Dancing With Grace

Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night by an overpowering desire to find a song that you danced to in class? The medley is stuck in your head and your heart, and you have to find it and add it to your playlist for the next day. Well, it happened to me at about 2 am this morning.

I was talking about it with my husband this morning (who was in turn woken up by the brilliant glare of the computer screen — poor guy), and he gave me a rather stunning insight that I knew but has never occurred to me. We dance to these songs. Our bodies time with the music in the most intimate ways, and we bring the song into our souls in the studio. Whether it’s ballet, jazz, modern, etc – a bond is formed between the sound of the instruments and the movements of our bodies. I think that is a glorious and beautiful thing and a testimony to the amazing and heartfelt desire of God in creating us.

My ballet studio is faith based. We pray for strength of body and heart before each class, and we honor Him in all we do. I have never felt so at home as I do in that studio.

Frustration is inevitable. Especially when I’m trying to find my legs again (or body – to be honest). But the understanding that God created us with astounding ways to grow, heal, overcome, mend, love, and move is utterly and completely humbling. The mastering of a single technicality takes patience, focus and grace with ourselves. Watching my fellow classmates strive and achieve has allowed me to witness such beautiful wonder, and I am eternally grateful for that.

After some meditation on this, God has inspired me with an understanding of another dimension of His grace. He is always with us and always in our hearts. He is patient and loving in the same way we must be with ourselves in every aspect of dance. I have struggled with this – struggled with making my body achieve what I want it to – and when I take a breath, refocus my body and refocus my mind on knowing He is there with me, the results may not be perfection, but I have a happier heart. And it makes it all worth while.

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Segue

My previous post was written in July when I went through a summer workshop as an introduction back into ballet. I must say, it was daunting. Not only is it not like riding a bike, muscles were awoken that I had long forgotten even existed. Flexibility was weak, plies feeble, arms were noodles in the wind. Forget battus, I could barely lift myself off the ground! But… it was an absolute blast. 🙂

It was such a blast that I signed up for a full fall schedule despite being the breadwinner in my family. Although I may only have a husband, dog and cat, time is limited. Still, if it wasn’t a challenge, where would the satisfaction of the push be? There is a sign that sits in the changing room in the studio that reads – “If ballet were easy, everyone would be doing it.” That about sums it up.

So, here we are a little over a month into the semester. I’m relearning the tricks! Coconut water after classes for rehydration. NaturalCalm for giving those sore muscles what they need to rejuvenate. Trigger point therapy. How to warm up and cool down properly. (All things I’ll be sharing about in the future!) Some of the most basic technique that equals the perfection each dancer strives for. Our bodies were created to be able to accomplish the tremendous feats dancers are given. We heal. We grow. We sustain. The beauty and passion that emanates in a performance comes from the heart, and that heart is grown in the community of a studio. In all ways, slowly but surely, I’m getting there. And it feels good.

Because of my age, my teachers placed me in the level below Company and Apprentices. (Just add to that pile of challenges, right?) Trust me, this was no compliment to my ability. Strictly age. With this comes what all ballerinas yearn for and dread — Pointe! Yay!

So, I was fitted for my first pointe shoes in over a decade. Granted, I was only en pointe for maybe two months previously. My feet have changed slightly since my last introduction, but those pearly pink beauties are ordered and on their way! I have never been so excited to murder my feet — and let you know all about it.

“I Dreamed A Dream”

Have you ever dreamed of something you had rather not admitted? As if acknowledging that it rested in your heart would cause instant failure, because there was no way you could ever accomplish such a feat?

I have. And it scares me to death. I am staring down the throat of the beast called Potential Failure, and still I find myself twirling gleefully upon its sharp right incisor. I do mean twirling in the literal sense, and there are little pink ballet slippers upon my feet. It is the art of dance I am after. Now, being a mostly grown woman of 24 years old who has not danced in nearly 8 years, it may look more like a strained flamingo in a strong wind, but that’s the deep, daunting blackness beneath me speaking.

Children are always signed up for various endeavors when in their parents care: soccer, riding lessons, t-ball, ballet. Parents hope and pray that these social activities instill some sort of character structure and strength with a bit of accountability in their childs’ lives. Ballet class was that for me. Not to mention, all of the other moms’ little girls were in the class, so there was a bit of social acceptance pressure on my mother as well. While I never hated dancing, it was the having to go to dance class that I found grueling and tiresome. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. Guess that was part of the accountability thing I had to learn. Still, I went. I learned as much as my stubborn self would allow, and I was always told that I had a gift for it. Everyone likes to hear that, right? Looking back, I wish I had seized that opportunity a little more and used those apparent talents to their most potential. Maybe I wouldn’t be in threat of making such a fool of myself now, and my desires would be a little less daunting.

Oops, there’s that pit I’m seeing again. I was petite once… and young and flexible. Well, I’m still petite, but I don’t have the figure of a 12 year old girl anymore. The flexibility has decreased in proportion to the love handle expansion. Yet, I find myself desiring to dance again and have signed up for classes. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me, my living room and a personal DVD that could give me insightful instruction without having to actually watch me, but an actual class? I’m seriously considering joining a class of younger, better instructed students to begin my dream of learning ballet once more? It seems as though I’m lifting into that pirouette before I spot.

But you know, I’ll never know until I try, and I can’t try without a risk of failure. I think I’ll be saving the Facebook announcement until I’ve successfully survived my first class. Who knows, maybe that monster’s throat will turn out to merely be an audience filled auditorium and the tooth my pedestal of a stage.