I suffer from severe insecurity. So much so that even though I’ve taught dance, work at a dance theater, and have a degree in dance I avoid being in the dance studio – even though I love to dance – because I often succumb to feeling inadequate and unequal.
I fear being judged and in so doing judge others and myself. Because I once trained at a high level (although not as high as I wish) any attempt feels inferior. I’ve spent a lot time being frustrated that I don’t look like a dancer any more, jump as light and high as I used to do, or float across the floor as I felt I did when training SIX or so hours a day, yes, count ’em, SIX or so.
This feeling of inadequacy keeps me from continuing to learn and grow. My fears of not being good enough (the best, really) mean that I don’t take advantage of the many opportunities that literally plop themselves in front of me.
There is a story here, I’m getting to it.
The point is, I’m 28 years old. If I want to dance I should do it while I still can. I should just enjoy it – and when I let myself go, I usually do.
NYC dance week took place this week, which meant that a lot of studios offered free classes. I goofed around in a studio last week at work, and thought, “You need to go to take a ballet class. You live in the freakin awesome dance capital of the world and you are too full of yourself to enjoy all that is here.” I researched schedules and tonight, took an adult beginner class at the Joffrey School. The studio looked over Sixth Avenue, I could even see my old apartment building. Somehow I got there early and had time to just sit in the studio, stretching out.
The studio used to be my home. I felt at peace there. I loved working so hard I thought my legs would fall off.
As I warmed up, I kept reminding myself to just enjoy class, not worry about how I look, if I can keep up, etc. it’s hard when you’re in a mirrored room to not fixate on all the imperfections.
An array of people were in the class, and I got wedged in the corner where I couldn’t even see the mirror which was a blessing because I immediately started freaking out about my lack of turnout.
I wrestled with my pelvis all class. I tried to give a legitimate effort without losing the ability to have fun.
Plies were delightful. Tendus were a reawakening. Dégagé let me sort of catch up. Frappes were a release. Fondues were excruciating. Battements felt great until I checked my penchee arabesque that was barely four feet off the ground…I tried to just do my thing and enjoy the mind/body cleanse of focusing on very specific things and being away from a computer screen. The teacher stopped by me to say, “hmm, you’re keeping a low profile.” I clearly knew how to do the combinations and was working hard but I wasn’t being a diva of a bunhead like the skinny redhead who rearranged the furniture in the studio so she could see herself front and center…
It felt great and terrible. I had to really focus and try but I sincerely enjoyed every preparatory port de bras and some sauté arabesques across the floor.
I did it. I took a class in New York and I managed to have fun.
For my next conquest, hmm.