So, it’s been a while! Nearly an entire semester of adventures to relay – trials and triumphs! Being a part of the most glorious production I have ever had the honor to be a part of: Epic. — And finding some pretty incredible people. It isn’t ballet, and it isn’t a studio – We are brothers and sisters and a family.
Each class is a struggle. I have to rush from the office to dawn tight, stretchy clothing (not to mention attempt to put my rather short hair up in some sort of cute but functional up-do) while leaving appropriate time to warm up and get all of the extra creaking and popping out of my joints. During which, I reorient my brain to go from the stresses of the day to focus on what is to come. Meanwhile, my fellow classmates are talking about their algebra test and how they had to wake up at 8:30 in the morning – all as they effortlessly pull their foot up over their head. There are so many chances for the enemy to put those pins in your gut that could cripple you. And class hasn’t even started!
But there are smiling faces with honest care about how your day is going. There are scriptures written on the mirrors which serve as a literal and metaphorical focal point for which you can spot. Prayer is said for any physical or emotional pain you may be going through. And tears are understood as a process by which we all can heal and grow.
My dancing, my mind and my spirituality has grown in being a part of this family. As I work through this summer and spend precious moments with those who are also involved in the studio, my life has grown richer than I could have ever imagined. Dance has become my ministry through which I can share the beauty and love of God and celebrate Him. It serves as proof in my own heart that we can come to know Him intimately through our relationships and time here and now on Earth.
In our Winter Performance, one of our leads (who is also a teacher) had to perform part of her dance as though she were blind. This meant she had to keep her eyes closed. Wait for it… Let it sink it… Yup, there you go. This also meant no spotting. Whoa! However, she also says that it helped her learn more about the placement and technique of her body by being completely engulfed by it. That’s an interesting thought.
She said that she learned so much about herself as a dancer that she decided to have us give it a go at barre and do a couple of routines with our eyes closed. Nothing outlandish. Just some of your standard warm ups. Plies to fondues, etc. I don’t need to explain to you that it was difficult. Your center gets thrown off, and you have to set your mind deep inside yourself to pull any sort of function out. Still, you are much more aware of turnout, placement and the likes.
Now, for various reasons, I have been struggling in center. Turns have been a nightmare. Turning in and hopping, just messy. After doing some blind barre work, my turns were smoother. I glided instead of hopped. It was fantastic! My center of gravity was much more on que that it had ever been before. Of course, that peaked the confidence, and things steamrolled from there. Since we are a faith based studio, it was shared that doing a blind barre was much like our faith in Christ. The barre is there. We feel it. We depend on it. It is the foundation of building strength to do center work. When we close our eyes and cannot see the barre, things get thrown off so much. Yet, we have to trust it to do its part and be the guide, so we may gain strength in Him.
Things are finally starting to click. No, literally. That’s my hip you’re hearing! But figuratively as well… One class a week, my level dances with the company, and I have finally advanced enough where I can see individual movement and style between dancers – what makes one or another stronger in different areas. I count this as a blessing, because I can then begin to apply it to myself until I find my own unique style. It has also helped me in technique… or so I think, at least.
While I still am horribly poor at floor work and putting a string of French words into a fluid movement that might resemble a dance, I am beginning to feel the language of those movements back in my legs. It’s very exciting!
Over the last few months, the studio has been preparing for a performance called Metamorphosis. I like to describe it as being an expression of Christ’s gift of life flowing from one chapter of our lives to another with Him always by our side. It was given imagery in our dance (by our brilliant choreographers) as a caterpillar that has given in to the dark and unknowing cocoon so it can be broken down at a cellular level only to be made completely new as a beautiful butterfly with the gift of flight. Each dancer had this story in their heart, and each one was a little different. That is the beauty of the message, I feel.
For me, I had a chance to learn specific choreography and spend months working on every single movement. For a long while, no real change came from my practicing. It was really about memorizing! But over this last week and into the performance, something happened. Something clicked, and I felt like I could finally open my heart to the dance and express some of my personality. The dance became personal, and it was an expression of my many journeys and my particular journey with ballet. God gave me wings through this studio and those involved in it, and I had an opportunity to share it with the world. For that, I will forever be thankful.
The spring semester starts next week, and I am eager to jump back into it. No more back of the class. No more hesitation for questions. Time to spread those wings! Well… We’ll see how it goes. 😉
My studio recently announced the theme for our winter performance: Metamorphosis. Being a student of literature, my mind immediately went to cockroaches and utter depression, but the enthusiasm in the studio leaders’ faces brought me back to reality. What was meant was a metamorphosis of spirit. (So much better.)
Allow me to backtrack a little. I’ve already shared that my studio is faith based, but I haven’t shared the story of the continual thrust of my spirit towards taking up ballet classes again. There were many things that stirred in my heart, but when a wonderful family from my church invited me to see their studio’s spring performance, I knew it was another instance of calling. So, I went.
The performance brought me to tears. The story was beautiful. The dancing was incredible, and the passion was explosive. It was the final straw on the back of this camel. I know God knew the personal struggles going on in my life that made me sad. Everyone has them, right? But He knew dance, and even more, this studio would bring my heart back to life and inspire that same passion that makes this life beautiful.
So, again, Metamorphosis: An expression of that change one goes through when they come to let Christ into their hearts. A physical and spiritual change. A very literal change. The leaders had a great way of illustrating it. It is like a caterpillar in a chrysalis becoming a butterfly. Changing from a crawling creature that fed on leaves to one that flies and feeds on the sweet nectar of flowers. This is the same when we become a being of Adam to one with Christ. His heart becomes one with ours, and we begin to bare His fruit.
While I know this change occurred in me when I allowed Christ into my heart, I can see it continuing as He leads me through life as He led me to this studio. I have been given wings through Him, and He is teaching me how to fly. I cannot wait to share that journey with the world through our performance. And if you get a chance, I would love for you to be there!