Dances of liberation

Dancer: Therese

Dance Location: The Women's Centre, Halifax

This is a dance that... led to my freedom.

There was no hope, no chance you see,
For her to ever ever be free.
She tried so many times before.
But he always managed to lock the door.
Her hands were tied, can't you see.
Oh if only she could flee.
And then came that day, when she could see,
A glimmer of light where the key should be.
That's when she knew, this was her chance.
To step through the light, and be free.
The sun was bright and warmed her face,
As she stretched out her arms to feel it embrace.
No time to waste, she must run,
She must be.
No longer helpless but free.

In January 2017 I wrote this poem. This is me, trapped in a marriage, helpless. Not allowed to move, dress, laugh, think for myself. I left my husband at the age of 60, after 42 years married. Mum died and something about her death brought life to me. She was a strong person my mum and her death made me realise I had to get out.

I loved dancing but my husband only let me on the dance floor if I nagged him, and then he would tell me I was going too fast or too slow or not moving right, so in the end I just sat there. One time at a function I got up without asking and he grabbed me by the wrist and said 'you're not dancing'. After I left him, I remember the first time I danced without having to ask permission. It was liberating.

The dance that goes with this poem comes from a dream I kept having where I was moving with the words. Performing it is like a release, it's healing. It's different every time, I just do whatever I feel, see what the music does to my body. The first time I danced it was the first time I believed I was really free. I have gone forward ever since. Power to the woman.