My home studio had its spring recital last week. As an instructor, recital time is my very favorite time of the year. I get to see incredible dances from students who have worked hard all year long to get/nail/perfect moves. I get to see their friends and family sit open-mouthed at their strength, grace, and beauty.
As a performer, recital time means something completely different to me. My mantra is that I should do something that terrifies me at every recital — something that is far outside my comfort zone. My students are taking emotional and physical risks and going balls to the wall with their performances . . . shouldn’t I do the same?
So this year, for the first time, I decided to try to tell a story with a freestyle dance. I didn’t think it would be easy, but I thought it would be easiER. Don’t ask me why.
I wanted to tell the story of dancing out a bad day. Of stripping away the crap of our everyday lives. Stripping away the crap that doesn’t really matter, except it does. It matters because we are human beings with hearts and feelings and fears and wants, and all the everyday negative crap has a way of infiltrating the few things that provide us with pure joy. And when the crap infiltrates those things, it pollutes them.
It’s easy to say “Hey, don’t let that stuff bother you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.” But so many times, that’s tremendously difficult to do. Our days are filled with hundreds of thousands of occurences that are “small stuff.” Which ones are we not supposed to sweat?
But then there is dance. I don’t know how it is for anyone else, but for me even a frustrating day on the pole is strangely gratifying. For that hour, or two hours, or however long my training session runs, I am incapable of focusing on the crap of the day, because if I lose focus on my pole work at hand, I could seriously harm myself.
The crap of the day gets left behind in a cloud of leg hangs and pirouettes and slinky floor moves. I am left with myself, my music, and my pole.
And life is good.