It consistently blows my mind how much dancing influences my life outside of the studio. A professor of mine told us last week that, “Dancers are taught to be on balance, so when we are off-balance we get scared.”
That idea has been on my mind frequently this week.
I am off-balance. Not literally, but mentally. This semester is finally getting to the point where it is physically & mentally exhausting and the work continually keeps piling up. I feel like I have no clarity of mind and I am just numb to it all at the moment. I am happy that I can acknowledge it and share it with you all who read these and will read this, but the struggle has been REAL. I even found myself in a knot when it came to dancing or even coming up with ideas for choreography. It is messy!
I absolutely love the analogy of balance. Personally I like to have a lot of balance in my life. Balance with my time, my work, my social life, my money… literally almost everything has to be a balance in this life if you think about it. Some people do well with it and some people don’t. I complete this thought by thinking about balance in dance. I adore ballet, especially pointe. Balance is key. Dancers have to focus on so many parts of their bodies in order to achieve a sustained balance and overall strength when they are in that balance. Some factors that influence balance are focus, engagement, placement, and core. Overtime these balances become sort of natural to us because we be get into the habit of putting our bodies in these balanced and precise states. We get so used to this balance, that putting out bodies in a state that is off-balanced just doesn’t feel right.
There’s a distinct power that one feels while they are balanced, lifted, and sustained. I recall some extraordinary moments in balance be it during practice or on the big stage. On the contrary, there is also a distinct feeling when one is off-balance… a sense of defeat, trial and error, yearning to improve. I am trained a bit more classically, and I embraced ballet any chance I had while growing up taking dance classes. Taking a modern class or a contemporary class always seemed like an extra challenge for me because I mentally and physically trained myself to be upright, to extend, and be tall. I had to re-teach myself weird shapes, how to be grounded, how to manipulate my body in a variety of ways, how to let go. Not gonna lie- it was HARD, and it still is! I constantly have to speak to my body when it moves. (Not literally of course but in my head!)
So coming back to this life analogy and balance. I do not have everything figured out right now, although it seems like it, I in fact do not. I feel like I am a mess since I am so used to having things in my life properly “balanced.” I think society has taught me to always be in a hurry that I feel like I am hopelessly rushing at this point. I am swamped with work, rehearsals, choreography (which is another story and blog post in and of itself), homework & assignments, time with friends, time for myself, time with my boyfriend… the list goes on and on and on! It truly seems never-ending at times and it continues to overwhelm me. With this, I feel off-balance. I feel as though I am not doing anything correct in my life; I feel like I am not moving forward, I honestly do feel scared and I worry about my next steps for literally everything. I think that this similar comparison relates to how I dance (and probably to other dancers as well)… I get scared to be off-balance, I get scared to push those boundaries of balance- to try things that are out of my comfort zone. But one of the many things that I absolutely love about dancing is about pushing those same boundaries. It’s an interesting dilemma that I am in and especially happy that I can share this right now.
Being off-balance does not mean it is the end of the world. It also does not mean you shouldn’t be scared. It’s okay to not know where life (or your body) is going to take you for the its next step in your journey (or a dance). Especially as dancers, I find it important for us to realize the relationship dancing has on our everyday lives and how it impacts us in perspectives we never see until we really look into it such as the idea of balance. Just as being off-balance in the studio is uncomfortable for me at times, I am now getting to appreciate and times in life when I am off-balance, such as now. I am figuring it out one step at a time. I just have to accept the uncomfortable and enjoy the ride.
I encourage you to also realize where in your life feels off-balance right now. Accept it, embrace it, and enjoy it!