Image from www.julianadupree.comThat title sounds all deep and dramatic doesn't it? I doubt this post will actually live up to that impression, but I can suck you in with the deep and dramatic title, right?
I used to be a dancer. For most of my life, dancing took up a major chunk of my time. From the ages of 2 to 18 I defined myself as a dancer. For several years there I even thought that's what I would be "when I grew up". But at some point my extremely balanced and practical self won out, and I realized the crazy lifestyle that would entail wasn't for me. But dancing remained a huge part of me.
My favorite was always ballet, although I did tap and jazz as well. But I loved ballet's grace and discipline and strength. I loved using my body to tell a story. I loved feeling so connected to my body. I loved the feeling of defying my body's natural tendencies by stretching it higher and further. Of almost defying gravity by lifting and jumping and standing on my toes.
Then about halfway through my senior year of high school, I needed a break. I had injured my foot the spring before and gotten a bit out of shape, and then I just couldn't seem to get excited about it again. I stopped taking classes. And I haven't taken a ballet class since.
In college, I took a few ballroom classes here and there. I flirted with the idea of taking other dance classes, but I never made room in my schedule. And here I am, 6 years after I quit dance, dreaming of dancing again. Do you know what else? All these years I have dragged my dance stuff around with me. I still have my pointe shoes and ballet slippers and jazz and tap shoes. I still have leotards and tights and cozy dance sweaters. They are all in a bag that I have kept with me for six years. Because in my body, I am still a dancer. I've just been ignoring it. But I really do miss dancing. I'm sad that I let it go for so long. I feel like I've lost a part of who I am, even though I know it's still in there somewhere.
So can I still do it? How far have I regressed? Will my body remember what it was once able to do so easily? I have looked into taking an adult class around here. But it's expensive, and I'm not sure that I'm ready for people to see my body in a leotard and tights again! So I'm going to try to get a feel for my dancer's body again. How? With a little dvd called New York City Ballet: The Complete Workout, Vol. 1 and 2. I have requested it for Christmas. Do I expect to miraculously reclaim my 17-year-old dancer's body? No. But I'm hoping to feel strong and limber again by doing some plies and arabesques in my living room. And heavens knows I need to exercise more! It's a start, right?