We all know that today is a day of reflection for many people, myself included. There’s every reason to be sad about what today commemorates. There’s no denying that there’s been a huge shift, and the world that we currently live in is not and has not been the world of thirteen years ago. If we dwell on this too much, it can be horribly upsetting, but then again, the only guaranteed thing in life is change. What I like to think about is the fact that this week marks another time that’s been significant in my life.
This photo was taken six years ago- almost to the day.
It’s a photo of the very first dance class that I taught. I still have the same leotard (I wore it today, in fact!), and I still roll one pant leg up in that silly dancer style. Like the very first dance class I ever took, this day stands out in my memory. I’ll also never forget being accepted into the BFA program in college, as our ballet teacher told us that we could call ourselves dancers now. While I vividly remember every production that I’ve ever done, these moments in my life stand out to me completely. I remember being cast in my favorite rolls, the many hours spent backstage, and the stab of relief mingled with melancholy as a show run draws to a close. When people ask me what I do, I feel the need to explain things away. I feel odd saying: “I’m a dancer.” But, it’s the truth. I’m not a teacher, turned dance-enthusiast. I was a dancer before everything else.
I’ve found joy, and a solidarity in teaching. I didn’t decide to teach right off the bat, to be quite honest. I did the audition circuit, I took classes, and I ran around because I didn’t entirely know what to do. Sometimes I feel as if I get as much from my students as I’m giving them. The lack of judgement and the kindness they show me sometimes makes me wonder why the rest of life can’t be like it is in the studio. Growing up, you generally tend to cultivate a talent and passion for something. What they don’t teach you is that you can, logistically, make your passion your life, your way of making a living. It may not always come in the way you thought it would, but it’s possible.
There will come a day where I’ll be unable to dance like I do now. And probably a day where I feel cumbersome in a leotard and tights. But, that will never make me less of a dancer. As Martha Graham said, “”I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.”
This has been dubbed the “most graceful selfie” ever. Playing dress up. In this way, I hope I’ll never grow up.
In a tutu. Because I can.