I have been swimming and have even added in bit of running. Overall, I am feeling pretty good.

I’ll be honest.  It was a tough year.  As always, the Lord has taught me so many things through it. I have been brought back time again to Proverbs 16:9, In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (NIV)  Since I have started dancing again new opportunities to dance just keep presenting themselves. I guess my steps are meant to be leaps.

Of this I’m certain: when I dance, I feel free, balanced, and connected to my Creator.  It's how I was made to be. I was made to dance!
"I praise you God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:14


  1. Oh, Tanya! Praising the Lord with you, My Friend! God is so good! He truly has designed these "blessings" innately within each of us! Embracing it is the key - and one we often times don't even realize we're missing. So often, the lies of the enemy (the fears, insecurities, nagging doubts), they cloud our perspective and create a barrier in an attempt to keep us from living freely & fully as we were meant to be! But Praise the Lord that He is the giver of good gifts and continues His work in us until it's carried to completion! So, my dear, I say to you (as one who has known you for a few years! ;) Dance! Dance in freedom! Dance for His glory! "Awake, awake, clothe yourself with strength!" (Isaiah 52) "You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you . . !" (Isaiah 55:12)

    1. Beautifully said my dear friend and sister in Christ. Blessings to you and may you also find freedom in His presence. Love you my long distance Sole Sister.