Dance has been my life. I have literally spent over half of my short time on this earth studying and perfecting a relentless art form. My friends and family became those that I danced with. Dance became my way of coping and making sense of this world. Movement was therapy and expression. Moving was my language. I spent 4 years in college dancing for hours a day and thinking about little else.
I don’t know if it was all of the life changes that came at once(a marriage, graduation and a cross-country move) or if it was the constant pressure of dancing while making all of these huge life decisions. I got burnt out. BAD. Shame, anger, and frustration followed.
Post graduation was what I spent all of my time for the last 15 years working towards. GOING PRO!!! All of a sudden, I didn’t care. I lost my way and in a sense, I lost my identity. I got sick of explaining what my plans were and what I had lined up. I needed rest. Then I felt guilty like I couldn’t handle it or work hard enough. I felt guilty that my love for dance couldn’t live up to everyone else’s love for dance.
My passion waned and I was angry. Maybe I didn’t want my life to revolve around dance. Maybe I wanted to be defined by a different set of skills. Maybe I was meant to do something else with my life.
Then comes the depression part. Add to that stress and about 20 pounds. Who am I? What do I want? What happened to the driven, motivated girl who was ready to audition and dance? She got lost and discouraged. What made it all worse was the feeling that I somehow no longer had the right to call myself a dancer. Like it was somehow totally in the past and I would never again rise up to meet the level that I once was at.
I am not sure when it all clicked together. Maybe it was when I was taking the 20th career aptitude test or when I imagined yet another path I could go down. I got my degree in dance for a reason. I knew when I was thirteen what would make me happier than anything else in the world. Dancing. I have ignored it for too long.
I agreed to a project and went to a rehearsal for the first time since the New Year. It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last dance class. I gave the rehearsal my all and I was feeling the pain of slacking for so long. BUT, I was feeding a part of my soul that I had forced down so far. For months I have ignored all things dance because I couldn’t cope with my feelings.
Maybe I needed to break up with my biggest passion so that I could come back to it with a renewed sense of love and purpose. I realized at this first rehearsal in forever that dance makes my world make sense. It will always be my first language and my greatest love affair. Without dance, the world is just too big and vicious to deal with.
I have hardly come across a dancer who didn’t express their undying love for dance. They all just LIVE to dance. I made the mistake of letting them make me feel inferior for questioning my relationship with the art. “If I were truly passionate about this art form, I wouldn’t be feeling this much anger and anxiety about it”, and, “I must not love dancing as much as others”.
Well, I woke up and realized that my relationship with dance is a personal thing. I needed a “trial separation” from what was dominating my life and I took it and the consequences that it came with.
As I write this, I feel an overwhelming sense of hope and emotion. Maybe I have found it again. I am still a dancer and 6 months off hasn’t changed that. I have hard work ahead to get back to where I need to be, but dancing has always been and will always be the hardest work with or without time off. Passions and love affairs will always wax and wane. It is a part of life and we are all here just trying to figure shit out.
I have found my music again and I have found my voice and in this moment, all I want to do is dance and move. That is a sign that my own personal cosmos is aligning once again and it feels so good I can hardly stand it.
When it all makes sense. When everything aligns. When a song brings tears to my eyes and I feel an overwhelming urge to MOVE and dance. When I read the most beautiful love story. When I see a movie that makes me laugh. When I hear a speech that changes the world. When I feel so much passion and love that it gets caught in my throat and throbs in my chest. When I feel inspiration that takes all words away. When I see genius in all of its many shapes and forms…. somehow waking up tomorrow seems brighter and even if it is only for a moment, I have a renewed hope in people and life. Who knows why we are here…. and who cares at the end of it all when life is filled with so much wonder and amazement. These moments are enough to make it all worthwhile.