I didn't know what dance really meant.
Back then, it was all about pink sparkly costumes and too much make up and snappy hard movements. All the girls that wore the right clothes and had the right boyfriends were dancers. i was onstage in a different way, reciting Shakespeare's lines and playing Holst's suites in F. I never understood how I could possibly comfortably move my body like that; it seemed unnatural, unyielding.
When I got to college, my musical theater major required that I learn how to dance. My first ballet class was in UMD sweatpants and cotton socks rolled up to the balls of my feet. I learned first and second position, trying to stay turned out as my arms swung through the air like machetes. French vocabulary felt awkward on my Scandinavian tongue- releve, pointe, tendu. It took over a year before I began to feel comfortable; over two years to feel like it was working.
Then I tried on tap shoes for the first time. Finally. THIS made sense. With years of musical instrument training behind me, I realized that the only difference was my instrument was now on my feet! Different noises come from the toe, the ball, the full heel, the inside of my foot, even knocking my toe behind my other leg hard against the ground. Snare drum, base drum, even cymbals rang every time I pranced across the floor.
Now I'm showing a new generation of dancers how to do it, how to count, how to get EXCITED for dance! See, all this work sounds effortless! LISTEN to the difference between them all!
Learning to watch and listen from dance goes into your everyday life. Waiting in line is when i practice 5th position tendus. Standing behind a cash register means I can do the time step.
In climbing, you see a sequence, a crux, a rest. I see one foot here and move your hips and drop your knee and your arm goes above your head in a beautifully choreographed movement up the wall. A good route feels like a great dance.
tonight is the first night of dance for the year, and I couldn't be more excited to begin.