Dreaming of Dancing

I loved dancing.  I still do.  Dance got me out of my head.  Learning choreography was all encompassing and the “normal” noise in my head was, finally, quiet.  Being at the barre at the beginning of class brought a comfort.  I got to escape in the movement.  Each dance I choreographed was auto-biographical.  A page ripped from my journal and brought to life.  But no one knew it.  I’ve never had any problems dancing a solo, but my palms start to sweat and my heart beat races at the mere thought of having to do an oral presentation.  Dancing was my passion.

Injuries and the eating disorder have taken dance away from me.  I get to a class maybe once a year.  Maybe.  And it hurts.  There are some dance programs, both live and on TV, that I can’t bring myself to watch.  It just reminds me of what could have been.  And that hurts.

I had the best dream the other night, but it turned into a nightmare once I woke up.  I had just been accepted into the main company where I had been part of the second company years ago.  I remember feeling so happy in the dream.  I was trying to figure out how I could manage work, school, and rehearsals.  The warm-ups cleared my mind of the time management issue and I could feel the stresses of the day just melt away.  Everything felt to good.  But then I woke up.  I was reminded that I was NOT part of the main company and that my involvement in the second company was but a glimmer in the fog of long ago.

I hate not dancing.  And I want it back

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Just Dance

I don’t watch many dance shows, but I fully admit that I watch So You Think You Can Dance.  I find it to be an interesting concept, but I’m really intrigued by it.  Part of me things it’s a good learning experience for the contestants, but I also think it pushes them in a bad way too.  I am glad to see that they have chosen not to air some of not as good dancers.  Making fun of someone because they’re not what you’d consider “good,” isn’t proper.

I haven’t watched every season.  I think I’ve probably seen less than half.  But of what I have seen, I’m glad the direction in which is evolving.  I vaguely remember the first couple of seasons and see the emphasis be on jazz or lyrical.  But I think now they’re more into “contemporary.”  I use that term loosely though.  When I went to college, we were taught modern.  (Yes, there are different styles of modern dance, but that’s for another time.)  And ballet.  It’s my theory that those who went to get their dance degrees, or at least took college dance classes, are now the ones teaching these very contestants.  We have the foundation that’s heavily based in modern and ballet, and that’s what’s coming out.  And I love it.

This was my choreographic style some 10-12 years ago.  This was how I preferred to express myself.  Actually, this is just how it came out.  There’s freedom and beauty in the movement and technique behind it.

I will admit that it’s sometimes really hard to watch any dance shows.  I love to see people who are passionate about what they do, but it just hurts.  It hurts because that was once my life.  But it can’t be because of injuries.  I can look at these youngsters and see what could have been.  That could have been my life if I had worked harder.  I had a great career.  I just wish it still were my career.  I only have myself to blame for the injuries.  I only have myself to blame for not pursuing dance even further.  I’m still passionate about dance, but I can’t seem to take a class.

Dance With Me

I love dancing! I really do. It’s the one thing in this world that can make me forget about everything and just live in the moment.

My dad took me to my first ballet class when I was 4. I loved it. It was fun for me. Even when I was learning new steps, it was never “work” for me. I enjoyed every minute of every class. I had fun performing, too, but there was a difference. In class, there was always forgiveness for not knowing a step or not being on time with the music. On stage, there was no room for that. There could only be perfection. And since the rest of my childhood was structured the same way, I loved the freedom that going to ballet class gave me.

I really don’t think I came into my own as a dancer until college. I learned about and fell in love with modern dance (what is now being touted as “contemporary”). Modern still needed the discipline of ballet, but there was more forgiveness in the performance structure. And that’s where I found my niche. I loved everything about it! I got to jump and travel and roll around, but also be soft and quiet. It’s almost as if there are no rules. It all had the potential to be beautiful.

I threw myself wholeheartedly into all classes and pieces I was in. I had no fear. I trusted the choreographers and teachers to guide me through. And they did. Even to this day, some *cough*15*cough* years later, I can still remember their words and smile. It meant a lot to me that one of the professors who was choreographing thought I was good enough to be in the front and to learn a phrase from a video in 5 minutes. A grad student saying the other grad students were negotiating to have me in their pieces. And most importantly, a different grad student teaching me how to accept a compliment. (I still may not believe it, but I can at least say, “Thank you.”)

I slowly made the transition from dancer to choreographer. One of my mentors took a chance on my dance for a concert. And that unleashed a beast.

I love creating work to share with others. I love having a picture in my head of how the movement should look and the deeper meaning behind the piece. I love how the combination of the lights, costume, movement, and music can come together to create an experience that can never be recreated. I also love how I can really put myself out there and be vulnerable, but the audience doesn’t know that and can take what they want from it.

Dance is my passion. Whether it be taking a class or choreographing a piece (performing is a nice bonus), that’s where I feel most comfortable in my own skin.

I need to go back to it.