Still Around…

Well, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, but I haven’t posted in a while. During this time I’ve been doing lots of thinking and pondering, trying to figure things out. To be honest, I don’t know if I should even publish this post, but perhaps getting it out will sort things out a bit.

Umm, I guess rant/whine alert…

I’ve been going through some things, and …it’s complicated. For now, I’ll just say that I’m still dancing, still taking class, and will probably continue to dance under some capacity for as long as I am physically able. Hey, even if it’s in your living room – or kitchen, in my case – and with no audience, it’s still dancing. It’s my little expression of happiness and nothing can take that away from me.

That said, my relationship with dance at the moment is quite rocky. I don’t expect anyone to understand – and I am admittedly being ambiguous on this very public forum – but like I mentioned earlier, I’m going through some, well, things … I feel like I have been abusing dance as a drug, using it to keep my mind occupied … I have used dance as a distraction from things better not mentioned here, and while I am forever grateful about how much it helped me make it through some of the darkest episodes, there comes a time when I cannot keep running, hiding. I feel that things have come around a full circle and I need to remember what else is important to me, what else matters, what came before dance…

It’s time for me to make some tough decisions… and so, in the future I may possibly be cutting back on the amount of classes I take, on the amount of time spent practicing, obsessing. Simply put, I’ve come to realize I don’t like the person that it threatens to turn me into – an insecure, unsatisfied, yet competitive person – and I don’t know how much longer I can resist against the tide. Being a misfit is a vulneable place, and I feel I cannot grow into the person I am to be if I’m constantly feeling out of place. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I tend to be impressionable, and I know my weaknesses enough to know that the smart choice is for me to create some distance. Where I am in life compared to my fellow classmates is so different, so much further along, but when I’m there in class, in the moment, I can almost forget that fact. This inevitably leads to disappointment ; while I’m not too old to dance for fun – I don’t believe anybody is too old to dance for fun – there is no future in it for me as anything other than fun. And, I sincerely believe that there is more to life than having fun – I have to manage all my other responsibilities and work on myself, not just constantly be seeking enjoyment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely don’t regret having started ballet. Thanks to ballet I have discovered that my body can do amazing things, that there is such an incredible capacity for strength, commitment, and passion inside of me. And that’s the issue right there, i think; while I’ve proved to myself just how far I can get if I set my mind to something (in this case learning to ballet), I feel that I have been focusing my efforts in  the wrong direction. If that passion, commitment, and  (mental) strength were applied towards bettering my circumstances in other ways, who knows what could happen?

(I’m sure this if a very popular sentiment to express – not. LOL. I don’t really care, this is my truth, and if you can’t express your truth on your own blog, where can you, right?)

Well, anyway, I’m not quitting dance, I don’t think I could ever truly quit dance. But I am reshifting my focus a bit. While I plan on finishing up the current class sessions that I have signed up for – and paid for – I will be taking it easier after that.

Another thing that is a factor in my decision is injuries. I don’t mention every little ache and pain on here (mostly because I’m not seeking advice on those topics), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Especially when the weather cools down, then it seems like there isn’t a day that does by without something managing to hurt – my hip, my foot, etc. – and every year it appears to be getting worse. My body seems to be requiring me to treat it with special care, and it’s frustrating. Since I didn’t grow up as a dancer, I don’t have that high tolerance for pain that dancers supposedly have, and not knowing if I can trust my perceptions of pain (or if I’m just being a baby…) is even more frustrating, and a little scary.

I feel that it may have been foolish of me to sign up for the school show, since I require a lot of repetitive practice to learn my choreography and my body just isn’t wanting to cooperate (especially with the colder weather). Ok, fine, I’ll be honest – it’s downright heartbreaking that even though I’m willing to put in the time, effort and practice, my body then fails me. This is compounded by the fact that other (much younger) people squander away their time and then complain to me about how they don’t improve even though they aren’t willing to put in the work. I feel myself becoming bitter and angry, and I don’t like that  side of me… While I’ve told myself in the past that the “mature” thing to do is stick around and “be the bigger/better person”, and deal with irritating people,  it’s hard (duh), and I honestly wonder if it’s even worth it…

Not that rudeness and immaturity is limited to ballet classmates, of course. In hip hop class, this past week we had to work in groups and one of the people in my group kept making passive agressive remarks about how she didn’t want me there (she kept saying ‘if it was just the rest of us, we could do this or that’, and she gave me attitude whenever I asked a question). Actually, I think that was when I made the decision that I was over it. As an adult, I don’t have time for these immature brats and their childish drama.

But am I any better? In a different class, I saw a classmate do something really rude to a fellow classmate, and I didn’t have the nerve to say  or do anything about it. Does this make me horrible? Perhaps.  He/she who doesn’t stand up against something wrong is condoning it, right?

I feel pretty low about it even now. This just adds more fuel to my argument that I need to create some distance around myself.

***

This wouldn’t be a ballet-blog post without me discussing some ballet-related stuff – the past few weeks have been rough though. I’ve lost some strength because I had to stop working on releve for a couple of weeks, due to some foot issues. I did barre, and then marked center combinations, wishing that I could be dancing. Once I was able to dance again – hooray for adagio! – I was so happy (and that’s how I know I can’t completely quit dance), and I felt like I won’t take dance for granted again. Also, it wasn’t ballet but I also participated in my first flash mob a couple of weeks ago and it was really fun.

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10 thoughts on “Still Around…

  1. Martin

    Hm, just my two cents (sorry for my english). I started ballet as an 47 year old adult male. I dealed with three realities: my ordinary life, the class (female and way younger than me) and the dancing. I concentrated on dancing and I concentrated learning to dance, and learning ballet ist learning to go up in the air, pretending there is no gravity. I had some really rough, vulnerable, personal moments and in one of these moments I lay on the floor and I asked myself how I will be able to go up and that was the moment when I realised that I have to learn Modern Dance. I quit my best Vaganova-training (I have another ballet class) and started Modern Dance, I wathed a documentary about Martha Graham, she said: ballet is all about going up, up, up, but what if you fall? How do you fall? That opened my eyes, that was the missing part. I recomment the documentary about Ohad Naharin, Mr. Gaga, that opened my eyes completely.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      I’m glad to hear that Modern worked out for you, as I’ve been thinking of incorporating Modern back into my class list recently (I’ve done about a year of Modern, but mostly – and currently – only ballet). I love that Martha Graham quote though, very true. Could it be that now I am past the stage of just wishing to make beautiful shapes, and now want the ability to express the full spectrum of possibilities?
      I will look for that documentary, thank you for the suggestion.

      Reply
  2. Trippmadam

    I can relate. I’d like to dance every day, and when I get an opportunity, I do so. But this year has been hard, because of an overload of work plus life plus bad health (nothing serious, but many small problems, which added up) So, I needed to cut back, too. I still do not dance as much as I would like to, even if my health is better and work is not so stressfull any more. We are adults, we have our responsibilities. (I don’t like that, but what can I do?)

    Reply
  3. ladysquadron

    All the best! Do whatever makes you feel happiest and comfortable, and if you need your own space then I hope you find it 🙂

    Regarding not standing up to things, it’s difficult to act, actually. We’ve all been there, I think… The difference between being truly horrible and not, is probably the fact that one cares at all.

    Hugs ❤

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Thank you, that made me feel a little better 🙂
      I tend to agree with you, that the difference between being horrible and not is in the caring (or not – or even worse, the deliberately “being bad”). But to be honest – having been in the caring-but-not-doing-anything camp quite often – the times when I *have * done something about it have been so incredibly rewarding, have really brightened up the rest of of my day, that I know that is what I aspire to. But I’ve noticed that within the dance class framework I fall very short of that, and hence the struggle…

      Reply
  4. lasttendu

    I can relate. I first got into ballet for fun; and after getting really serious really fast, I then dropped down to 1 class a week for financial, work, and relationship reasons. I then got a little more serious later on because I realized I’m aging and don’t have much prime dancing time left, and for bad, competitive reasons. I noticed other adults making a lot more progress than I was. But thinking about whether I was any “good” or not was not helping my dancing at all and absolutely no fun (as the answer is clearly no). So, after about a year of trying harder with no success I finally started to find what works for me. I enjoy classes more when I’m more relaxed about it, less judgmental towards myself, and less competitive with other students. I also like chill, relaxed teachers with a strong emphasis on technique. I have to do two classes a week, in order to get any benefit from class, but with my lifestyle I really can’t fit anymore in.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      I’m happy to hear that you found what works for you, and hope that in time I’ll be able to find that happy medium as well. Getting too serious about it, competitiveness and the fixation on improving and whether I am “good” (also clearly “no” over here…), combined with thinking about how I need to take advantage of whatever prime years I have left, were sucking all the fun and joy out of it.

      Reply

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