Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When You Become The Music

It's "So You Think You Can Dance" season. And, thanks to injuries, this is the first year I'm not dancing since my achilles tendon rupture in 2005. Watching the show, though, reminds me why I love dancing and skating.

I love ballet. I've danced for 15 years (not counting this year) and never get bored of a good class. I love barre and the progression of center work. As a tall, long-legged dancer, I love adagio (extensions and footwork) and grand allegro (the big jumps.) I've always been musical, which might come from a decade-plus of playing flute.

But, in all those years of dancing, the moment that touched me the most came during my first contemporary class. The dance school had set up two intensive classes on four dance forms... like samplers. Tap was awful. I'm never allowed to use tap shoes again. Jazz was meh. Hip Hop was just plain comical. But then Aaron, our teacher, started to walk us through his choreography for "Hero and Leander" by Adam Guettel:

For the first time in my life, I was the music and emotion and movement. Little mistakes meant nothing. When I was finished the dance, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I wasn't me anymore, since a vein was opened and every ounce of feeling streamed out of my hands and feet with every pirouette or jete'.
This wasn't a one-shot dance. When we worked on "Apologize" for the recital, I felt it again. Every breath and contraction was powerful. Ballet might have given me a technical base, but the choreography and the music tore through and freed me. Perfection wasn't the goal-- becoming and conveying emotion was everything.  
Sometimes, you just have to let go to make magic happen.


  1. I have always been envious of people who can dance, especially ballet. I so badly wish my parents had put me in dancing as a kid because as an adult, I feel too chicken to give it a whirl. I think it's great that you have such a passion for dance and skating. :)

    1. :) I started both skating and ballet as an adult, so it's never too late! But you also do drumming, which is awesome and probably gets to that same moment of becoming the music!!!