The Semester’s Lesson

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.

PS – I finally landed a double. 😉

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Frustration and Reward

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. 😉

Studio News

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!

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.