Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall. Every Single Wall.

To dance is to abandon self-consciousness completely and let go.

There isn't anything better than that.

But, in every dance studio there are walls of mirrors. "You" are everywhere. No escape. To dance is to spend most of your life in front of a mirror, judging yourself and comparing everything. Judgement is not conducive to abandonment. Yet, without the mirrors - how do you know if you're good enough?

A quandary. How to let go while making sure your ribs are down, your feet are pointed, your knees are pulled up,  shoulders are down, pants aren't up your..., you aren't pulling your pants out of your..,your face is relaxed, you are skinnier than the blonde next to you. And sucking your cheeks in so you look emaciated only works until you are about 18. After that you are forced to confront the truth. You have full cheeks, yet you still want to dance.

Here's how I've worked this out: 

Listen to the music. It is actually the most important thing.

Force yourself, with every ounce of control, to look only at yourself in the mirror to correct your own personal lines. "Dance in the body you have." (Agnes DeMille)

Remind yourself daily that - with this dogged determination - you can have the chance to live for a moment and dance in complete abandonment. 

"Good enough" is relative, unfortunately, usually relative to the blonde next to you. But, sometimes, she doesn't show up.

Reason #2 to Dance: Socially acceptable abandonment. And it's more than wonderful.

Now, aging in front of a mirror, while still dancing - there's a fun and delightful exercise - but not recommended without adult supervision. I wish I knew an adult. 

Anyway...Anyone else with another reason to dance?

Reason # 3 arriving soon - ish.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The First Reason

You are 2 years old and you hear music. You must dance or at least bounce repeatedly.

You must stand in your combo "ballet/tap/gymnastics" class every Saturday morning with 10 other little girls in black patent leather tap shoes and smack your toes as hard as possible on the floor - repeatedly.

You must spin in circles until the teacher picks you up and sets you dizzily on your feet - repeatedly. Hopefully before you spew pancakes on your classmates.

And you must dance for anyone who will sit still and watch you, even if only for a second.

Most of this is still true for me and I've been dancing for almost 50 years.

I don't know how to stop dancing. I don't want to. I love feeling surrounded by the music and knowing how to move with it (sometimes this still involves bouncing).

I feel beautiful, usually, when I'm dancing. And that is a rare, magnificent thing.

I actually can still pull out a triple pirouette on most days and can kick past my head. Although this is nothing compared to "before."

"Before" I held my own with some of the best dancers in the world. I miss that, although I'm stunned I ever got to dance at all.

A person who has never danced, has never lived. This is absolutely true.

I have truly lived, have a couple of scars from it, and a couple of parts that don't work anymore as a result, but during the "truly living" I had more fun than should be allowed.

Without further expanation, I give you The First Reason to Dance: Because you must.

Anyone else have a good reason to dance?

The second reason to dance that I know of is: coming in the next entry.