When I moved to Washington, DC the first time around, I reconnected with my dancing and found a company I just HAD to be a part of. I became a regular in company classes, took every other class I could get my hands on, and soaked up all I could about this new experience. I just knew, deep down, this company had to be a part of my life. I auditioned first chance I got… and didn’t make it. While I was of course devastated on some level, more than anything, I just remember trying to figure out what I needed to do to get there. I had a conversation with the director afterwards, asking why, what I needed to work on? She was encouraging and thoughtful. It was my ability to speak through my movement, communicate, show dimensionality, character, personality. Become larger than myself on stage. I could do that – I knew I could. I just didn’t know how.
I came from the world of precision and uniformity that is ballet. A corps of dancers is nothing if not perfectly in sync. I knew how to move my body so that it became part of the landscape of beauty that made up the entire picture. I didn’t know how to be free, expressive, how to be THE image or picture.
I was so cerebral about the whole thing. I remember trying so hard to figure out just how to make these transformations, without giving my body permission to discover them organically. My head knew what the final outcome should look like – my heart and soul did not know how to get there.
It’s an unsettling feeling for someone who is so in tune with their body to not know how to move it.
Flash forward almost a decade, after letting go enough to make it into the company, dancing with several others, moving out of the dance world and into other career paths:
It’s amazing to find myself back in this same place. Returning to DC, to dancing, to evolving.
My struggles this time are about evolving on my own, for my very survival. As a dancer, an artist with a point of view, a human with a need to connect in this world on a deeper level.
The piece I’m developing has until this point, felt small. Both in my connection to it, as well as in the movement itself. I’ve been struggling with it, on my own, each week, and not getting anywhere. Except also getting exactly where I needed to be to have a breakthrough.
My guiding light, no matter where in the world we may physically be at the time – my best friend and fellow creative spirit – surprised me with a visit during my rehearsal. I was reluctant to show her what I had, because I feel so the opposite of confident about it. Thank goodness she is as persuasive as she is.
After watching, and offering some helpful, if polite, feedback on the movement itself, we got to talking about the essence of the piece. What am I trying to say? How do I communicate that through movement? The three words that have emerged about this piece for me are: truth, love, always. That’s what I want to say. End of story. So why is it so difficult for me?
The question of how I show love came up, and I struggled to find an answer. Finally, “I am giving of my time and energy, am compassionate, caring, empathetic, a good listener,” emerged. But more importantly, the realization that I have forgotten how I show love. True, unconditional – a pure emotion that has no expectations, boundaries, ulterior motives. I have forgotten because my past, same as many, is filled with examples of how this pure form gets clouded with other emotions – jealousy, anger, frustration, hurt, sorrow.
All of this work I am doing – my move, my business, my blog, my dancing – is about reconnecting with my heart. Life meets dance meets evolution. It’s all I could ask for, even in the difficult moments. Because those moments of struggle are how I know something beautiful is taking hold.
I have this image of my heart as it has been in recent months – still intact in shape and size, but with a hardness around it. A protective cover that has been allowing it to heal the cracks. Today I feel this shell breaking, I no longer need to protect myself from the world. I am ready to let my heART spill forth.
Here’s to another day of creativity…