May 28, 2022 | Klea Hawkins
KUZYK Community Series x Sabina Lundgren
Dancer and Choreographer
Sabina Lundgren has been dancing since before she can remember. For Sabina, dance is deeply connected to spirituality and healing—it possesses a freeing quality that both liberates and reveals, allowing her to not only experience her body in new ways but also exist entirely in the moment. Sabina has collaborated with the likes of Beyonce and Lady Gaga. I sat down with Sabina to discuss everything from her daily somatic alchemy practice to the ways dance empowers her.
When did your relationship with dance first begin?
I’ve always been a dancer. When I was little my mom would cover the corners of tables because I was always moving about—she was nervous I’d bang my head. She enrolled me in ballet when I was three and it’s been a love affair ever since.
How would you best describe your dance practice—do any key words or associations come to mind?
Intuitive, spiritual, grounded.
Describe how you feel when moving in the Sabina Dress? Does your movement or energy change in any way when wearing it?
I feel so free in the Sabina dress! It truly feels like butter on the skin. I feel absolutely radiant and glowing. Anytime I wear the Sabina dress I feel like I’m gliding through the city in a blissful bouncy daze. Without fail, I always get complimented when I wear it. It truly feels like it channels my higher self.
When coming up with a new choreography, where do you look to for inspiration?
Music is always what inspires me when it comes to choreography. I will listen to a song over and over again until I feel like I’ve grasped all of its nuances or intricacies. Sometimes a repeating phrase will resonate with me and then I create from there. Being fully immersed in the world of the song inspires me because it makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself.
How has your understanding of dance evolved over the years?
When I was younger, I was very disciplined and worked really hard to understand all the complexities of the craft. I trained extensively and spent a lot of time developing my technique. Now that I’m older, my goals and intentions have changed. I’ve almost gone back to my childhood roots—dance has again become an expression of play for me. Today, my practice is much more intuitive, spiritual, and playful. I still have so much respect for the craft, so when I teach I like to combine the technical with the playful.
Has dance helped you relate to your body differently?
My relationship to dance has always been closely intertwined with my relationship to my body. As in any relationship, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Through it all I have gained a deeper understanding of the wisdom my body holds. It’s been a process in terms of learning how to listen to and tap into that wisdom and not override it with messages from my mind or the external world.
Can you talk about the relationship between healing and movement?
For me, healing and movement are sisters. They can really support each other when they take care of their intimate, symbiotic relationship. As Bessel van der Kolk explains in The Body Keeps The Score, trauma is stored in the body, the somatic world. Movement gives us access to that trauma and allows us to create new neural pathways in the brain to sustain growth, change, and healing. Movement becomes a way to empower individuals to take agency over their well being which I think is so exciting.
In what ways does the non-verbal, bodily language of dance help you deal with difficult feelings and emotions?
As mentioned earlier, trauma is stored in the body. Sometimes we don’t know how to articulate the trauma we’ve been through, but our bodies hold onto it and remember. For me, the bodily language of dance can be a more direct line to feelings I’m experiencing before I’m ready to admit to myself what those feelings actually are.
How has your degree in psychology shaped your understanding of dance?
My Masters in Psych Ed (shoutout to the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia) has really helped fill in the gaps intellectually for things I have experienced as a dancer and understood intuitively. It has really helped me bridge my experiences into larger discussions surrounding mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Looking back, what do you wish you would have known as a young dancer?
Be yourself. You are beautiful! It’s so hard when you are an impressionable young dancer with big dreams. It becomes really easy to people-please and lose sight of why you love what you do. I would also remind myself that perfection is a myth.