flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
Going to dance performances can be hard for me. I’m not as sad as I used to be that I had to give up dancing, because I’m 37 years old (gasp) and, even if I had had a career, it would be over or winding down now. 37 seemed much further away when I was 16.
Still, watching amazing professional dancers reminds me of what I had, and what I gave up, and that I was NEVER as good as the least of them. I was ok. With the right body, I might have made it into a small local company as a part-timer. With the body I had, I would have had to be outstandingly talented to get anywhere at all, and I just wasn’t. To be clear, the body I had wasn’t exactly huge, although I thought it was at the time.
(16 years old, a giant monster in my own mind.)
ANYWAY, that’s why, as much as I love watching the ballet, I just can’t escape some mixed feelings. Being a dancer was so much of my identity until it wasn’t anymore.
All of which is a huge downer and not at all what I meant to say, because look! Drawing!
If you don’t know about the spectacular Lauren Anderson, you just should, ok? The first black prima ballerina of a major American company, she was a joy and a privelege to watch dance. Now that she’s retired, she’s spreading the joy, doing wonderful outreach work teaching kids to love moving and making art more accessible to underpriveleged children.
Also, I was always too shy to speak to any of the dancers when Mom and I went back to the green room all those years, but Lauren is 50 feet of personality in a teensy little body, and she made a point of engaging me in conversation more than once, to my great terror and delight. Kindness, yo. It’s the best.