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Collaborations that Matter: A Remarkable Path to Healing Victims of Sex-Trafficking

Posted on May 30 2017

We have been lucky, most of us.  As many trials as there are in our lives, we still live our lives as people free to do so.  To work, to play, to create.  And as artists, that may be the most important part.  To create.  Debbie has been lucky enough to be a rare artist who makes a living with her creations, her clothing line and costumes.  

But she doesn't want D.Webb Designs to just be a company that makes clothes to sell.  She wants to be a part of something bigger, for her creations to support something that makes the world a better place.  After all, an act of creation IS an act of giving to the world.  We should make that gift count.

And so, after meeting Daniel V and The Priceless Movement, she discovered something D.Webb could fully support.  Let me introduce you to DXDA/The Priceless Movement...

(Dance Empowerment, by The Priceless Movement, in D.Webb Designs. Dancer: Christina Teresa)

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"They who left you broken cannot free you from your abuse. Only you can do that." - DXDA / The Priceless Movement  

This philosophy is at the root of DXDA/The Priceless MVMT.  Daniel V, the movement's Chief Director, initially began Priceless as a media support and branding platform, partnering with several social advocacy groups.  But as the team grew, and it's drive intensified, it began to refine itself, finding its purpose in the recovery and healing of trauma largely due to human trafficking, helping the survivors to rediscover themselves, to rebuild their self-worth and empowerment. And they are doing that through dance.

"...DXDA exists to build media narratives and networks that effectively convey these themes to supporters, funders, partner organizations/entities, and non-profits, in the ultimate goal of building a fully developed Dance Empowerment/Healing Program to administer dance therapy and teach healing/connection workshops to various communities, including women and men who are survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking survivors. DXDA also seeks to place dance at the forefront of the social justice realm as an artistic and metaphorical advocacy voice for the voiceless, through direct empowerment narrative performance teams and various events/forums, to inspire true understanding in our culture of the nature of traumas, the vital embrace of challenges and fears that true healing requires, and tangible responses to some of the most challenging issues facing our world today, including sex-trafficking and social/spiritual division." - DXDA / The Priceless Movement  

Dance therapy is an up-and-coming therapeutic modality throughout the U.S., but reaching a successful blend of therapy and movement is never simple, and is made even more precarious with Priceless' choice of dance:  Brazilian Zouk.  

OK, I admit... initially, the idea of fusing together the intimate movements of Zouk with the delicate task of trauma recovery for survivors of sex-trafficking made me raise an eyebrow with an "ummmm...really??"  Anyone only vaguely familiar with Zouk may see it as a highly sensual, almost erotic dance between partners.  (Even as a Latin dancer myself, I was skeptical, many visions of "partner turned groper" in my memory.)  So, obviously, one of my first questions to Daniel was "Why Zouk?"

Daniel explained to me what Zouk is all about.  Sure, there have been people outside the community who have asked questions like, "Is it a turn on?", "Do you guys hook up when you walk off the dance floor?", and other such silly (and rude) things, but those within the Zouk circle know it as a community of strong friendships that support each other, with testimonials of an emotional, even spiritual, experience when in the embrace of a Zouk partner.  Not so much sensual as it is sensuous, in its purest definition... as so beautifully said in the video below... 

(Arthur Santos, with Layssa Liebscher, on the power of connection through Zouk.  By Priceless MVMT)

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In building their dance therapy program, Priceless stays grounded in some very clear truths.  

- Therapy hurts.

- It will trigger you.

- It will be difficult.

- And it is up to you.

"It is such a hard truth; and a harder truth to accept that, truly, only we can liberate ourselves; not our abusers; not our fathers; not our mothers; not our spouses or our lovers; only us.  It is a truth that holds us painfully accountable, but beautifully empowered to choose our destiny." - DXDA / The Priceless Movement  

Dance can be a way back to yourself.  Back to your body. To being fully present, suspended in time, or lost in the motion. To finding a silent connection through touch, a trust that is instinctive, intuitive, innate. To releasing the pent-up emotions embedded within your muscles and tendons. To learning the boundaries within yourself of both "Yes" and "No". Dance can be all this and more.

And in a place of safety and understanding, they can be invaluable tools for those who have suffered the trauma of Human Trafficking.  The team at Priceless Movement know how acutely challenging any healing process can be.  It may trigger a person, bringing unwanted memories to the surface.  It may cause emotional pain, and make one want to run away, to "just forget" about it.  But the team also believes that the best way past the pain is to drive through it, and they have seen what happens when a survivor chooses that path.

They learn to reject feelings of shame.  

They learn to trust, themself and their partner.

They learn to lose the fear of being touched, and of touching.

They learn to regain ownership of joy in their own body.

They RE-learn their own worth.

And so much more...

"Honesty. If you long to find liberation, you must first find yourself. It is not a journey outward; but inward. You do not escape; you redefine. You do not avoid; you embrace. To dance, to love, to believe, to live, you must fight. ... You must accept the fight before you, the breadth of all it requires, and the heart-wrenching truth, which demands of you both surrender and uprising." - DXDA / The Priceless Movement  

(Visual Film Short for Movement Liberationalist, Stacy Jewell Lewis by Priceless MVMT)

Priceless Movement knows that the path to healing is a multilayered, lifelong process, and they have made it their goal to provide these survivors with the tools and support they need on their journey...  

"We have been challenged: Does dance save lives? No. Not in and of itself; but dance opens a door to establish a healthy identity, to remember oneself for who we are; it grants permission to dream again of who we once longed to be and grants the grace of connection, the permission to slip and stumble, the beauty to love oneself, right where we are. And so we return the challenge: Do we believe those elements save lives? In utmost certainty, and our hope and prayer in the Priceless Movement, through DXDA, is that lives are saved because they took that first brave step onto the dance floor..." - DXDA / The Priceless Movement  

THIS is why Debbie and all of us at D.Webb Designs are honored to sponsor The Priceless Movement.  We believe in their purpose (and hope you do, too).  So, we'll leave you here, with the determination of their mission summed up in these final, beautiful words:

"... we will never stop fighting for you. 
So that you may know, you are
Beautiful. Worthy. Priceless."

 

Until next time, D.Webbers, keep fighting the good fight...

Shannon

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