Perhaps it’s the the beginning improvisation and creative journaling class I took yesterday, by accident, or perhaps it’s that in the past week I’ve taken more artistically and physically fulfilling dance classes than I have in the last ten years of my career, that has incited things to say. About art. And stuff. Perhaps excercises that seem silly really do get your brain juices flowing.
So, I’ve been courting a local dance company for the past week hardcore. After my first day of classes I decided I would, someday in the near future, be one of their company dancers. With this in mind I’ve taken a train an hour into the city and followed by thirty minutes on foot most days of the week to be in class and in their line of sight. It has become my full time, unpaid job…so, internship if you will. There was no question in my mind that my body and efforts just flowed in this space, around these people so I didn’t think much. I took some old advice from a friend “don’t think, just do”. And I flowed. That’s not to say I’m not working, I’m working hard. My body is soaking up two dance classes a day at least plus half marathon training and I’ve sprinkled in some 16 minute abs and a bikram class. So yeah, I’m sore, I’m doing dance styles I haven’t trained to do before, I’m activating muscles unused for a while. But in my thirties it seems the biggest lesson Im learning is that there is a difference between hard work and working hard. I’ve also believed that hard work is what you did to get anything you wanted. Blood sweat and tears and blunt force trauma is how I lived most of my life. And I did achieve but the costs were high and the output was not as high as I’d hoped. But right now I am testing out living by the mantra I learned from Tara Stiles yoga downloads and her book “I do hard things easily”. Her philosophy goes right against the grain of my entire life’s work up until now. But she has reminded “me” through her pose sequences that it’s a choice- I can struggle hard to get and hold a pose or I can chose to breathe and do hard things easily, backing off when I need to but still getting the outcome I desire. No force. My mind has been blown because it is working for me, holy hell, is it working. And my life is opening up, unfurling before my eyes, no force necessary. I just need to keep in mind my intention and then I move. After I make the first step the second step appears in front of me, when I question how I’m going to find the third step everything gets gray and smoggy. So I back off and stand on the second step and look around at what it involves, and I ruminate on my intention. Whoa, there’s the third step, right there winking at me. It’s weird and it sounds like some new age-y, voo-doo, hippie magic bullshit. I know, it sounds like that to me. It’s like that old adage about finding your partner, you know they’re the right one because you “just know”. Ick. But yeah, that’s true too, at least in my recent experience. I can’t distill down my reasons why Dan is the partner for me into a logical checklist. But it still remains that when the time came to make decisions, it didn’t seem like there was a decision to make, it seemed like a foregone conclusion. And I’m thankful for that, oh so thankful. At the end of the day, I dated mostly good people, viable options for partners and yet it was so much work, so very much hard work and breaking up was so awful but only a bit less awful then staying together. With Dan, it’s not like it’s not work-ish, and it’s not like we don’t fight, we do, or never disagree…believe me, I am one headstrong son of a bitch. But it’s not “work” per se, it feels like life. The laundry inevitably needs to get done but that’s different from sewing yourself new clothes everyday. Hmmm, my analogies may be breaking down at this point. But the flow is different from forcing a path. I’m working hard right now, but I’m not doing hard work to forge something. I trust there’s something there that resonates with the life I want and so I am applying myself and then diving happily through the doors that open for me. And they are.
So all that to get to a different point. I was thinking about what I would say if an audition panel asked me why I had shown up and just decided to peruse this one company. I mean, I’ve never even seen their repertoire. And the classes they teach all seem to have a very modern contemporary bent, which is unfamiliar to me. My body is doing its best to soak up this somewhat new way of moving and aligning my spine. But when I don’t think too hard, here is the truth that comes out of. Art and dance and performance that is fulfilling to me, has so much to do with environment and the intention it was created in and so much less to do with what the finished product of that looks like. Which, on one hand feels like a confession to me, and on the other hand it’s a self revelation that now explains a lot about me…to me. It’s funny how little I seem to know about myself sometimes. It’s always seemed odd to me that I never made going to performances very important. For someone in my career it’s shocking to me that I’ve gone to the ballet twice and it was in my thirties, I’ve seen zero shows on Broadway, I’ve seen two Broadway shows that where on tour (Contact in LA and Chicago in Singapore). I only just saw Le Mis in Australia last year. You get the idea. I don’t really go to shows. I LOVE performing, I love art, but I’ve never understood why I don’t love going to shows. I’ve always thought it had to do with equal measures of jealousy over seeing others do what I want to be doing and impatience….I’ve got a touch of the ADHD. And I’m not saying those aren’t factors. But I think the overarching factor is that what I live for is the motivation and intention I which art is made and only rarely do I experience that from watching the performance. I did when watching the ballet company Bangara. Check it out, their message, athleticism and direction just speaks through their shows.
To tie this all up into the reason for this epic post, the reason I’m wooing this one company is that when I am in their classes, talking to their directors, choreographers and teachers, the environment and motivation in which their performances are created resonate and speak to me. My body reacts and moves and molds itself well when given intention that it understands, that I understand. I dance from my mind and heart first. And my body, my beautify, resilient, sensitive body, always does the work to project what is inside. And that is what art means to me personally. And I didn’t figure that out until this morning. I’m 33 years old and I’ve been dancing for 30 years. You really can learn something new everyday.
I have things to say…