I’m 6 weeks into a new adventure.
A thought from ballet class:
Once something is required it feels different.
I get to take dance class everyday! This is awesome. Ah. But now I have to.
Why does its being required squeeze something out of enjoyment? Like that book you would have loved had you found it on your own but your teacher made you read it. . . (Or rather I tried to share with students… and they were very unenthused…)
Everyone’s uptight. We’re being evaluated. There’s no dog sitting next to Janet Panetta. I feel like I can’t be free to just “take class” like I would. I feel the urge to perform a knowledge of ballet. To perform that I belong here. To demonstrate that yes I did my time in technique classes and did Ms. Beth’s Vaganova “and-1s” developpe exercises in a past life and did bad Nutcrackers and wore leotards . . . I’m a professional dammit.
I feel unsatisfied, wobbly. I push everything. I push myself to jump on a day when my knee isn’t feeling up to it. I pay for it with swelling, pain, and the ensuing frenzy of am I getting too old, did I not do enough, have I missed a magical moment that was never there to begin with? blahblahblah.
And then I chat with the Amazing Karen Eliot, ( there’s something about the name Karen and amazing ballet teachers – but that’s another post ) and answer my own problem with a run-on sentence. “This mal-alignment issue has been going on for a long time, sometimes it’s painful but I can force my body to just do the thing- when there’s a gig you just have to do it – but here I don’t. . .”
“You don’t have that pressure.”
“No, I don’t. ”
This particular graduate experience at this particular personal professional juncture- even and especially in the simplest of moments – the mundane practice of how to take technique class- (let alone literature, theory, new media, meeting new people in new contexts etc.) facilitates space & time to reflect broadly on my practices as an artist, as a woman, as a person. Habits. Shoulds. Wants. Needs. Desires.
I’m shocked and so appreciative at the amount of time available for diving deeply into a project or reading, for a personal workout at the pilates studio or the pool, for taking a walk and seeing what I see. For thinking about how I think about things. For noticing the sunset.
It’s like I haven’t breathed in seven years. I’m almost afraid I’ll use up all the oxygen.