Tag Archives: Dance studio

I miss “being in my body”…

I never really understood what it meant to be “in my body” until I spent almost 12 weeks entirely stationary. Without even realizing, I became one of those other people—one of those people who simply observes others moving.

I became a patron of dance. Gross.

I’ve been sitting at a desk all day, six days a week—and until a recent series of yoga classes, I forgot what it felt like to use my muscles intentionally-to sweat on purpose-to feel my system totally engaged. It felt great, and for the first time maybe ever, I understood what it meant to be truly in my body.

Nirvana bliss…like actually. The boost of serotonin, probably.

(I wonder if it’s possible to become immune to the mood-lifting benefits of physical activity? I say this because I honestly can’t remember a time before this summer when I felt so great from just an hour of stretching and breathing—things I’ve been doing on the reg for years…when the thought of sitting down for even 10 minutes sounded like a glorious, laughable daydream…I don’t remember having this feeling concurrently…) 

I remember realizing a few months ago how important it is for dancers to maintain a practice, essentially understanding, preparing, and then establishing a routine that supports a physically rigorous schedule. What I didn’t realize at the time however, probably because I was entirely immersed in a highly structured environment of class and rehearsal, was that there are a million other ways to engage my body that don’t include tendus. Engaging in activity beyond a technique class may actually supplement the activity of a technique class (not actually mind-blowing).

I realized that part of establishing a practice for life beyond the walls of academia, is realizing how important it is to find balance. Maybe I need to take two yoga classes a week so that I feel present or even interested in taking any sort of dance class –maybe I need to be coached through breathing exercises twice a week so that when I’m x-rolling across the floor, I can find the purest/safest/most efficient level of engagement on my own.

Here’s the dilemma in this not so impressive realization: after exchanging messages with a friend (a fellow Brockport dance alum) via Facebook, she pointed out how sometimes taking a step away from the studio for a bit can actually draw you back to the studio in a serious way. It’s sort of like in any twisted relationship, you never truly realize what you had until it’s gone—and sometimes you have to take the risk of letting it go so that you can eventually have it back forever.

The problem is the lack of dance classes offered now that we’re out of school. There are actually 78965 yoga studios in Rochester, but maybe 2.75 dance classes (if that—worth attending…) offered to adults.

No thank you, jazzercise…zumba, I’m even looking at you. I don’t want to bouncy step-touch while shimmying to the right and then to the left, just to say I’ve “danced” this week.

I want to feel my organs slosh around… and all those other imagery-related activities that sort of piss me off…I WANT TO DANCE.

After spending years being told that I had to take x amount of classes each week, it eventually became an obligation—now that there’s a lack of classes even available, it’s all I want to do.

(Note: I also don’t want to be in a mom’s tap class. I am not old enough to want to Boot Scootin Boogie around the stage in black slacks and a white t-shirt…)

So I guess there are two morals to this post.

  1. Find a supplemental practice that allows you to feel your body in ways that dance can’t. Trust me, it’s great.
  2. Where the hell are all you adults dancing? Help…
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feeding your (other) interests

While it’s fun to say I’m a dancer, chances are you’re also something else all at the same time.

“I’m a dancer and a secretary.”
“I’m a dancer and a teacher at a studio.”
“I’m a dancer and a waitress.”
“I’m a dancer and a DYVA”…obviously

You get the point.

I think it’s important to recognize that while there are still a few jobs out there that offer full-time work for dancers (…in Minnesota…), most of us are going to have to find supplemental work to support our passion for the arts. The question then becomes, what is my something else?

If I may, I suggest filling your time with work that feeds your interests while both fulfilling and challenging you as a unique individual. If working at a coffee shop is where you want to be, that’s great…you make that coffee!!! For me however, I’m going to need to find work that makes me feel just as valued and excited as when I finish rehearsal…

So how do you do this? Well…do yourself a favor, and when you’re already busy making your new website, continue to soul search and dig just a little bit deeper. As you discover how/why you make it rain in the dance studio, think of other areas that make you excited enough to want to throw a little glitter in the air.

I’ve talked about the show I produced way back in the day, and well, I love philanthropy and contributing to my community! Maybe I pursue part-time work at a non-profit organization, maybe I find a way to make a career out of producing my own shows? The key is patience; be patient with yourself and with your journey. We know that you (I) love to dance, but somebody has to pay the bills…consistently each month. I can pretend that I’ll be okay not making a regular paycheck, or I can be proactive NOW while it’s still January to pursue opportunities for when I graduate. I may end up working in an office for a bit, but that’s okay because it’s not forever. As long as the work I’m doing feeds my soul, my soul is happy.

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