Alex Gonzaga is a professional dancer with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre and also a personal trainer to dancers and athletes with Proteus Fitness. “I still remember years ago when I took the Atlanta Ballet summer program,” he shares. “I was 18 years old and straight out of high school. The workload during that summer was a lot more intense than I had ever experienced. With my limited knowledge at the time, I did not think hydration would be a problem, but it was. Right around the second week of the program, I had an unusually hard day, and down I went. Due to dehydration, my body just completely shut down. I didn’t pass out, but I got extremely lightheaded and had to stop dancing for the day. An older company dancer at that time introduced me to this simple hydration drink where you mix sugar, salt and water together. That was my first experience with dehydration.”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Traditionally, resources focus on hotlines and 800 numbers that people can call if/when they feel like they have nowhere to turn for support. What about support for people who cannot speak? Do their mental health needs not matter? While not everyone can speak, everyone can move in some way, shape or form.
Whether it is through eye movements, breathing or our heartbeat, the potential for movement as a form of expression is possible for everyone. Dance and movement is a form of communication, and for those whose language skills are compromised, not yet developed or inaccessible, that form of communication can make all the difference between having hope and feeling hopeless.